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Feature Article Samaritan Residents Serve on Medical Mission Team in Malawi

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A team of Samaritan providers recently traveled across the globe for a three-week medical mission in Malawi. The team included Sugat Patel, MD, Samaritan Infectious Disease; and two of Samaritan’s Graduate Medical Education resident physicians, Caleb Hedberg, DO, and Aaron Chavira, DO.

The group provided medical care at a local hospital in Malawi during their stay. Their daily routine started with exercise and church, followed by time spent at the hospital where they did rounds and admitted patients for a variety of health conditions, including chronic conditions and infectious diseases, such as HIV and malaria.

According to Dr. Hedberg, it was an eye-opening experience to work in Malawi, where the conditions are noticeably different than his day-to-day job at home. He saw the challenges of providing health care to patients in the midst of intermittent prescription drug shortages and power outages, which he explained were typical at his site. But, he was also impressed with the joy people displayed in the face of poverty and families that were grateful for the care they received.

“The patients and staff seemed really happy to have us there. They would sometimes bring their family in to be seen by us,” Dr. Hedberg recalled. “The patients mostly spoke the local language, but through interpreters, we could tell they were happy to have our services.”

The opportunity to participate in the medical mission to Malawi is an invaluable part of Dr. Hedberg and Dr. Chavira’s medical education during their residency. It’s an experience they will not soon forget.

“I will remember my patients who I got to know personally and helped to the best of my abilities, which in some cases was to provide a caring presence in the face of limited medical options,” said Dr. Hedberg. 

Samaritan’s Graduate Medical Education residency programs offer training and experience to prepare physicians and surgeons for a successful career caring for patients in the hospital, clinic and other medical settings. To learn more about Samaritan’s Graduate Medical Education program, visit samhealth.org/GME.