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Health Outreach

by: Brooke Skinner

Sometimes, we make decisions that send us a down a current that we could never have known where it would lead. During my first visit to Vorovoro, I was in charge of a project to teach local nurses how to make reading glasses for their community. This project was eye opening to me; I began to see that something so easily taken for granted in America had a real impact in the Mali Tribe, and it was not impossible to bridge this gap of lack of access and resources.

I began to see a major area that needed to be “bridged” in this community—healthcare. The nearest hospital was 40 minutes away by boat, and unless you were severally ill, you were not going to be seen. A major shortage of healthcare workers and funding exists in remote areas of Fiji, such as Vorovoro and Mali Island, so communities are simply left to make do without quality healthcare.

These areas include but are not limited to: chronic disease management, wound and infection care, nutrition, and health education. One event in particular that stood out in my mind was when of the village members that makes Vorovoro and Mali Island such a special place gave me a beautiful, handmade necklace because I provided him with Neosporin and a Band-Aid for a wound.

And so the idea of the healthcare outreach program was born. By partnering with Bridge the Gap and the Mali community, it is my aim and hope to help alleviate some of these healthcare discrepancies through sustainable solutions. Currently, fundraising for both medical supplies and financial support is underway to provide the foundation for this program.

Basic nursing supplies such as blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, over-the-counter medication, and wound care equipment will be provided to each of the five villages. By working with the members of these communities, training will take place to allow nurses or village health care workers to provide nursing care to their community.

After assessing these communities and discussing with the community members what long-term goals and partnerships might look like, future implementations and goals will be put into place to help improve the quality of life by improving their access to healthcare. It does not always take much to make a difference in this world, sometimes just a willing heart and a determined mind when the opportunity presents itself.

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