During March break, eight students from Mount Holyoke College’s MEDLIFE chapter travelled to Lima, Peru with one goal in mind: to help underdeveloped communities gain access to medicine, education, and development. We helped to run a mobile clinic that allowed the poor to receive free medical and dental care from local physicians and dentists.

Due to poor infrastructure, these communities have poor transportation. The net result is limited access to healthcare. The students helped with triage and carry out a needs assessment of the type of care needed for patients. This facilitated the delivery of basic medical and dental care.

The majority of people that came to the clinic were women and children. There was an

OB/GYN station that provided breast cancer screenings and a pediatric area where we helped

children brush their teeth for the very first time. Although we were only able to help run this

mobile clinic for four days, over 1600 community members were evaluated and treated.

MEDLIFE gives the opportunity for local community leaders to have a larger voice in

community development. Along with providing the opportunity for local healthcare professionals

to treat patients, the program teaches young children basic hygiene. The goal has been to

change their futures for the better.

This is the type of mindset that we, as Pakistani-Americans, need to learn. Yes, it is important for our youth to become doctors and give our already privileged communities the treatments they need, but now we need to go one step further. The business model developed by MEDLIFE has a lot of merit. By combining local doctors with young people from abroad, the program is better able to serve the needs of the communities. This is something we can do in APPNE. Whether it’s staying in our neighborhoods here in America or going back to Pakistan, we have the potential to help. I have been part of the APPNE community since I was a little girl and I think the MEDLIFE model is something we can think about.

Raabia Malik

Mount Holyoke College ‘17