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Shreveport medical students treat 1,300 Kenyans

A group of medical school students from LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport recently returned from Africa where they provided medical treatment to 1,300 people living in a remote area of Kenya. The students work through a nonprofit they formed several years ago and partner with other global mission organizations. According to Dr. Lisa Hodges, assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine, the students hold fundraisers throughout the year and purchase medicine to take with them during the month-long health mission.

“The students interview the patients with the translator, do physical exams, and then we work through the diagnosis together," Hodges said, the faculty adviser for the project. "It’s a great opportunity for the students. They see so many patients. They see diseases they’d never see here in the U.S. They get really good at physical examination really fast.”

They go on the mission during February, Hodges said, because the roads are more likely to be passable before the rainy season sets in. She said they set up in areas where Kenyans live in mud huts and earn less than $1 a day.

“We’ll drive up, and the whole village will be outside waiting," Hodges said. "We sign them in, register them, and try to treat everyone we possibly can.”

Hodges said the Kenyans can’t afford a taxi ride to reach a far-off medical clinic for lifesaving medicine. This year, she said, a record number of medical students went on the mission trip.