Arpan Global Charities is a nonprofit organization established in 2005 by one of the members of the CHOC Children’s Specialists, Dr. Sudeep Kukreja. The goal of AGC is to bring health and hope to medically underserved populations around the world while providing humanitarian assistance and medical education to those who need it the most.
Arpan Global Charities’ 13th international medical volunteer mission took place in the city of Latacunga, Ecuador and a team of 52 dedicated medical and non-medical volunteers participated. Team members had diverse backgrounds and many years of experience in their respective fields and among them were: five nurses; five pediatric residents from CHOC Children’s; an Echo Tech; three Anesthesiologists; seven Pediatricians; one Cardiologist; one Dentist; one Geneticist; one Gynecologist; one CT surgeon; one ENT surgeon; one Ophthalmologist; one Plastic surgeon; two General Pediatric surgeons; one Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon; one Orthopedic surgeon for adults; one Radiologist; one Pharmacist, and 10 non-medical volunteers.
Volunteers arrived from the United States to Quito in waves and landed in Quito’s new airport which is located approximately 90 minutes away from the city. Although team members faced multiple challenges due to delayed airport pick-ups, lost luggage, and late arrival to hotel in Quito at 2:30 a.m.; the volunteers were eager to start working so they rushed to their rooms to get some rest and were ready at 6 AM the next morning for the bus ride to their final destination, the small town of Latacunga. After a two-hour trip, the team arrived to a government clinic named Patronato where they immediately examined hundreds of patients and pre-screened them for treatments and/or surgery. Arpan Global Charities rented two facilities with operating rooms in Latacunga for surgeries: Clinica Continental and Instituto de la Mujer. Also some surgeries were performed by Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon and the Geneticist at Baca Ortiz Children’s Hospital in Quito. Furthermore, Arpan’s Genetic doctor took the initiative to collaborate with local physicians to organize a genetic conference scheduled to take place at the Sheraton hotel in Quito for the “Rare Diseases Day.” While reaching out and collaborating with local physicians, our medical team established a promising relationship with Quito’s medical faculty to discuss the development of a partnership between CHOC Children’s and Baca Ortiz Children’s Hospital in Quito to promote international collaboration and exchange programs.
Volunteers of Arpan Global Charities also visited four different orphanages in Latacunga and Quito where they examined every orphan residing in those centers and facilitated treatment, distributed clothes, and donated toys. Mission volunteers also had the opportunity to visit two schools located in very poor areas of their town where they examined every student and discovered some children who had undiagnosed serious medical conditions for which treatment was facilitated. The team of Anesthesiologists and Nursing staff provided supportive services to patients in the recovery room which allowed skilled surgeons to perform more than one hundred major surgical procedures. With the help of an Echo Technician, the Cardiologist volunteer was able to examine and treat hundreds of patients. Even the Dentist surgeon was kept extremely busy from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday with long lines of patients eagerly waiting to see him.
The help and support of the nursing members, pediatric residents, pharmacist, non-medical volunteers, Ecuadorian volunteers and Ecuadorian medical students was phenomenal. This mission would have not been possible without them. Besides providing free medical care to the most underserved population in Ecuador, Arpan Global team members were also involved in education of local nurses, medical students, and doctors in both Latacunga and Quito.
Considering that team members had limited equipment and very scarce medical supplies, it is important to acknowledge their caring attitude and sense of commitment for these qualities enabled them to work long hours on a daily basis to provide humanitarian healing to all their patients. Indeed, the team’s dedication and hard work enabled Arpan Global Charities to touch the lives of more than 1,500 Ecuadorian children and adults. A lot was accomplished during this missionary trip which makes it one of the most exciting and successful medical volunteer mission of Arpan Global Charities.
A very special thanks to the Baum Family (Paulina, Carlos, Monica, Jose and grandparents) from Quito for their relentless help and support to make this mission a big success.