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MedicForce volunteers Sheila Prynkiewicz-Norris RN, and Pat McDonald have both worked with our project partner Clinic Nepal (www.clinicnepal.org ) Sheila writes about her work as a volunteer.
In 2003, Sheila completed a 3-month volunteer medical trip to Nepal. She provided my services to the Friendship Clinic Nepal, which was overseen by a charity group. She worked in their clinic, which provided a multitude of services during the week. The clinic had a specific schedule for specialty services being provided on certain days, with its own in-house laboratory and dispensing pharmacy. To further meet the medical needs of the immediate community, Sheila would also do house calls to local homes and provide medical needs and/or perform dressing care for wounds. She also participated in local medical education. The clinic held "health camps" typically staffed by volunteers. The "health camps" usually last all day in order to tend to the needs of all the patients. The scene is quite impressive as people come from all over. The majority of her time was spent in Meguali, which is located in the Chitwan province.
The biggest challenge for Sheila was the language as medical interpreters are scarce. Sheila quickly had to learn Nepali and soon became fluent. With all of the logistics taken care of by Hari at the conclusion of the project Sheila said "I hope to return to Nepal and continue to be involved in MedicForce and Clinic Nepal. It’s an amazing place that I’d highly recommend"
During a four week expedition in 2008, our team managed to treat a staggering 500 general health issues for villagers from remote communities throughout the Kelabit highlands. In 2009 the team returned to the Kelabit Highlands, this time bringing an eye specialist, as well as Malaysian doctor and dentist. The team treated an amazing 920 people, pulling 150 teeth and distributing almost 300 pairs of glasses. The project not only visited the Kelabit Highlands but also traveled North to work with semi nomadic hunter gatherers, a tribe called the Penan. In 2009 we identified some common trends in health care issues, namely a huge amount of infected scabies and skin conditions.
MedicForce plans to continue working in these areas, following through and learning from previous expeditions. We hope to transport and pay for 30 cataract operations, giving the gift of sight back to people living in near darkness. Our training team hopes to teach a Wilderness EMT class to community leaders, which will allow the communities themselves to continue to promote health care and treat injuries and illness once we are gone, thus promoting health education and first aid training for all. Simple measures, such as teaching how a wound can get infected or a how to stop a baby from choking, can save lives.