The Global Health Club (GHC) of the Saba University School of Medicine (SUSOM) held its seventh Global Health Seminar on campus Wednesday evening, reports The Dailly Herald. The seminar was an opportunity for the medical students to share their public health related volunteering or work experiences around the world.
This was the last edition of the seminar to be overseen by SUSOM faculty Dr. Ramona Dumitrescu. She used the occasion to pass on this the advisory position to SUSOM faculty Dr. Herman Reid. GHC provides opportunities for students to increase their awareness of current global health challenges while encouraging student involvement in improving public health locally and globally through volunteerism. One of its goals is to increase awareness and address local health needs within the Saba community through education and interaction. Students are encouraged to create local initiatives that work towards improving health locally by building relationship with local community stakeholders.
The evening’s first presenter was student Mary Krendel. She spoke of her challenging cultural shock experience while serving in a hospital in Chattisgarh, India, but also her meaningful involvement in serving underprivileged communities in Cusco, Peru as well as Los Angeles.
The second presenter, student Nicole Strowbridge spoke or her service in a Volunteer Abroad Volunteer Basecamp in Arusha, Tanzania. She worked with the Ithna Asheri Charitable Hospital and Ebenezer Orphanage. The later work made her determined to organise fundraising efforts in her native Canada leading to the erection of a needed brick wall to secure the orphanage compound and the resident children exposed to bullying.
Student Kavya Guda spoke of her work with the Prevention International No Cervical Cancer (PINCC) organisation in their Hyderabad, India mission. The team she worked with was hosted by the Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (BIACHRI). Despite cultural apprehension about testing, they succeeded to examine 150 women of which 38 went for Pap smears, 11 for cervical biopsy, six for cryotherapy and eight women for Leep. PINCC volunteers do followup trips monitoring patients and certifying local medical practitioners as a means of building long-terms sustainability for such efforts. They also used media outlets such as newspapers and television stations to create awareness and lobby of greater financial support for these early detection and disease prevention efforts.
Student Ranon Cook spoke of his service with the Lova Volunteers, a programme in which he registered together with student James MacKinnon. They travelled and served during their break in a suburb hospital of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
The SUSOM Global Health seminar venue was also an opportunity for the incoming programme coordinator of the Body, Mind and Spirit/AIDS Support Group Saba (ASGS) Foundation Dimetri Whitfield, to present on the various ways in which medical students can help serve their host community Saba, by volunteering in the organisation’s public health programmes. He stressed the long-standing history of such medical students’ efforts in implementing youth programmes, in particular the Respect Programme which was started in 2006 at the initiative of a medical student.
Following presentations participating students surprised outgoing faculty Dr. Dumitrescu with mementos to remind her of her work and lobby efforts within the community. The seminar was followed by a reception during which participants discussed plans for follow-up activities.