Putting Their Pharmacy Training to Use
Two TCOP Students Attend Medical Mission in Haiti
Two P4 Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) students put their pharmacy training to use volunteering for a week this summer in Haiti. Students Sanjay KC and Olga Rashchupkina, who just finished their third year of pharmacy school, joined TCOP’s Dr. Roopali Sharma on a National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) NY mission to the country with 100 other medical and non-medical volunteers.
“It was eye-opening,” said Rashchupkina who is originally from Russia. “80 percent of the people live without running water and electricity.”
The journey for the students began with a flight to the Dominican Republic where they spent a night before crossing into Haiti. KC said he was shocked by what he saw in the rural villages.
“Haiti is so close to America, but has none of the medical care that America has,” said KC, who is a veteran of the United States Army and served multiple tours in Afghanistan.
Each day, TCOP students set up a pharmacy station in remote villages and distributed more than 300 prescriptions. Common ailments were hypertension and stomach problems. (A TouroCOM student who volunteered in Haiti over the summer made a similar finding). Raschupkina noted they distributed more than 24,000 tablets of Tylenol.
“The patients would see the doctors and then they would come to our station to have the over-the-counter prescriptions filled,” said KC.
“They don’t have the basic items like vitamins,” added Rashchupkina.
Both said they plan on returning to Haiti as volunteers once they complete their degrees.
“The trip taught me how fortunate I am,” said Rashchupkina. “Even for the little things like running water in my apartment.”
“Here we complain about the little things,” said KC. “In Haiti, it’s almost impossible to get things like toothpaste.”