Churches of Christ Medical Santo – Contribution and Reward

Without the kind and generous contribution of volunteers from around the globe, Churches of Christ Medical Santo would not be able to provide the vital services they deliver every day to people in Northern Vanuatu.

Some volunteers come alone, ready to immerse themselves for an extended time into the Vanuatu culture and way of life. Others come with a partner or friend, using their holiday leave to help those less fortunate while also enjoying an unforgettable experience. Whatever the reason for their visit, their contribution cannot be underestimated and the rewards they find can be life changing.

When Wendy’s friend told her about her time volunteering with Medical Santo and the amazing experience she had, Wendy and her fellow nurse friend Bev decided that they would use their annual leave to volunteer at the clinic in Vanuatu.

When they arrived, Wendy and Bev were assigned to support the Northern Provincial Hospital, working across many departments including emergency and outpatients.  

As part of their orientation, the nurses received cultural awareness and language training, something they were incredibly grateful for.

One aspect of working in the tropical nation, which at first the women struggled with but soon came to immensely enjoy, was the practice of taking a one-and-a-half hour break in the middle of the day, where workers typically take the time during the hottest part of the day to take a nap. With beds available for the siesta, Bev quickly adopted the practice and discovered just how refreshing it was, particularly in such a humid climate.

Being in a tropical paradise, the friends made sure that they took the chance to experience some of the natural beauty of the surrounding environment, with stunning beaches, tranquil clear waters and great food.

Both being keen snorkelers, they had a lovely time exploring Champagne Beach. Wendy, an avid photographer captured some stunning images of the serene milieu, while Bev explored the ocean floor, ridding the reef of many noxious Crown-of-thorns starfish, which prey on coral reefs and can have a devastating impact to the reef environment.

While Wendy and Bev enjoyed a short stay, Ruth, a paramedic from London, has taken up the challenge of volunteering at Medical Santo for a period of six months from October 2016.

Ruth has given her time and skills to help developing nations around the world, including Guyana and Argentina in South America. Prior to leaving her home in London for the tiny nation half-way around the world, she worked with Churches of Christ in Queensland to ensure that her visas and everything else was in order, making for a trouble free entry.

Ruth’s previous volunteering experience had only been for short-term assignments, but helped a desire bloom within her to do more. She discovered that having official training in Tropical Diseases would be a distinct advantage for the volunteer work she wished to undertake. So Ruth enrolled in a course usually reserved for nurses and midwives, being accepted thanks to her outstanding application, and achieved her qualification, something which will be immensely useful in Vanuatu, where tropical diseases run rife.

By giving of herself to help Medical Santo for six months, Ruth is generously passing up potential salary for that period, and using her own resources to travel from London to Vanuatu and pay for her own living expenses.

It is the contribution and selfless generosity of people like Ruth who mean we can deliver vital health services to the people of Northern Vanuatu.

Medical Santo continues to urgently need adequately experienced and qualified doctors and other medical volunteers for 2017.

We are seeking volunteers for short, medium and long-term appointments. As the registration process can take up to three months, please consider this in your planning.

If you are interested or know someone who could fill these vital positions, please contact Libby on 0457 204 669 or email volunteers@cofcqld.com.au.

For more stories like this, download the latest edition of Networking.

 

Posted December 16, 2016 in Networking blog