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Showing posts with label Volunteer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volunteer. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Clare Parsons, support worker at Doctors of the World UK's Project:London

Clare Parsons at Project:London
Clare Parsons started out volunteering as a support worker for Project:London in Bethnal Green. She was there from the very start in 2006, and cleared out and painted the rooms prior to the clinic officially opening.  Clare now works closely with vulnerable service users as part of the close follow-up scheme that Project:London runs.  She writes up the client’s experiences to be used as case studies for Doctors of the World’s advocacy work and bears witness to the difficulties people are experiencing in accessing heaqlthcare in the UK.  Clare also uses her Mandarin language skills to accompany clients to appointments at hospitals and to register with GPs. She fits her voluntary work around her full-time job as a Speech and Language Therapist within the NHS.

Thanks to her hard work and dedication with us and other charities, Clare has been nominated to carry the Olympic torch through London. Well done Clare!

Speaking about her work with Project:London Clare says;

“We live in a city where there are thousands of people who cannot access the healthcare they need to survive both emotionally and physically. The people who attend the clinic are the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society but they have frequently had the toughest treatment from local services. At Project:London we offer them a non-judgmental and friendly environment and empower people to take the next step in improving the quality of life for themselves.”

To recognise the support and dedication of other volunteers Doctors of the World UK have joined up with Blue Dot World. Blue Dot World offers a reward scheme for those who support our cause. If you are a volunteer and interested in finding out more about the scheme and its benefits, click the link the below. Blue Dot World

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

National Student Volunteering Week; featuring Project:London volunteer Claire Ferrero

It’s National Student Volunteer Week from 20 – 26th February 2012. To highlight the wonderful work of our student volunteers we are sharing the experiences of one of our medical students, Claire Ferraro, who worked as a Support Worker at our Project:London clinic while she studied at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She also appeared in the student BMA news.

She says it was an ideal opportunity to practice her communication skills and have contact with patients: “The service users are often so desperately in need of help as a Support Worker you are easily able to see the positive impact of your work. It’s a real "get-away" from academic studies and quite often a harsh reminder of the difficulties some people face on a day-to-day basis. Whilst working/studying in the NHS, it's sometimes easy to forget that there are still people who miss out on our excellent healthcare.”

Volunteering gave Claire practical skills: “I became really confident at communicating effectively with service users via translators, either in person or on the phone, which should be invaluable in my foundation job in east London. In addition, I quickly learnt to be assertive on the phone with GP secretaries and practice managers whilst advocating for GP registration for service users. The clinic relies on working effectively in a team with other support workers, the nurse and/or doctor and communicating back to the office. I had first hand experience of giving explanations, recording accurate information, coping with distressed relatives, being empathic and this was always in the context of language and cultural barriers.”

Project:London is a really friendly and rewarding place to volunteer. There is nothing better than being able to tell someone you've successfully found them a permanent GP. The overwhelming gratitude and relief at being able to access healthcare when they need it emphasises how much they were in need of help in the first place.” 

If you would like to become involved with Project:London or any other volunteer opportunities for Doctors of the World, read more.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Joanna Kotcher Medical Coordinator in Ethiopia Kebri Dehar

Scottish-based Joanna Kotcher has had an extensive career.  Among her roles she has worked as a Medical Co-ordinator for Doctors of the World and other non-governmental organisations, also as a nurse, a writer and as a consultant. Originally from the USA Joanna is one of our in the field volunteers and has worked as a Medical Co-ordinator for about 13 years primarily in refugee camps and conflict situations to set up programmes and help implement changes to strategies that bring long awaited medical aid to disrupted areas.

Doctors Of the World had started work in 2007 in the Somali region of Ethioipa to provide primary health care in rural communities but was halted and was restarted in Kebri Dehar, a large town in the same region from 2008-2010. Joanna worked there from February to June 2010.

"I wanted to volunteer with Doctors of the World (DOW) as it combines work on human rights (specifically international humanitarian law and rights), medicine, and conflict. I can’t think of any other profession I would rather be in."

After arriving in Kebri Dehar , only military convoys, road work vehicles and some civil service cars were permitted to travel in the region. I was also struck by the limited amount, variety and quality of food available.

The DOW project during my mission was mainly hospital based with technical support, training, donation of drugs and supplies to surgery and maternal health. This included emergency services in obstetrics and operating theatre. Toward the end of my mission, we developed the next project plan which included time spent preparing various strategies, how to store blood donated for transfusions during power cuts, or how to organise the  pharmacy so that drugs are properly monitored. My ‘hands on’ days were spent on the hospital wards with members of our team, assisting in surgery, training staff, and seeing patients with the team. I have a specialisation in trauma (wound) care, surgery, and other conflict-related medical and psychological areas such gender based violence.

Following our return to the rural sites near town in May, we met with the elders of the community, local authorities, and village health workers that had not seen any humanitarian organisations for quite some time. Many of the village health posts had not been fully operative since 2008. The most pressing medical needs in this region were infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrheal diseases related to sanitation, and malaria.”