July 10, 2012
I recently returned from a two week trip to Nicaragua! During this trip, I brought several donated neurosurgery textbooks to the hospital because the residents do not have access to many of these common neurosurgery textbooks (they literally can't buy these textbooks in Nicaragua).
I also worked with SIGN Fracture Care International (http://www.signfracturecare.org/) to deliver orthpedic rods, nails, and screws that are used to repair many patients' fractured femurs. SIGN does AMAZING work. They manufacture their own orthopedic supplies and send the supplies around the world--their work has literally enabled over 50,000 people to walk again, as these items can't typically be purchased in the developing world because they are too expensive. SIGN is very well run, and I highly reccomend that other health care volunteers contact them to enquire about building partnerships with any medically-related projects. I met SIGN's founder at a talk at my medical school, and he was eager to help out HEODRA in any way possible.
Any future volunteers who will be traveling to HEODRA should contact me (email@example.com) so that we can arrange for you to pack SIGN supplies to bring to the hospital, as shipping the equipment is very expensive.
Aside from the textbook and orthpedic supply donations, I also spent time meeting with the hospital's sub-director to improve the hospital's communicatation with potential volunteers. Dr. Montes brought an additional doctor into the Omprakash partnership (Dr. Jorge Aleman) and Dr. Aleman will help with all volunteer logistics. From my conversation with Dr. Aleman, it is clear that the hospital is looking for people of all backgrounds to help out. He specifically mentioned that artists are needed to help paint murals in different parts of the hospital. He also requested that people with computer skills (he explicitly mentioned excel and powerpoint) come to give seminars about using these programs. The hospitals' students and faculty members would benefit hugely from a basic knowledge of how to use these programs.
He also mentioned that there is a great need for educators. Specifically, many of the pediatric patients who are in the hospital for extended periods miss lots of school. To help ensure that these patitents keep with their peers, Dr. Aleman mentioned that volunteers who could teach elementary-level classes for pediatric patients, or who could provide tutoring to these patients, would be greatly appreciated.
Nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals who would like to give seminars about topics related to their particular specialty are also much needed. The nurses from Brattleboro, Vermont (see previous Omprakash stories) did a fabulous job of modeling how these seminars can be run, and their lactation course was very well recieved.
Needless to say, volunteers from all backgrounds are needed, and your creative will be well recieved!
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