Earlier this year, we held our very first virtual symposium with Hilario Galindo Hospital (HHG) and team members from the Providence-St. Joseph Health system. This is a new program we began as part of our Mission Continues initiatives. We wanted to create an opportunity for one of our partner hospitals in the United States to share information and work together with our partner hospital in Guatemala to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have held two symposiums this year and will continue to hold them quarterly in the coming year.
Gaetan, Joanne, and Jaime
The first symposium in August began with everyone sharing updates on how the team members and hospitals are doing and how they have been able to manage the challenges of the pandemic. Since Guatemala closed its borders in March, the Providence mission team was unable to serve this year, so it was a nice opportunity for team members to catch up with the staff they work closely with when they serve at HHG.
Sergio Lopez, Dr. Axel Reyes, and Ricardo Rivera were there representing Hilario Galindo. Joanne Wessels, Gaetan Moussa, and Jaime de Leon represented Faith In Practice and facilitated the event. Michelle James, Laura Rodriguez, Arleeann Santoro, Brittn Grey, and Ana Olazabal-Foma’i were there on behalf of Providence.
The symposium focused on sharing successful strategies for treating COVID patients, and in particular, which medications were and were not most effective.
- They discussed the success of oxygen therapy for moderate cases of COVID.
- They shared that treating patients with Dexamethasone helped them be able to leave the hospital
- They recommended using Azithromycin only if there are signs of pneumonia and they recommended not using Hydroxychloroquine due to the risk of side effects.
- Providence, at the time, was conducting research to determine the effectiveness of using Remdesivir.
As we have seen, dealing with COVID-19 has been on ongoing process and it is important to learn from each other as developments in medicine evolve. It was great to have Providence, who has hospitals all across the U.S. treating COVID patients, share from their wealth of knowledge and expertise.
At the end of October, we held a second symposium, again with HHG and Providence, to continue to meet the challenges of treating patients with COVID-19. The topics and questions we discussed included:
- How to treat the lasting symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. pulmonary fibrosis).
- Strategies for treating patients with both COVID-19 and co-infections such as pneumonia, dengue, or the flu.
- What medications might affect the immune response to COVID-19 (anti-depressants, antibiotics, etc.) and what supplements or medications can improve the immune response to COVID.
As you have heard many times before, we are all in this together. Sergio Lopez, the General Manager of Hilario Galindo, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of the symposiums saying,
“Our medical staff learned a lot of things from the experiences that the doctors of Providence shared with us on how to manage the disease that is currently affecting the whole world. We from Hilario Galindo hospital are very grateful to Faith in Practice and Providence for finding the time to share with us those experiences.”
At Faith In Practice, we too are grateful for the opportunity to connect across borders—especially at a time when we cannot be together face-to-face—to facilitate discussions between our partner hospitals. We will continue these efforts to deepen our partnership and use the information and resources we have available to provide care to the people of Guatemala.