Having fun raising money and saving lives

3,000 annual student volunteers and health professionals establish mobile clinics having fun raising money and saving lives.

By B. Crane

Global Medical Brigades is aBrooklynCollegechapter of an international, secular, student operated, volunteer organization whose mission is to provide sustained healthcare relief to underserved communities throughout the world. They recruit volunteers and medical professionals, gathers medicines and supplies and travels overseas to perform medical brigades. There current emphasis is to provide medical relief to impoverished villages inHonduras. They plan to send 25 students from BrooklynCollege and each student’s individual cost is $1625. The Brooklyn College Association just approved their trip to Honduras.

Medical Brigades atBrooklynCollegeis a chapter of Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. The BrooklynCollegechapter systematically works with more than 300 other university groups around the world to deliver and implement one of nine skill-based programs that benefit more than 130,000 Honduran and Panamanian community members annually. Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to healthcare. Each community receives a brigade where hundreds of patients are treated and volunteers deliver public health workshops. Electronic patient records are collected for future visitations and to monitor overall community health trends.

What is the need in other countries? Hondurasis the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 53% of the population living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate soars at 28% and the average annual per capita income is roughly $3,001 per year. Some of the effects of this poverty include abandoned children, malnutrition, disease, low life expectancy, and high infant mortality rates. Basic needs such as education, health care, and clean water are luxuries for the majority of the population.

A medical brigade consists of undergraduate and graduate students, pharmacists, doctors, and medical students that provide free medical care by setting up temporary day clinics in villages outside the cities of Tegucigalpa and Choluteca. Each community with whom they partner with receives a brigade every 3 to 4 months in which hundreds of patients are treated and volunteers deliver public health workshops. Between brigades, in-country teams maintain communication and follow-up.

BrooklynCollege’s first brigade will be held in from May 27th, 2011 – June 1, 2011. They gather medicine and supplies year-round for each brigade. On each day of the brigade, they will travel to a different village where medical care is unavailable and people lack the funds or access to take a bus to the city clinic. Students will have the opportunity to participate in each of the brigade stations: Triage, Clinic, and Pharmacy.

This past fall, they have organized a series of fundraising events to reach the goal of providing basic medical services to underserved villages inHonduras. Through Trick-o-Treating for supplies and medication drives, selling baked goods, providing services for donation, collaborating with Applebee’s, and playing basketball and dodgeball for a cause, they have successfully raised more than $800.  Karaoke and many other events have occurred to raise money.  Additionally, they have collected more than 2600 of the supplies and medications that they will need for the brigade.

Most information was from http://www.empowered.org/MedicalBrigades

bcmedicalbrigades@globalbrigades.org

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