Patient Stories

Healthy Families Are at the Heart of PACH's Mission


Manuela is thirty-eight years old and has ten children, one of whom died from a fever when he was three years old. She, her husband, and her nine surviving children have lived on the beautiful mountainside of Guamote, Ecuador for their entire lives. They have a small farm where they grow corn and potatoes. They also have two milking cows and five pigs. Manuela spends her days caring for her children and tending to her plants and animals. The family consumes the majority of what she grows. Manuela’s husband spends his weeks in the nearby city of Riobamba where he earns a modest income as a driver to help support his family.

All of Manuela’s children were born at home, and she has never seen a gynecologist or an obstetrician. Overall, access to healthcare is limited for her and her family. When Manuela learned that FIBUSPAM was visiting her village and providing free general medicine consultations and gynecological exams, she was very excited. On the day of the clinic, she arrived with her children and waited to be seen by FIBUSPAM doctors and volunteers.

Manuela decided to undergo cervical cancer screening, which was performed by Dr. Amanda Horton. Using the Visual Inspection with Acidic Acid (VIA) method, Dr. Horton found that Manuela had pre-cancerous lesions, which she was able to treat immediately using cold coagulation. Because of this treatment, Manuela’s lesions will not develop into cancer. Manuela will have the opportunity to lead a productive and healthy life, and her children will continue to have a healthy mother.

In Ecuador, cervical cancer needlessly kills thousands of women each year. Currently, 36% of all women in Ecuador have never been screened for cervical cancer, the majority of whom are indigenous and have little to no access to such services. Through project Prevenir Juntos, FIBUSPAM has provided cervical cancer screening to over 1,000 women like Manuela.

Thank you to the International Foundation and Dr. Rachel Hanisch who made this project possible. Special thanks to Dr. Amanda Horton and the Temple Emergency Action Coalition who helped us treat hundreds of women.

New Vision for Byron

New Vision for Byron

Byron Garcia, a young Ecuadorian professional, has diabetes. In Ecuador, this disease is not always easy to treat. The specialists and pharmaceuticals available in the United States don’t readily exist in Ecuador. As such, Byron did not receive the regular ophthalmology exams that people with diabetes require. He developed diabetic cataracts and experienced blindness for over a year. People with disabilities often face discrimination in Ecuador, and because of Byron’s vision impairment, he lost his job and his ability to sustain himself and his family.
Byron learned about the FIBUSPAM clinic from a radio advertisement and came in for a consult. He was examined by FIBSUPAM’s ophthalmologist, Dr. Carlos Gonzales, who determined that Byron was a candidate for cataract surgery.

Byron received cataract surgery the following week, performed by Dr. David Khorram and an international team of medical professionals.

The day after surgery, Byron’s bandages were removed, and his sight was completely restored. Byron’s mother and aunt tearfully thanked Dr. Khorram and his team. They told the team that there was no way that they could afford Byron’s surgery at a private clinic in the distant capital city, Quito, and he was denied care at the local public hospital. With his vision restored, Byron has the opportunity to live a full, productive, and healthy life.

PACH & FIBUSPAM are grateful to all of our donors and volunteers who help us provide cataract surgery to hundreds of patients like Byron every year. We are especially thankful to SEE International, Dr. David Khorram, Janie Boyle, Halina Gorecki, Maria Barrosa-Hartford, Mariela Zurita, and Amy Chwialkowski who supported FIBUSPAM to complete over 40 procedures during a one week period in March 2018. 
Melody's Story

Melody's Story

Like her mother, Melody was born with strabismus, or crossed eyes. In rural Ecuador, surgical centers are nonexistent, and there was nowhere for her to go to correct the congenital condition. As Melody grew, her mother noticed that her daughter’s vision was impaired and that she was struggling in school. The family saved their resources for several months to consult with a pediatric ophthalmologist in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. The hospital said that they could perform the surgery, but the family would have to pay nearly five thousand dollars for materials, supplies, and time – a sum the family was unable to afford.
Life went on for Melody, although it was difficult. She was teased in school and had trouble with her schoolwork. She helped her family with farming and small animal husbandry, but there was little hope for a brighter future.
FIBUSPAM traveled to Melody’s village to provide general medical care for those in need. Her mom brought the whole family for checkups in hope that there might be some opportunity to improve Melody’s condition. The family was delighted to learn that Dr. David Silbert, pediatric ophthalmologist and surgeon, would be visiting the FIBSUPAM clinic and would be able to surgically correct Melody’s condition. After years of waiting, Melody’s family finally had a feasible solution before them.
When the big day arrived, Melody and her family traveled to the FIBUSPAM clinic where Dr. Silbert evaluated her. Melody received surgery that day which straightened her eyes.
For Melody, this surgery meant everything. She will be able to see and learn in school. She also hopes to be more accepted by her peers. The family was so grateful for this opportunity, as there were no other accessible options for Melody in Ecuador.
PACH & FIBUSPAM send our sincere thanks to Dr. David Silbert and the Conestoga Eye staff as well as Paloma Moscrado and all the students from Princeton University who traveled to Ecuador in March. During their trip, they provided vision screenings to over 1,100 Ecuadorian children in need and distributed more than 200 prescription glasses. Dr. Silbert, in collaboration with Dr. Andres Salgado, also operated on six children with strabismus: changing their lives for the better.
We are so grateful to Princeton University and Conestoga Eye for their continued partnership and support!