Dal Global Brigades brings support and supplies to Ghana
Erin Stewart - September 12, 2012
They say it takes a village to raise a child. But how many bake sales and bottle drives does it take to get to that village, and also deliver much-needed medical supplies and attention to over 200 homes?
Well, quite a few, actually.
The Dalhousie Global Brigade, comprised of 25 members of the Dalhousie community ranging from nursing, pharmacy and IDS students to aspiring medical and dentistry professionals, returned from Ghana just in time for the start of September classes last week.
“This is the biggest brigade we’ve had,” explains Chantelle McMullin, co-founder of the Dalhousie Global Brigade with Marissa Ley, both undergrad psychology students. “Last year we had 12 people and the year before we had six. We’re doubling our numbers every year.”
The contingent spent the last two weeks of their summer vacation working in the village of Srafa Aboano, a farming community in the Mfantseman District of the Central Region of Ghana. The trip was the culmination of almost a year’s worth of fundraising.
“We’ve been fundraising for this trip since we got back to campus in September of last year” says Ley.
Much-needed supplies and support
Armed with approximately $35,000 worth of medical and dental supplies, alongside a host of other medical equipment including stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, blood glucose supplies and sanitation packs (soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, nail clippers), the group was prepared from a supplies perspective. That’s not to say that there weren’t still some surprises.
“It’s always a culture shock; it’s completely different,” says McMullin. “We go to rural areas, so we’ll be in places where they have no electricity, no running water—none of the basics that we’re accustomed to.”
With a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:48,029 in the district of the Central Region of Ghana, the Dalhousie Global Brigades and their mobile clinic was a welcome sight to people in the community. Over the two weeks, students took on a number of tasks including helping out in triage, shadowing doctors, assisting in the pharmacy, delivering sanitation packs and giving presentations on a variety of topics, most notably malaria and sexual health.
For Sarah Bryson, this was her second trip with the Dalhousie Global Brigades. An aspiring medical student, Bryson wrote her MCat exam the Friday before leaving for Ghana.
“What attracted me to Global Brigades originally was that it’s currently the largest student-led, sustainable development and global health organization in the world,” she says. “Everything—all the medicine, the physicians, the donations—all the stuff that happens is completely the result of student efforts.”
As the brigade gears up for another year of fundraising, McMullin and Ley encourage members of the Dalhousie community to get involved.
“Students, staff, even people from other schools,” says McMullin. “We are a Dalhousie-based chapter, but anyone can join.”
“I think everyone gets something different from a brigade,” continues McMullin. “Be it the importance of preventative healthcare, an understanding of the holistic approach, expanded horizons for what they want to do in the future… or an appreciation for the basic amenities we take for granted each day.”
If you want to know more, or get involved in this year’s brigade, visit: dalhousieglobalbrigades.weebly.com
comments powered by Disqus