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July 14, 2014

P'burgh's Mission of Hope busy in Nicaragua

PLATTSBURGH — Dr. Anthony Garami didn’t have the masks used for inhaler treatment for children.

“So he used Styrofoam cups,” Sharalyn Nochbauer of Plattsburgh said from Nicaragua, where North Country Mission of Hope’s summer mission is underway.

“You have to use the supplies you have,” she applauded the Plattsburgh physician’s clever adaptation.

Nochbauer, a physician assistant, had planned to assist with the gynecological clinics that the organization has made a regular service for Nicaraguan women. But she gave up her space to some nursing students — “I thought it was really important for (them) to see and do.”

 ‘WILL GET BETTER’ 

Nochbauer shifted over to pediatrics, and the experience, she said, has been unexpectedly terrific.

“These kids, they’re beautiful, they’re well-behaved,” she said. “They look at you with these big doe eyes, and their parents are so grateful you are there.”

On this day, the medical team was seeing youngsters at the clinic at Ni-Casa, Mission of Hope’s compound in Chiquilistagua.

Many have had chronic illnesses due to lack of available medication or even transportation to see a doctor, Nochbauer said.

They diagnosed and treated one child with pneumonia, she said.

“Three so far with asthma. So they will now get better.

“To give a parent an inhaler so a kid can play on a playground is an amazing thing.

“Every parent asks for (children’s) vitamins,” Nochbauer added. “There is a need for more medications, and there is a need for vitamins, vitamins, vitamins.”  

NURSE IN TRAINING 

Mission of Hope also saw patients, both women and children, at humanitarian organization Caritas and in the community of Nejapa.

“The women put other priorities above their own health,” Clare Whitney of Schroon said from Ni-Casa, where she was assisting with pap smears and breast exams. 

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