Japsimran: Week 3 Oaxaca Reflection

During week three in Oaxaca, I shadowed at the Centro de Salud in Lomas de San Jacinto. For all three days, I shadowed Dr. Cipriano. During these three days, we saw patients who were coming for their pregnancy check-ups, individuals managing diabetes and/or hypertension, and those with fevers or some other suspected infections as well. My experience shadowing Dr. Cipriano was very different from shadowing Dr. Cristina and the nutritionist in the Centro de Salud at Xoxo. Firstly, at Lomas de San Jacinto, I saw a greater diversity of patients than I had seen with Dr. Cristina in Xoxo. Almost all of Dr. Cristina’s patients seemed to be individuals managing diabetes and/or hypertension. Dr. Cipriano engaged more with the students who were shadowing and the patients that were receiving care at the clinics. I really appreciated the energy and enthusiasm with which Dr. Cipriano spoke with the patients and explained different aspects of the visits to us. There was one patient, however, that I noticed Dr. Cipriano was not as friendly with and was a little stern with. I am not sure why there was a change in Dr. Cipriano’s behavior with this patient and wish that I had asked him a little more about how he speaks with patients.

It was also interesting when Dr. Cipriano would speak with us during a patient visit. He asked about two or three women to tell us the legends of their communities with us during the visit. And although this was not related to the visit and was a little bit uncomfortable for me at first, but I noticed that the patients were excited to share their culture, stories, and language with us. One women even asked us to write our names down for us before she left so that she could remember our conversation. I appreciate learning about the different stories from the patient but I do wish that Dr. Cipriano had asked the patients first if they wanted to talk to us about these topics. At times, it did seem like Dr. Cipriano was just telling the patients to tell us these stories.

This week, we also got to hear from two experts on the state of maternal mortality and infant mortality in Oaxaca and Mexico in general. These two talks were my favorite talks during our entire trip. It was especially shocking to see the inequalities present between rural and urban Oaxaca. Women in rural Oaxaca are at a much higher risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth. When we were in San Miguel Peras, at least one of the three delays was very apparent. The roads were difficult to travel on, especially during the rainy season. I wonder what types of services may be available for individuals facing a medical emergency in San Miguel Peras and surrounding pueblos. Is it possible for them to reach help when needed or is there really nothing that can be done during these medical emergencies?

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to interview four different women living in Pensamiento and San Miguel Peras. Every family was very welcoming and eager to speak with us. I found the interviews to be a very effective way of learning more about the community and the various members of the community. I especially enjoyed it when the women would expand on their answers and explain why they were choosing the particular answers. Also, eating lunch and dinner with the families gave us a chance to speak more with them and learn more about their lives and the community. I especially enjoyed the dinner conversation that we had where the mom was speaking about all of the family members that live near her and the support that they provide for one another. This comment really revealed the deep connections present in this community.

Melissa and I with the mother that invited us into her home for the interview and made a delicious pasta soup for lunch for us.


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