As a team of paramedics we came together for the first time to build a toilet and shower block, and make ready a new clinic. This included taking to our host country a substantial quantity of equipment, sufficient to share amongst five health centre’s. We also supplied a Cardiovascular hospital, which happens to be within the region we worked in, with two AEDs, surgical airway and Advanced Life Support equipment. The hospital caters for chronic cardiac conditions for some seventy million people across several countries. It did not have any AEDs. Acute cardiac conditions have no treatment pathway.
The work we did was described as very successful. Once the local children, and of course craftsmen,
showed us what to do we got to work digging, plastering and painting. The result was the completion of the clinic and an amazing opening day just prior to our departure. Much of the clinical workload relates to Musculoskeletal and Respiratory conditions as well Obstetrics. We also encounter conditions we see less frequently in the UK such as Malaria, Sickle Cell and other tropical diseases.
The trip showed what a team of paramedics both wants to do and can do. Between us we believe it’s
possible to bring together paramedic teams and build on the work we’ve started. Thus, Volunteer
Medics was born.
Msitu wa Tembo, Tanzania February 2019
Our first trip as a newly formed NGO far exceeded our expectations. Our volunteers described this as hugely rewarding, enjoyable and challenging and they all have said they wish to come back to continue the work, and some are doing so next year.
We embedded and immersed ourselves into the two villages the Rural Health Centre serves. The work we did was the first part of a longer-term project we have developed with our partners Tatu Projects. This saw considerable work done to improving the fabric of the building, including installation of plumbing, work on the electricity supply and repainting. We also provided training to the Home Based Care and Community Health Worker volunteer teams. These truly inspirational individuals completed training on IPC, pulse oximetry and patient transport and triage.
We also spent a great deal of time working alongside the resident Doctor, Abdullah and his small team, involved in patient assessment and treatment. This culminated in a medical caravan treating some 282 patients over the course of a single day alongside other local health organisations. Our volunteers worked far harder, and achieved a great deal more than our partners, and even ourselves expected. The success was down to such a wonderful team, thank you all.
Msitu wa Tembo, Tanzania January/February 2020
Continuing the work we started in 2019, we will be returning to Msitu wa Tembo and the neighbouring village of Londotis. As before, we will be resident in the community. This is a demanding experience, presenting conditions that will test our volunteers emotionally, physically and professionally. We will select our volunteers with a strong emphasis on their ability to work as part of a small team under such challenging circumstances. We will also seek to maximise the benefits of a diverse range of backgrounds.
The work will encompass clinical practise alongside the doctor, nursing and volunteer teams, including outreach into the community, as well as the medical caravan towards the end of the expedition. Training will continue and we hope to deliver both physiology as well as assessment and treatment seminars, in addition to providing educational materials such as books. It is expected that building redevelopment will focus on obstetric and maternal provision, hygiene and general refurbishment. We will also be playing an active part in engaging with the school through sports and health activities.
Our 2019 expedition was highly rewarding and clearly demonstrated the hard working, caring ethos Paramedics and colleagues can bring to communities outside their own. We want to maximise the opportunity that each of our volunteers has, and as such we will strive to accommodate personal objectives for the trip into those of the overall team. So if you think you want to be part of our team for 2020, drop us a line!
Nepal and Cameroon
The trustees have a long relationship with rural communities in both Nepal and Cameroon. We are presently exploring developing these relationships. We are hoping to be able to undertake our first expedition to Nepal in 2020. If you are interested let us know, we will be recruiting for this trip early. Cameroon is presently experiencing a considerable degree of civil unrest. There are an estimated one third of a million internal refugees. We are monitoring the situation and as soon we consider it safe to facilitate a trip to Cameroon we will do so. In the meantime, anybody who wishes to donate specifically to help the communities in Cameroon can do so, quoting CAM on the payment reference.