Students Travel Abroad to Help Communities in Need

March 1, 2019

Group of studentsAfter traveling more than 2,000 miles from Whittier College to Honduras, 12 students from the College’s chapter of Global Medical Brigades boarded a bus that took them to small rural communities that lacked basic health services.

The group of Whittier students, who visited the country last May, spent their time in Honduras setting up free clinics and helped triage patients, take vital signs, shadowed licensed doctors, and assisted pharmacists in filling prescriptions. The students also provided public health education to all patients on important topics such as understanding personal health, preventative care, and dental care.
Jasmine Cao ’19, who launched the club on campus and is currently serving as president, says she established the group because she wanted to provide students with the opportunity to travel abroad to help and provide healthcare to underserved communities.
“Unfortunately, over 60 percent of people living in Honduras and Panama live in poverty and have extremely limited access to healthcare,” said Cao, who is pre-med and majoring in biological and psychological environmental factors of health through the Whittier Scholars Program. “Nearly 50 percent of people living in these rural communities live below the poverty line. Millions of people lack access to clean water and improved sanitation infrastructure.”
While in Honduras, the group also helped build latrines for various homes, which provides sanitary and proper waste disposal. “Over the course of 7 days, we successfully treated over 800 patients, built latrines for six homes, handed out over 900 hygiene kits (which included toothbrushes, toothpastes, condoms, soap, shampoo, floss, and much more) and raised a total of over $15,000 for patients in Honduras,” said Cao.
The group’s next trip will be to Panama this summer, and students can sign up directly online. The registration deadline is March 6.