Friday, June 5, 2009

HOPE Volunteers Razzle-Dazzle 'Em

The dedication of HOPE volunteers knows no bounds. At a training session in Panama, HOPE volunteers Elise Chamberlain, Iilene Smith, and Jane Bower added some razzle-dazzle to the lesson plan. Ably assisted by Navy nurses, Elise, Iilene, and Jane performed the "EKG Dance," a YouTube sensation meant to help students visualize arrythmic cardiac conditions. With their arms representing atria and their legs, ventricles, the chorus line of educators wiggled, kicked, dipped, shimmied, and generally boogied to the beat of cardiac rhythms. The rhythms may have been irregular, and the dance, frankly, bizarre, but by the end of the session, every student had joined in. Learning lifesaving skills and a new dance isn't bad for a day's work.

The number of lives Continuing Promise 2009 touches is simply staggering. At the mission's halfway point, Project HOPE volunteers and their military and civilian partners have seen 40,000 patients, performed 112 surgeries and had 170,745 medical encounters. Amazingly, the treatment pace is only accelerating.

But Continuing Promise 2009 is leaving another, equally important legacy in its ports of call, thanks in great part to HOPE volunteers' efforts. Every day, HOPE volunteers and their military counterparts are training local doctors, nurses, paramedics, and students in important lifesaving techniques, including Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

One student, a paramedic-in-training, said that she and several friends attended the class on their own time to gain and hone skills that they will use in their jobs every day. And that's precisely the hope. In the parlance of our Navy hosts, these students are force multipliers for Continuing Promise's efforts. By learning and then applying lifesaving skills, they advance the mission's goal: bringing quality health care to as many people in the Americas as possible.


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