Fabio Arriola

 Fabio talking to mothers and children at a school in Tierra Colorada Alta about the medical and dental services offered at the Primeros Pasos clinic. 

Fabio talking to mothers and children at a school in Tierra Colorada Alta about the medical and dental services offered at the Primeros Pasos clinic. 

As many in the clinic heard me talk about at some point or another, giving dental health its importance in the general health conversation is one of my greatest pursuits in life, and I feel very fortunate to have gotten to reaffirm the importance of that argument in the Primeros Paso´s clinic. I always like to start talking about Primeros Pasos by giving them a shout-out for having a dental program in the first place. If dental services are sometimes very inaccessible and underfunded (in the public health setting) in more industrialized parts of the globe, the situation in Guatemala is definitely dire- this is where the great work that Primeros Pasos does comes in. The educational and curative services that the program offers are a lot of the times the only access that the population has to oral health care, so the work that is done is both significant and impactful in ways beyond what one perceives with the eye.

A typical day in the dental clinic included coming in, greeting the great staff that works in the clinic day to day and getting to work. Cleanings, fillings and extractions were all part of the daily routine. Like in every clinic, every patient was a new challenge, with a wide array of ages and needs that needed tending to every day. In addition, the opportunity that the organization gave me to carry out my desired research really helped contextualize many of the oral health problems that the population faces and reaffirms the need for the dental program. Both the clinic and Xela have so much to offer; good people, food and something to do always come along. This is definitely a particular experience that has that wholesome feel of both personal and professional growth every step of the way!

Primeros Pasos