Hospital Loma de Luz – Honduras
This full-service hospital is located along the northern coast of Honduras and serves a community characterized by the full range of diseases of poverty. Medical care is provided by a largely American staff and includes outpatient consultations, inpatient care, general surgery, obstetrical and ophthalmology services. Students and volunteers must be able to function independently in Spanish.
Hospital Loma de Luz is very interested in sharing their vision and experience with healthcare professional students, who are invited to participate in the full scope of activities. Assigned roles and responsibilities will be in proportion to a student’s skill, with provision of full supervision. Students will especially appreciate the opportunity to observe how the local culture, behavior and economy influence physical health.
Location & Community
Hospital Loma de La Luz is situated along the northern coast of Honduras, on a hill overlooking the shore of the Caribbean Sea. The village of Balfate is nearby, marked by a public school and police station, and is home to cottage industries that include fishing, cattle ranching, a palm oil plantation, and home gardens. Though a rural area, the density of the population is remarkably high. Balfate has but few shops for purchases, so most people travel to the city of La Cebe for shopping. November through February is the rainy season, making many of the roads impassable. March and April are the coolest time of year. June through September is especially hot.
Become familiar with Honduran culture, history and economy by reviewing the Wikipedia Honduras Profile. Rich resources for Honduras health information include the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation IHME Honduras Country Profile and the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Honduras Data.
For planning purposes, visitors destination is the city of La Ceiba, Honduras. Airlines generally fly into the city of San Pedro Sula, from where one may connect to La Ceiba by commuter airline or via a four-hour bus or taxi trip. Hospital Loma de Luz staff can provide details concerning these travel options and recommend a hotel in La Ceiba if an overnight is required. Visitor should go through customs in La Ceiba. After passing customs, they will be met by a representative of the Hospital, followed by a one to one-and-one-half hour drive over rough roads to the Hospital.
For current information please visit the Honduran embassy website appropriate for one’s home nationality. United States citizens can obtain current visa information from the website of the Honduran Embassy in Washington, DC. Residents of the United States, Canada or the European Union can normally receive a visa on arrival at the airport in La Ceiba. Visitors must be prepared to pay an airport tax in cash when departing La Ceiba.
Traveler’s Health & Safety
Malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Visitors should be up-to-date on all vaccinations, including tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and should bring adequate supplies of any personal medications. One should consult with their personal physician before traveling, and refer to the CDC Travel Website for the most up-to-date health information.
People coming for care at Hospital Loma de Luz are generally the rural poor from surrounding mountains and villages. Common health problems include malaria, dengue, tuberculosis, pneumonia, dysentery, fractures, gun shot wounds, intestinal parasites, machete wounds, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, and pregnancy concerns. HIV infection is a present and quietly growing crisis.
Patients communicate in Spanish, and only a very few educated Hondurans in this region speak English. Participants should be capable of functioning independently in Spanish.
Medical Care Services
Loma de La Luz means Hill of the Light. This Christian healthcare facility began as a clinic in 2000 under the leadership of Jefferson C. McKenney, MD, in a community that had no medical care accessible within a day’s travel. By 2003, the services advanced and the hospital witnessed its grand inauguration – a 30,000 square foot, 50-bed, modern, full-service medical care facility providing 24-hour care. Hospital Loma de Luz is a joint effort of the Associacion Piedra Angular de Honduras and the Cornerstone Foundation of Saucier, Mississippi. Some one-thousand outpatient consultations are provided each month, in addition to inpatient care, general surgery, obstetrical and ophthalmology services.
Public Health Initiatives
In an effort to curb the causes of disease, the Hospital has initiated a water supply project in the local community. Improvements have been added to the roads and bridges to ease transportation. The Hospital promotes a literacy program as well as proving home health care for those with medical needs who are unable to travel.
Healthcare Profession Staff
The staff is lead by Jeff McKenney, an American cardiothorcic surgeon, and Rosanne McKenney, an American nurse. They are assisted by a number of other American healthcare professionals, including five family physicians, a pediatrician, a cardiologist, a laboratory technician, and a nurse midwife.
Hospital Loma de Luz is very interested in sharing their vision and experience with healthcare professional students, who are invited to participate in the full scope of activities. Assigned roles and responsibilities will be in proportion to a student’s skill, with provision of full supervision. Students will especially appreciate the opportunity to observe how the local culture, behavior and economy influence physical health. Previous INMED Learners who served at this training site include these Graduates.
Student Lodging & Meals
Housing is provided in modern buildings that include individual bedrooms, showers and bathrooms, and a kitchen/laundry area with stove, oven, refrigerator, freezer, and washer and dryer. Housing is located in a gated compound to enhance security.
Internet connectivity at the hospital is available via satellite. Cell phone coverage is also present.
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to financially support this facility. While such efforts are not required, they provide opportunity for INMED personnel to become involved in this important aspect of international healthcare.
Volunteers and visitors will enjoy visits to the beautiful beaches. A Canadian resort is actually located just two km from the hospital – testimony to the geography. After dark, hospital staff enjoy reading, playing board games. and watching videos/Netflix.
Behavior & Dress
Clothing should be conservative and functional. Ladies and girls can wear pants, including jeans, during and outside of work. They should bring a dress or skirt in case they attend more formal events. Men should wear long pants to work and shorts for after hours.
What To Pack
Visitors should bring copies of all healthcare profession licenses, diplomas, or certifications. A carry-on bag should be packed that contains essentials items just in case one’s luggage becomes lost. Bring clothes appropriate for the weather. Other useful items include a water bottle, hat, work gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, ear plugs, swim suit, work shoes/boots, tennis shoes, a Spanish-English dictionary, and jeans for walking through brushy areas. For those coming during the rainy season, a light rain jacket and sweater is useful.