Hershey Rotarians Provide Honduran Children Orthopaedic Care
November 10, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health NewsTwo members of the Hershey Rotary Club, Dr. Edwards Schwentker and his wife, Bunny, are establishing a permanent pediatric orthopedic center in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with the help of the Hershey Rotary Club, Rotary International and CURE International. During August and September 2007, with a matching grant from Rotary International, the couple completed Ponseti clubfoot training workshops in four Honduras cities, training over 60 general medical doctors and orthopedic surgeons in a technique that, with casting and minimal surgery, effectively corrects clubfoot deformity in infants. While clubfoot is routinely corrected in the United States, it is a severe health problem for children in underdeveloped countries, leaving them crippled for life and creating a lifelong burden on their families.
“The Hershey Rotary is very proud to have contributed to the grant which was over $20,000 as a result of a 3 to 1 match from Rotary International. It’s a great example of how Rotary helps people in underdeveloped countries to significantly improve their lives.” says Frank Paris, President of the Hershey Rotary.
Since June 1995, the Schwentkers have visited Honduras each year on short-term orthopedic projects. They currently work in the Leonardo Martinez Hospital, where they have a full-time Honduran orthopedic surgeon, Gustavo Vasquez, who operates weekly and holds two clinics per week. Volunteer groups continue to provide short-term assistance in the clinic. “This is the first time in the history of Honduras that poor children have had year-round access to elective orthopedic care,” says Dr. Schwentker, “and with this Rotary sponsored clubfoot treatment program we can now effectively treat the most common congenital deformity that causes locomotor disability.”
In January 2004, the Schwentkers joined CURE International, a charitable organization that has children’s hospitals and treatment programs in 12 developing countries. CURE is presently building its own 20-bed pediatric orthopaedic hospital in San Pedro Sula. When this is completed, the Schwentkers will move to Honduras to work there full-time, to expand their treatment of poor children and to continue to monitor the clubfoot program. “And that will be the fulfillment of a dream that we have had since we first went to Honduras,” says Dr. Schwentker
Dr. Schwentker is a Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and he and his wife, Bunny, are residents of Hershey.
For information about supporting CURE International, please visit curenetcomm.org For additional information about the Hershey Rotary Club, please visit hersheyrotary.org.