Brazil – Celebrating ten years medical students offer missionary voluntary service

18 February 2019

(ANS - Meruri) - Medical students of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Santos, State of São Paulo, completed the 10th expedition of the Academic Project of Assistance to Indigenous Peoples (PAAPI) from 15 to 25 January. First established in 2009 with the aim of providing basic health care, collecting data on home visits and promoting preventive medicine, the project brought together, in this edition, 34 volunteers to promote health and solidarity in the villages of Meruri (Bororo culture) and Sangradouro (Xavante culture). The project is independent and funded by the students themselves, with revenues generated by promotions and events.

Accompanied by Dr. Marcella Rolim, Salesian past pupil, the future doctors set up a clinic in the villages to take care of the population and talk to them about general health care and personal hygiene. About 7,000 medicines and 600 hygiene kits were delivered by volunteers to the two villages. Pregnant women and children also received vitamins and the doctor examined people who were experiencing specific problems.

"We made house visits, in which we created a medical history and did physical examinations to all those who recieved us; we asked them what and how they felt, if they had any pain, their personal clinical history, measured their pressure and recorded the blood sugar of diabetics and those who had diabetes-like symptoms. We held conferences in the Salesian mission on diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, depression and alcoholism. Every day we also played with the children and offered a snack, after which they brushed their teeth with the hygiene kits we brought," said the student Dr. Cindy Buchmann, who coordinates the project with her colleagues Silvana Nardi, Bruna Bossi, Julie Kinoshita and Maria Eduarda Bormann. The entire organization before the trip was organized by students Natália Santana and Rafaela Saragiotto.

This year, for the first time, Dr. Rolim took part in the project as a specialized doctor. She had already gone on a missionary expedition in 2014, as a medical student, in her fourth year of studies. "I learned about the project thanks to faculty friends and I fell in love with it. When I arrived in the villages, I had another surprise: to be welcomed in a Salesian Mission! A happy coincidence, because I had studied my whole life in a Salesian school and I was happy to be able to give back all the teachings and values that helped me in my formation and allowed me to get where I am today."

According to the student Daniela Saad, the students leave with the mission of transmitting knowledge to the indigenous peoples, but it is they who take home a lesson in life. "PAAPI gives us ten days to help the indigenous people of Mato Grosso in the best possible way, but the truth is that these few days are already enough to make us learn to give more value to our lives. What a lesson in life, gratitude and emotion!," she exclaimed.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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