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Annual Report

Dear Clinic Family, Friends, Neighbors, Onlookers, and Pets –

It is once again time to account for ourselves … yet another year has flown by. When will I cease to be amazed by this?

At any rate, in 2016, we again saw over 3,000 patients at the Clinica Yanamono.  Over 90% were people whom we had seen at some time in the past (occasionally in the distant past).  Women/girls outnumbered their male counterparts by about 3 to 2, and children accounted for 1,375 patients, a little over 40% of our total.  Bear in mind, however, that we count people as children only through the age of 14.  By 15 years of age, at least some of them are parents, so we count those 15 years and up as adults.  A mere handful – 114 patient visits, and many of them the same patients repeatedly – were 70 years of age or above. 

Dad and Son
We provided birth control for 354 persons, mostly women.  We had an easy year for malaria, only 17 cases through all of 2016, and none of them fatal, as far as we know.  Pneumonia as a killer of small children seems to be less frequent than in the past, but diarrheal illnesses are still very popular.  Despite efforts by many groups to provide clean drinking water, there are still plenty of people who drink water straight from the river, sometimes because they cannot afford to contribute to the maintenance of the local water plants, sometimes because they are accustomed to drinking the water as is, sometimes because the plants are not functioning properly … there are many reasons.  Still, overall, I think that more and more people are finally getting clean water to imbibe, which is an immense step forward for people’s health. 

Children In Canoe

We had a total of 81 trauma patients through the year.  Every year, we see a fair number of victims following collisions while playing soccer, usually with minor injuries but occasionally with a broken bone.  We did transport one young man to the government center at Indiana when he became "unconscious" following a bonk to the head in a soccer game, but this young man has also had other episodes of unconsciousness following psychological or minimally traumatic injuries, so I am never sure how to interpret him.  He was taken to Iquitos, a CAT scan of his head was normal, and after a few days, he returned home, back to normal. 

Other frequent sources of trauma are machetes, used for everything from cutting up one's food to building one's homes; and burns, due to mishaps with kerosene lanterns or cooking fires or pots of hot food.  One man came with a fishhook firmly embedded in the calf of his leg (we removed it), and we saw several people for spider bites and scorpion stings, both of which are painful but not lethal.  A nine year old boy encountered a submerged section of a very spiny palm tree while swimming, and came in to have a whole mess of spines removed.  One of Explorama's boat drivers made a slip while removing a piranha from the hook and came to have a few stitches placed – actually, he was lucky.  Usually, these ravenous and sharp-toothed fish simply remove a chunk of flesh, and there is nothing to suture.  Another animal accident befell a 29 year old man who was stung in the leg by a stingray.  As I have noted in the past, the river rays are not as large as their ocean-going cousins, but they carry a dreadful venom, and these wounds take weeks or months to heal.  At least he did heal, unlike the man a few years back who died of tetanus following a stingray injury. 

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Above Photo by Amber Wobbekind