Thursday, 20 January 2011

Humanitarian mission is planned

Nurses Leanne Shepherd, Greg Coulson, CQU midwifery lecturer Anne Eaton and Sarina Hospital nurse Sue Murray fry up a snag to raise some money for a humanitarian trip to Cambodia.

via CAAI

20th January 2011

QUEENSLAND Health volunteers and other health workers are making their final plans for a humanitarian mission to Cambodia.

Six months in the planning, the trip was organised by CQUniversity as part of a community development initiative.

Mackay Base Hospital nurse Greg Coulson will lead the 11-member team which flies out on February 4, returning on February


Efforts are focused on fundraising to buy medical supplies in Cambodia for villages near Siem Reap.

Rather than take bulk supplies, the group has opted to buy in Cambodia where possible, also benefiting the local economy.

A sausage sizzle was held yesterday at the Mackay Base Hospital to help fundraise for the trip.

The joint mission involves volunteers from hospitals in Mackay, Sarina and Brisbane and from the private nursing sector.

Mr Coulson said each volunteer had an area of nursing speciality.

“We’ve been busy obtaining supplies such as birthing kits, dressings and suture sets,” Mr Coulson said.

CQU midwifery lecturer Anne Eaton and nursing lecturer Maureen Chapman developed an itinerary to support a new community based clinic in Cambodia.

The team has attended workshops at the university on adult education and teaching in a culturally appropriate manner.

“It is a pilot project and if successful may be repeated in other Queensland areas.

“The willingness of medical professionals to donate their holiday time and finances to support an

outreach such as this has been amazing,” Ms Eaton said.

“The volunteers will also gain an insight into the health issues faced by resource-challenged countries and will learn to adapt and use their skills in a culturally different environment, hopefully gaining a life changing experience.”

One of the people heading to Cambodia is Leanne Shepherd, an experienced nurse currently working for Dr Rod Kirkwood, an ophthalmologist.

“I personally have always had an interest in working in third world countries,” she said.

“There is no doctor in residence and the nearest hospital is one and a half hours away and most of the villagers do not have access to transport to get to the hospital in Siem Reap.

“I am very much looking forward to this experience.

“I think one of the biggest challenges is going to be seeing first-hand the morbidity costs to the community,” she said.

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