Local doctor serves medicine and God in Haiti | News
Citrus Park, Florida -- As a physician at Doctors Express in Citrus Park, Dr. Ilka Nazario treats a lot of kids.
"She has a fever since 8 o'clock," the mother of a young girl tells her recently.
And when confronted with illness here, Nazario has the tools and technology to get the job done.
But this doctor has also learned to do without. On a medical mission to Haiti, the difference in her work is-"Gigantic," she says with a laugh.
And the difficulties start with just getting there. Nazario's been treating people in the mountainous town of Beau Sejour. In previous years, a mule took her on the final leg. This April trucks and SUVs hauled the gear, but even then, Nazario says they had to call in the Haitian "AAA".
"This is when we got stuck," she says pointing to a photograph. "So they got ropes and start pulling the car."
In the tin hut of a clinic, Nazario treats mostly children. Parasites from the water they get and carry from a stream is the biggest problem, because parasites can lead to malnutrition.
"She's 18 months and she cannot sit or walk," says Nazario, looking at the photo of a girl who should be a toddler.
Nazario's yearly medical missions are sponsored by Holy Family Catholic Church in St. Petersburg. Nazario says she's been given skills by God and feels the need to serve. And in Haiti she sees cures she can't explain.
"It's miracles; I can't tell you how many things happen, that should not happen, but everything works out," she says.
April's mission was Nazario's third and she's already feeling the pull to return. And the big reason why?
"I think the patients," she says. "They ask you to."
Holy Family plans more medical and possibly some construction missions to Haiti. If you'd like to volunteer you can call the church at 727-526-5783.