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April 11, 2008

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

Creating Solutions: UT Tyler Nursing Faculty Help Fight Intestinal Disease in Guatemala

Two nursing faculty at The University of Texas at Tyler are continuing their mission to help rid intestinal parasites in a third-world country with the help of a nationally-recognized health care organization, Dr. Linda Klotz, College of Nursing and Health Sciences dean, announced.  

Refuge International has received a $25,000 grant from Kiwanis International for a project aimed to treat school-age children in the Central American nation of Guatemala for intestinal worms. Deborah Bell, UT Tyler clinical instructor, and Dr. Debbie Mahoney, UT Tyler associate professor of clinical nursing, both serve on the organization’s board of directors.

Adios Lombrices” is the project’s name, which in English translates to “goodbye worms.”

The medication is a chewable tablet that requires administration twice a year. Malnutrition, coupled with intestinal worms, puts children’s normal growth at risk.

Groups in Guatemala
Refuge International has been treating children in four Guatemalan states. With what Bell and Mahoney hope will be the first of many grants, the organization will be able to expand its treatment area to two additional locations.

“Research has shown that the treatment is working,” Bell said. “It’s a joy to help people who are in desperate need of just the basics in life.”

Bell co-founded the health care organization Refuge International in 2002. Refuge International works to improve lives abroad by implementing various programs in health care and nutrition as well as education. Its efforts include sending medical teams into Guatemala four to six times per year.

Bell and Mahoney discussing
According to Bell and Mahoney, UT Tyler holds an extensive partnership with Guatemala through Refuge International.

Nursing faculty and students travel to clinics in San Raymundo, Guatemala in February and October to provide assistance in clinics and with research projects.

For more information about Refuge International, visit http://www.refugeinternational.com.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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