Pharmacy Students Complete Fifth Summer Mission, Help Set Record
Anita Pena and Kelly Curran, P-3 students in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy (WSoP), completed the School’s fifth medical mission of the summer, traveling to Kenya for two weeks with Global Health Outreach, returning just days before their classes started in August.
The pair joined three pharmacy students from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, along with nursing students, dental students, and non-medical student volunteers for this trip, working in clinics in Namanga and Dandora at the Kinyago Dandora. All in all, their entire team saw about 2,000 patients in the time they were there.
Each morning, they took an early bus to the clinic, and would get a glimpse of what they were in store for as they drove past the long lines of waiting patients. There was a triage area where every patient was seen so the team could determine their chief complaint. Then, patients were directed to a corresponding clinic area: dental (for fillings, cleanings, extractions); primary care; physical therapy/orthopedic care; OBGYN; and spiritual care.
The school clinic brought many children who had never used a toothbrush, and therefore, needed multiple teeth extractions. One of the harder parts of the job for Pena was to act as a "child restraint" while the children had their teeth removed.
“It was hard to do, knowing that they were so scared, but it was also important because we hopefully saved many children from having worse or unfixable dental problems down the line,” said Pena.
This was Curran’s second mission trip, as she traveled to El Salvador with the WSoP in 2012. She said this mission won’t be her last – she plans to participate in at least one more during her time in school, and she’s hoping to go to either India or Honduras. Pena feels the same way.
“I will go on another mission trip, no doubt about it. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience, and I hope to be able to go on at least one if not two or three a year,” said Pena.
Curran with patient in dental clinic.
The line at the Kinyago Dandora School clinic site.