The small team medical mission is intended as an integral part of the process to help rural people improve their health and economic well being. Small medical teams make several vital contributions. First, the teams provide high quality triage to identify medical problems that can successfully be resolved or alleviated by surgery. The triage process also includes patient education on the nature of their problem and, if surgery is not required, information on means to reduce the probability of recurrence. In addition, the teams are perceived as representing the international medical community and thus help build confidence in international surgical teams. This latter contribution is very important since in the rural areas the hospital is typically considered as a place to die and thus to be avoided. There is no general pharmacy or broad dispensing non-prescription products associated with the triage. However, bladder and respiratory infections are common and should be among those treated at the triage with antibiotics. In addition, it has been our experience that local doctors are often very inaccurate in their evaluations, particularly in their assessment of the need for gynecological surgery, so some level of local training of health promoters is desirable. This type of medical mission is for those who want to be more closely involved with small rural communities than is possible with larger medical teams and who may have an interest in a follow up relationship with the patients and their communities. The site for the triage may not have a reliable source of electrical power or running water and the use of bottled purified water is a necessity. Frequently, hotel and restaurant accommodations during the triage period will not have the amenities of hotels located in municipal centers. As a cultural issue, it should be noted that many women have not had a pelvic examination because rural health promoters are almost always male. Thus female participation in the medical team is highly desirable. Partner For Surgery provides all the organizational and logistic support for the medical mission along with community structure development before the mission and the follow up afterwards. Each team consists of at least a doctor and a nurse both experienced in the wide variety of problems likely to be seen in these rural communities. The maximum number of medical personnel is four per team. A Partner For Surgery staff member is with the team at all times and in the rural areas community members also accompany the team. It is the responsibility of Partner For Surgery to schedule the patients with the appropriate surgical team, facilitate all aspects of getting patients from their communities to the hospitals and to assist when post surgery complications occur.
|Cost:||$1,000 to cover all expenses|
|Contact||Debbie Jefkin-Klnekave, Volunteer Team Coordinator|
|Address||P.O. Box 388, McLean, Virginia, 22101, USA|
|Phone||808-214-6053 (Hawaiian Standard Time)|