During the first week in March our eye health promoter, Felipe, took a group of patients to the eye clinic in San Cristobal Verapaz for eye surgeries. This was our first trip using the transportation services of the municipality of Ixcán. In February the mayor of Ixcán agreed to fund each surgery patient’s first trip to the clinic. Subsequent trips for follow-up care will be the responsibility of the patients. This arrangement supports our belief that the patients need to pay a part of the costs so that they are serious and invested in their care.
The drive to the clinic takes about 4 hours from the Enfoque Ixcán office, however, some of the patients had to first travel 2-3 hours to arrive at the office. Since most of the patients are elderly, Felipe accompanies them to help with their care. They remain at the clinic for one week to insure they receive proper follow-up during that first week following surgery. The clinic has beds for 30 people and they provide the patients with 3 small meals a day. In addition to the surgery, Enfoque Ixcán pays for the meals.