Friday, October 29, 2010

Reflecting on Work in Guyana

As Project HOPE volunteers begin work in Suriname today, Dr. Steven Saris reflects on his time in Guyana.

Dr. Steven Saris has worked as an internist and primary care medicine physician for 25 years. He recently closed his private practice in order to have more time to work with people in need around the world.

"I have been interested in working with Project HOPE since I was a child," he says. " I remember seeing advertisements on TV about the SS HOPE traveling around the world to care for those in need and seeing the doctors taking care of patients port side," says Dr. Saris. "I always thought that was fascinating and when I got my medical degree that I always hoped that I could do this."

In Guyana, Dr. Saris experienced the inspiration of working alongside doctors from many different areas while caring for patients at the onshore clinics.

"Guyana is a beautiful country, the people were wonderful, they were very thankful of what we had to offer," says Dr. Saris. "The people I worked with, the volunteers were brilliant."

Dr. Saris was also impressed with the people of Guyana. "They were very interested in their health and they wanted to know the proper medical care to relieve their ailments."

He also worked with some of the local medical professionals. "There was a doctor from the town that we were in that came to the clinic everyday to volunteer his time," Dr. Saris said. "He was a great resource for when I had questions about how things are done in Guyana."

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Help Support Project HOPE's Humanitarian, Health Education and Volunteer Programs Around the Globe.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Active Day at Medical Clininc

Project HOPE volunteers had an active day working with their military counterparts and other NGOs at a medical site set up onshore in Guyana.

The Air Force band played for the crowds as the kids from a school next door danced in their Sunday’s best. The mood was happy as kids played on a newly finished playground. People were coming in and out of the busy medical site and the rain didn't keep away too many people.

Kirsten Anderson, of the Peace Corps, currently lives around New Amsterdam, Guyana. She found out about the medical clinic though a friend's brother who is serving on the Continuing Promise 2010 mission. Anderson came to the clinic to help out, teaching the people waiting in line to see a doctor about the important use of fluoride and brushing.

"There has been a lot of excitement in my community about the medical clinic,” Anderson says. “When I got home yesterday, everyone was talking about being down here and their experiences in getting to visit with the doctors.”

Yedmattie Edwards is a young mother who brought her two children to the clinic today.
"I was able to get some medication for my children,” she says. She was also grateful for the playground built for the kids in the community by the U.S. military. “We are especially fortunate you made time to help the Guyanese people."

At nearby sites, the Army Vets were checking out family animals and dentists where helping children and adults with damaged teeth.

Despite the busyness of the day, everyone that came into the compound was able to be seen.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Continuing Promise team visits orphanage in Guyana

Saturday was a productive day for Project HOPE volunteers working hard at both medical sites and for many other various organizations helping out with operation Continuing Promise 2010. Near medical site two the military help set up a new play ground for the kids and by the end out the day they kids where playing on it.

Nancy Stockman, a certified nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner, went to the New Amsterdam Hospital where she met with their local labor and delivery unit.

"We exchanged ideas, it was wonderful, and we had a big teaching session. We got to see the postpartum unit as well. It was fascinating to see the similarities and differences. It was really fun,” said the Project HOPE volunteer.

Gai Cole a member of John Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine went to the Alpha School House, an orphanage with roughly 36 kids from five to ten years old. Cole went to the orphanage with Give a Kid a Backpack, and members from other organizations.

"The Navy chaplain had a whole kit to make balloon animals and we handed out stuffed animals to all the kids. Like any kid you run into in the United States, they were swapping the animals. Each kid went though about three different animals before they found the one they liked. We gave the pastor clothes to hand out to the kids," said Cole.

With so many great organizations helping out with as many people as they can, it makes this a strong tight working group.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer
Help Support Project HOPE's Humanitarian, Health Education and Volunteer Programs Around the Globe.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Project HOPE volunteers work at sea and onshore

Today was an active day for the Project HOPE volunteers as about 2/3 of the crew went ashore to help out patients while the rest helped out with departing and arriving surgical patients down in the medical bay.

Most of the people brought aboard the USS Iwo Jima from the host nations are coming onto the ship for surgery. There are three surgical rooms and one optometry room where they do most of the cataract removals. They do many short stay high impact surgeries to better increase the patient’s quality of life but give them a short stay on the ship.

Corinne Bragg an OR nurse worked in the OR suite on board the USS Iwo Jima. "I helped recover a patient from Guyana that had glass shards removed from his forehead, and above his eye. It could have damaged his eye if it was not removed in a few months. He was very grateful and his wife was with him, he did very well the surgeon was up front with him and provided much comfort to the patient,” she said.

Janet Kinney, pediatrician neonatologist who was able to visit a hospital in Amsterdam, Guyana, described the experience. "It was very interesting and very rewarding I see my field of medicine being practice in a very different way. I was asked to go to the local hospital, which was their neonatal intensive care unit, and labor and delivery. I went there and the nurse midwifes showed me around."

Kinney was also able to help deliver a couple babies.

Other volunteers worked hard at the medical zone one.

"We were able to see more patients today than when I was out on Monday, we had an extremely full day I think we had about nine providers, the pre-op surgeons were there so they could do screenings, the dentist as well as the optometrist," said Nora Hussey a family nurse practitioner. "Personally I saw a little girl, who was about four-years-old who just had a fresh fracture and we were able to get her to the hospital right away."

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Monday, October 25, 2010

Volunteers continue work in Guyana

It was a warm and humid day as Project HOPE volunteers in Guyana made their way to the first medical zone on Thursday morning. Rain limited the amount of medical staff to man the zone the day before so many people that were left waiting arrived again. The bleachers in the field were full of people waiting to have various ailments checked out by the doctors.

"We have a good patient flow; we have a good triage going on outside. The local volunteers are assisting us with [triage] and we have a lot of providers here today so the value is high,” said Colonel Brown, site leader for med site one. “That's our goal, to see as many patients as possible and help as many as we can."

The project hope team worked well among different agencies and was able to help out many different patients.

"I come because I didn't feel too well with my throat and my shoulders, so I just wanted to get it check out here," said Swersetie Insataeny, one of the patients at medical zone one. "I feel so happy but I do not know what will happen tomorrow or when I have to go to the next medical visit."

"I was pleasantly surprised when I got there. I wasn't sure what I was getting into,” said Project HOPE volunteer Ruth Hart. “As soon as the first patient sat down, I was just the regular doctor that I always am, so it didn't matter if I was in Guyana verses being in the United States in the emergency room that I've been in for 27 years. Once the patient expressed their need or concern I realized how much of an effort they made to be here."

As the first day wrapped up for many on the Project HOPE team, many were looking forward to getting back out there to help out more people.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rain Delays

Many members of Project HOPE’s fourth rotation were not able to make it ashore for the first day of the mission due to rain. As many waited excitedly for the moments to board the helicopters they were faced with delays.

A couple members from the team were able to make it ashore and helped over 100 people that waited through the rain.

"It was a bit primitive; people were waiting in bleachers with just a bit of cover. It started to rain and the people didn't leave, they waited, before we got there someone set-up some sanitary conditions for us, so we could start taking care of people," said Nora Hussey one of the few members of Project HOPE that made it out. "We were not sure if we could see the people, because the other teams were not able to make it out, but we started seeing patients after we set-up."

There were about three providers to a room while other staff started to screen patients. Hussey saw a wide age range of people from about one-year-old to 75-years-old.

A few of the other nurses, who were not able to make it ashore, went though some of the pre-operational procedures on the ship. During the afternoon hours many were able to participate in a lecture about different fungal infections they may find in the field while treating patients.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Volunteers settle into their home away from home

The fourth rotation of Project HOPE volunteers met up with the United States Navy helicopters in New Amsterdam, Guyana yesterday. The team was then introduced to and received a tour of their home for the next couple weeks, the USS Iwo Jima. Once aboard the ship the volunteers were given a quick safety briefing, rules, and a brief history and eidetic of the Navy.

They then met with the various units they will be working with and received their schedules. Realizing the next few days would be busy the volunteers made use of their bit of free time by getting acquainted with the ship and settling in.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Volunteers Arrive in Guyana

All 15 members of the Project HOPE volunteer team arrived safely into Georgetown, Guyana on Sunday and Monday. The volunteer doctors and nurses formally introduced themselves to each other through their personal and medical backgrounds.

In addition to introductions, the volunteers prepared for their health education and humanitarian mission by participating in safety briefings and orientation aboard the USS Iwo Jima.

The team was happy to meet each other, and they are very excited to begin working in Guyana and Suriname.

Medical work is scheduled to begin today.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Team of Volunteers Join Continuing Promise 2010

A new team of Project HOPE volunteers joins the Continuing Promise 2010 mission aboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore, offering their medical expertise in Guyana and Suriname during their one-month service.

In partnership with the U.S. Navy, nearly 50 Project HOPE volunteers, along with their military counterparts, have provided care and health education to children and families in Haiti, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and now Guyana and Suriname.

Since partnering with the Navy in early 2005 to provide tsunami relief, Project HOPE has participated in 20 humanitarian assistance and health education missions with nearly 1,000 HOPE volunteers. These missions have provided care to more than 400,000 people, offered health education to more than 100,000 and delivered $33 million in donated medicines and medical supplies.

Meet the Volunteers Serving in Guyana and Suriname

Corinne Bragg-Muir, a nurse from Cocoa Beach, Florida, is participating in her first mission as a Project HOPE volunteer. She is volunteering as a women’s health nurse onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Kerry Decker, a nurse from Cambridge, Massachusetts, is volunteering on her first mission with Project HOPE. She is working as an adult nurse practitioner onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Dr. Ruth Hart, a physician from Manlius, New York, is a first-time volunteer for HOPE. Dr. Hart is board certified in both family medicine and emergency medicine and brings 27 years of experience in emergency medicine to her volunteer work onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Nora Hussey, a family nurse practitioner recently retired from the US Army is a first-time volunteer with Project HOPE. From Summerton, South Carolina, Nora is using her primary care and preventive medicine experience onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Pasquale Iannino is a self-employed videographer from Lombard, Illinois. The first-time HOPE volunteer is documenting the medical care provided by Project HOPE volunteers onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Brenda Jones, a first-time Project HOPE volunteer from Valparaiso, Indiana, is working as a women’s health nurse practitioner onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Dr. Mona Khanna, a physician from Chicago, Illinois, brings 12 years of disaster relief experience to her first volunteer mission with Project HOPE. Specializing in internal medicine and public health, Dr. Khanna is serving as HOPE’s Medical Director onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Dr. Janet Kinney is a pediatrician from Southlake, Texas. She is a first-time Project HOPE volunteer and will use her pediatric skills to care for children onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Dr. Atashi Mandal, a pediatrician from Huntington Beach, California, is a first-time Project HOPE Volunteer. Dr. Mandal is working as a pediatrician onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Dr. Melissa Moore, a pediatrician from Eugene, Oregon is on her second volunteer mission with Project HOPE as she returns for her second rotation on Continuing Promise 2010. In July and August of this year, she served on the USS Iwo Jima in Haiti and Colombia. In Guyana and Suriname, she is again using her pediatric skills as well as serving as the Operations Officer. She has previously done medical work in India, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Saipan.

Dr. Colin Muir a physician from Cocoa Beach, Florida, is a first-time Project HOPE volunteer. He is serving as an OB/GYN onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Kristopher Radder, a photographer from Horseheads, New York, is on his first mission as a Project HOPE volunteer. Kris is serving as the Public Affairs Officer, photographing and blogging about the work of the HOPE medical volunteers in Guyana and Suriname.

Dr. Steven Saris from Ardmore, Pennsylvania, brings 25 years of primary care medicine experience to his first mission as a Project HOPE volunteer. Onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname, Dr. Saris is volunteering as an internal medicine doctor.

Nancy Stockman, a certified nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner from Billings, Montana, brings 20 years of experience in obstetrics & women’s health to her first volunteer mission with Project HOPE. Nancy is working with childbearing women and families onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Jeanine Trethewey, a registered nurse from State College, Pennsylvania, brings more than 30 years nursing experience to her first volunteer mission with Project HOPE. With experience in childbirth education, Jeanine will also be working with childbearing women and families aboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Guyana and Suriname.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Volunteers Help Treat 6,790 Patients in Panama

Project HOPE volunteers helped complete the sixth leg of the eight-county Continuing Promise 2010 mission. In Panama, volunteers along with their military counterparts helped:

Treat 6,790 patients
Performed 139 surgeries
Provided 7,445 health education contacts

Enjoy some more photos of volunteers at work in Panama

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Learning From Each Other

Dr. Victoria McEvoy, a pediatrician from Cambridge, Massachusetts, is serving on her first volunteer mission with Project HOPE.

Working on the one-month long mission in Nicaragua and Panama did have its rough and tough moments. The weather was excruciatingly hot or soaking wet with rain. Time and resources did not permit everyone that needed care to receive it. Still, it was always a pleasure to watch Dr. McEvoy smile at a new patient and to see the joy on her face, along with the seriousness in her eyes when she was caring for each person.

A few patients really stand out in her mind. There was the 11-year-old boy with a hernia. "He had it all is life, " Dr. McEvoy says. "We were able to get him on the ship to have it removed."

She also treated a baby with pneumonia. "The mother brought he baby to the clinic and we were able to get the child admitted tot he local hospital," she says. "If the mom had not brought the baby to the clinic, she probably would have not have sought out the help the baby really needed."

Not only did Dr. McEvoy get to share her more than 30 years of pediatric experience with her patients, she also learned from them as well. “The thing that struck me is that the people we cared for have a lot of assets that we don’t have such as community, joy in simple things, and a hard working attitude,” She says. “It is amazing how much humans can endure, including the ones serving in this mission. They adapt to do whatever hand they have been given.”

Photos and story by Bonnie Hudlet, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer