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3-20-13 Doctors Without Religious Borders
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Completed fifth annual humanitarian trip
by Azalea Lehndorff
 
 
Dr. Kelvin and Marca Hill providing dental services [Photo by Azalea Lehndorff]  
A Better World’s 2012 medical team has recently completed its fifth annual humanitarian trip. The volunteer group has travelled to Sudan, the border of Myanmar, and Rwanda since the first team of five travelled to Kenya in 2008. The group has grown each year, with 32 professionals in the multidisciplinary team that recently returned. Their activities included providing much needed medical care to patients at clinics where A Better World has invested, attendance at the opening ceremony for the newest clinic funded by the medical group, provision of training to local clinical officers and community health care workers in public health, and giving medical students the opportunity to travel and be mentored by professionals. 

            Early this year [2012] as an initiative of A Better World’s student division Tomorrow’s Edge, five medical students from the University of Alberta and last month six medical students from the University of Queensland in Australia completed their internships with A Better World’s medical team. The students received credit toward their medical education under the mentorship of medical professionals who have travelled extensively with A Better World.

            Each year the training program has expanded. This year, highlights included demonstrations by Dr. Charlotte Goodine, pediatrician, on neonatal care. Dr. Len Wade provided training in advanced trauma life support. Wade was recently awarded “Family Physician of the Year” (in Alberta). During the training the Australian medical students participated in the demonstration of various techniques and attended patients under the supervision of the Canadian doctors.

            A Better World’s medical division is directed by Red Deer family physician Dr. Ray Comeau and his wife, Deryl Comeau, RN, MPH, who trains the community health workers. They are both active members of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Red Deer, Alta. “We have worked with other organizations, and A Better World brings a holistic approach to service. People from all walks of life, religious backgrounds and faith are welcome on these medical missions,” says Comeau. Dr. Len Wade, who just completed his third trip, says, “I am not a religious person, but my wife and I are committed to helping people, and A Better World is passionate about that, which brings us all together for a common good. I appreciate that about my association with A Better World.” 

            The six students from Australia feel that they had the best of both worlds. Aaron Hawkins says, “We are mentored by experienced professionals who know the challenges Africa faces, and we are exposed to local doctors who amaze us with little of anything to treat their patients and yet deliver the best possible care.”
 
Azalea Lehndorff is a project manager for A Better World and is a graduate student at the University of Alberta. She is working toward an MPH degree with a focus on global health.

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Story from the December 2012 issue of the Canadian Adventist Messenger
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