Medical missions: are we really making a difference?
Medical missions are being conducted all over the world at any given time. These medical missions are often realized by a small group of volunteer people willing to put away time and money to bring hope to isolated and poor populations.
The medical mission’s team is usually composed of doctors, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, helpers and translators among others. Many medical missions are organized by a particular religious denomination but often are opened to anyone willing to help, regardless of their own religious beliefs. The common denominator to all medical missions is that they are regrouping people eager to help, give and share to their best capacities.
A small pharmacy of fortune is composed and basic medications are handed out upon prescriptions by the staff to the people who need it. Often on those busy medical missions, medications ran out and the team needs to reserve the precious antibiotics for the patients who require it most.
Many of the villagers coming to those medical missions have to walk considerable distances (sometimes walking in the mountains for more than a day) in order to have a chance to consult with a member of the team. Sometimes, in very fortunate missions, reading glasses are provided to those who need it most. Hence, when people are donating their old glasses in containers in malls they can be assured that they are making a huge difference in another person’s life.
Upon working during the medical missions, the hours are long and the task can be demanding. Hence, a doctor can easily sees over 200 patients in consultation on a very busy day. Medical missions are more focused on solving acute problems. A lot of prevention and education need to be done in order to improve the general health status of the people living in third world countries.
Medical missions are welcomed by the local authorities and government who accept this outside help. Often, the local villagers will help in all they can to make the medical mission a success by offering their time and food to the missionaries.
One can argue that such punctual medical assistance is limited and cannot cure all the problems the needy people have. Although it is true that such help has burdens, the general comments missionaries get from villagers is that they are making a huge difference in their lives.
The most frequent medical conditions encountered during a medical mission are: malnutrition and parasites for children and diabetes, hypertension, parasites and infections in adults.
More important than bringing pills and creams to the needy people during those missions, the volunteers have the satisfaction of bringing them hope.
More permanent and considerable help is highly needed to continue the work started during those punctual and limited medical missions.
About the Author: Dr Nathalie Fiset is a family doctor and a certified hypnotherapist. For more information go to: http://www.mymedicalmissions.com www.aperfectharmony.com or www.a-1hypnosis.com