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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lucinola's community pharmacy treats more than 70% of health ailments faced by families in Los Naranjos, Honduras

In the final post of a three-part series on community pharmacies in Honduras we meet Lucinola Bustamante, a volunteer community pharmacist helping families in her rural community of Los Naranjos.

Lucinola plays a vital role in providing basic health care to families in remote areas of Honduras like Los Naranjos. She meets community members in their homes or at her home-based pharmacy, building a relationship with each family she serves. This relationship is crucial to improving health outcomes among families struggling with poverty and serves to strengthen bonds within the community while providing a sense of security and well-being.

Lucinola begins her week by visiting the local supply warehouse and picking up medicines and other health care products to stock the community pharmacy located in her modest home. After returning home, Lucinola begins visiting her patients for the week. Depending on the time of year, Lucinola will treat three to four patients per day. In the rainy season, when weather-related illnesses are more prevalent, the number of visits increases. Each consultation is free to the patient, and any subsequent treatment is provided for a pharmacy dispensing fee.

The majority of Lucinola’s patients are mothers and children. The most common health concerns are colds and flus, head and body aches, diarrhea, minor infections, and respiratory problems. Lucinola is trained to take blood pressure readings, temperatures, check ears, eyes, and throats, and enable patients to use a nebulizer which helps all types of respiratory problems.

Drawing on the training and health manuals provided to her by local staff, Lucinola administers basic over-the-counter medicines including pain killers like acetaminophen, allergy medicines such as diphenhydramine, vitamins, including Omega-3 which helps prevent and manage heart disease, and prenatal vitamins for women who are pregnant. While Lucinola cannot prescribe advanced medications, she is still able to treat more than seventy percent of the ailments families in Los Naranjos experience. Complicated health concerns are rare, but if they do occur Lucinola refers patients to clinics that have advanced health practitioners.

“I am so happy to be a volunteer pharmacist and help my community,” says Lucinola, who has seen a substantial improvement in the health of families in Los Naranjos since the introduction of the community pharmacy she so proudly manages.

Lucinola takes great pride in her volunteer work and recognizes the immense value her little pharmacy brings to the community of Los Naranjos. To ensure Lucinola serves her community well, she makes her pharmacy available to patients all week, day or night.

By providing medicines and medical supplies that support a variety of health facilities in Honduras, including more than 500 community-based pharmacies in remote areas of the country, HOPE International Development Agency is helping address a chronic lack of health care in the country.