SAN ANTONIO, TX – Dr. Annette Zaharoff helped treat thousands of patients during her eighth trip to Honduras last month as a leader of a volunteer mission for indigent patients that also served as a teaching clinic for physicians training in the use of prolotherapy.
Dr. Zaharoff served as co-clinical director for the Honduras mission organized by the non-profit Hackett Hemwall Patterson Foundation (HHPF). A major foc us of the HHPF is to train physicians from across the globe in the latest in prolotherapy techniques, an injection therapy treatment that uses dextrose to help heal injuries and reduce pain. Dr. Zaharoff serves on the board of the Madison, Wisc.-based foundation.
From March 8-14, Dr. Zaharoff joined nearly 70 other volunteers — including 50 physicians from South and Central America, Puerto Rico, Canada, Turkey and the United States — in treating nearly 2,000 patients. The first day was spent setting up the makeshift clinics in the towns of La Ceiba, Olanchito and Tela.
Then came several 12-hour days spent providing injection therapy for patients who sometimes walked a day or more to get to the clinics. Many patients work in hard-labor jobs in farms and villages where soft-tissue injuries to joints and tendons are common. Prolotherapy treatments can help relieve pain and promote healing.
“The people we treat in Honduras rely on their physical strength to make a living. There’s no transportation, so they walk everywhere. If they are lucky they have a mule but they often have to carry everything from wood to laundry,” Dr. Zaharoff said. “If they can’t move, they’d be hard-pressed to earn any kind of income, so it’s really gratifying to be able to help them. There were many handshakes and hugs between doctors and patients, and it was incredibly rewarding.”
Along with the in-patient clinics, different speakers would hold two educational lectures daily for clinic staff. On Saturday, Dr. Zaharoff facilitated and moderated a Continuing Medical Education conference workshop that included lectures and hands-on training.
Dr. Zaharoff is also helping to develop a standardized curriculum with the foundation that may serve as a global model for prolotherapy training.
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