by Steve Vodhanel
The second trip of what looks like an exciting tradition for LLUSP begins July 25 with a departure from LAX to Bucharest, Romania, where Dr. Naomi Florea leads another group of pharmacy students into the rural areas of Romania for experience serving the medically underserved. The LLUSP team will initially land in Bucharest, but immediately head into the rural countryside to visit local health care clinics in Burcioaia, 4 hours NE of Bucharest. Thirteen students will be assisting Dr. Florea with an expectation that many types of illnesses and medical conditions will be encountered, giving ample opportunities for a “teachable moment” in the real-world of health care in a poor country.
Excitement and expectations are running high for the participating students. PY2 student and class president Ryan Huntsman stated that he feels very fortunate to be granted the opportunity to “extend a hand of knowledge, compassion, and religious conviction to the people of Romania.” PY2 student Abigail Adu-Gyane views the Romania mission trip as “making myself available for whatever task God wants to use for me and my knowledge of pharmaceutics.” PY3 student Stephen Hom will be returning to Romania for the second time. "This trip for me is just as exciting as the first. Having the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills we have acquired as student pharmacists to help under-served people in Romania is priceless. These are the moments in life that you would do over and over again," stated Stephen.
Health care in Romania is considered poor, with limited access found especially in the rural areas of the country. Health insurance is almost non-existent and the use of bribes has become one method for obtaining access to health care. While health care systems have improved since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, Romania’s health care systems still compares more with that of third-world countries rather than the countries of Western Europe.
Dr. Naomi Florea (front, 3rd from left) and the Romania medical mission trip students for 2011.