NEWPORT — Hearing Dr. Veronika Jedlovszky speak of a recent mission trip to Guyana, it’s clear she has a true passion for the medical profession, and a deep desire to help people.
At the end of October, Dr. Jedlovszky, along with recently retired doctors David Alsobrook, Denise Niemira, Nurse Practitioner Betsy Hartman and practicing physician Dr. Joyce Dobbertin of Lyndonville, made their annual trip to the small country of Guyana.
Guyana is a country on the northern mainland of South America, and the region they visited is the true jungle region of the country.
A 12-hour trip up a river following their flight led them to the now-familiar region, as some of them have made this annual excursion four or even six times.
With medical personnel divided into teams of three, every day they visited different villages, and each provider saw an average of 50-60 patients per day, for medical care, basic procedures and gynecological exams.
“This is the only medical attention these villages receive during the whole year,” Dr. Jedlovszky said. “There are no doctors living there. So needless to say, these families are pretty happy to see us.”
The team carried some medicines with them, but there are no real medical facilities for them to administer from.
“Our own stethoscopes are the most sophisticated piece of equipment on hand. The diagnoses are much different there too. Malaria, typhoid, and even leprosy,” she added.
Untreated cleft palates are common in the region, and these children are often ostracized, even from their own society.
Earlier in 2019, after compiling a list of patients who needed this surgical procedure, a doctor from New York City flew down to the capital and performed surgery on 15 young children with a cleft palate.
“Seeing these children was one of the ultimate highlights – to see their smiling faces and to know they would have a more normal life,” Dr. Jedlovszky said.
Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America and is culturally considered part of the Anglophone-Caribbean sphere.
Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, and Venezuela to the west.