Arrixaca Pediatricians and Nurses Making a Difference in Gambia

Arrixaca's Paediatric Team in Gambia

Empowering Health: Arrixaca's Paediatric Team in Gambia is making a difference through care and education. Image:

IN a commendable display of medical expertise and humanitarian commitment, Arrixaca Hospital’s pediatricians and nurses have undertaken a transformative journey to Gambia, bringing healthcare and hope to over 1,000 children who face barriers in accessing essential medical services. This humanitarian effort, organised by the NGO Pediatría Solidaria, marks their second trip to the African country and has left its mark on the lives of both patients and local communities.

Comprising of three pediatricians in training and three specialised pediatric nurses from the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in Murcia, the team set off on a ten-day mission to Gambia. This mission aimed not only to provide medical care but also to empower the local population with health promotion and prevention strategies. The group’s activities encompassed a range of workshops, which were conducted at the local clinic in Fajikunda.

The workshops covered essential topics such as basic newborn care, neonatal and pediatric resuscitation, oral health promotion, and wound and burn care in Sanbuyan. These comprehensive workshops served to address urgent medical needs while simultaneously equipping local individuals with crucial knowledge to maintain their health and the well-being of their communities.

Addressing Critical Health Challenges

Upon arrival in Gambia, the Arrixaca pediatric team encountered a range of medical conditions prevalent among the local pediatric population. Skin infections and respiratory issues were commonly diagnosed, highlighting the urgent need for improved medical care. In addition to these challenges, cases of malaria were identified, emphasising the region’s susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the team encountered instances that exposed the severe limitations in the accessibility of healthcare for the local population. The case of a patient with encephalopathy without specialised follow-up served as a stark reminder of the critical gaps in the health system. This revelation further fuelled the team’s determination to not only treat immediate medical concerns but also to facilitate lasting improvements in healthcare access and provision.

Beyond Medical Care

The mission of Pediatría Solidaria extends beyond the confines of medical treatment. Founded in 2017 within the Department of Pediatrics at Arrixaca Hospital, this organisation operates with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach. Comprising of 14 healthcare professionals from diverse medical fields, along with a social worker, the team focuses on caring for children in poverty-stricken regions, both locally and in developing countries.

The organisation’s interventions are designed to encompass the child’s entire ecosystem – from family and community to school and environment. By integrating these factors, Pediatría Solidaria aims to create lasting change and elevate the overall well-being of the children they serve. Additionally, their commitment to promoting values of solidarity and citizen action reflects their objectives to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality.

Global Impact and Recognition

The impact of Pediatría Solidaria’s endeavors is not confined to Gambia alone. The organisation’s reach extends to various international projects, including El Alto in Bolivia, Senegal, and Gambia. Collaborating with other NGOs and foundations like Hermanas Oblatas and Cavalli, the organisation amplifies its efforts and maximizes its impact. Their exceptional dedication and effectiveness were recently recognised with the ‘SOS’ award from the Colegio de Médicos, accompanied by a grant of €10,000.

In an era where healthcare access remains a critical issue in many parts of the world, the commitment and achievements of organisations like Pediatría Solidaria and their partners at Arrixaca Hospital stand as a ray of hope. By merging medical expertise with compassion and community engagement, they are fostering sustainable change and making a profound difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!