Global Medical Brigades travels to Africa to provide aid

27 November 2018

Cambrea Hall

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UCCS medical students will be traveling to Ghana in January as part of the Global Medical Brigades.

According to the UCCS chapter of the Global Medical Brigades’ website, from Jan. 12 until Jan. 21, students will be traveling to Ghana to take vitals and patient history in triage, shadow licensed doctors in medical consultations and assist in a pharmacy under the direction of licensed pharmacists.

Global Medical Brigades offers Medical Brigades throughout the year in communities that have limited access to health care, and help implement a more sustainable health system.

The 45 students from UCCS will need to raise $118,700 for the trip, which is roughly $2,580 per member, according to senior and biomedical science major Saya Hamad. Hamad volunteered to help write a proposal to the Student Government Association (SGA) for $12,000 which was awarded to them on Oct. 18.

The Global Medical Brigades will be doing fundraisers to raise money and awareness for the club, accepting donations from family and friends and personal contributions.

Hamad also wrote a proposal for the Global Medical Brigades last year when they went to Nicaragua.

“I know how hard they work and I wanted to help out in any way I could so I volunteered to write a proposal for them again this year,” said Hamad.

Hamad presented the proposal to the SGA and it was approved on Oct. 18. The bill passed 10 to 2 and was signed into effect by SGA President Sierra Brown on Oct. 19, according to documents on the SGA portal.

The $12,000 that SGA approved for the club is approximately 10 percent of the total expense for travel, lodging, food and security during the trip.

“It is expensive, but they’re giving general medical and ophthalmology care, as well as providing aid in oral hygiene, reproductive health, and cancer treatment for the people of Ghana. They’re role is important,” said Hamad.

According to both Morghan Sieracki and Gabin Heard, pre-med majors graduating in the spring and co-presidents of Global Medical Brigades, the club will be flying into Accra, Ghana and staying in a community that could be anywhere from one to five hours from the city. They will not know the specific community until about a month prior to travel.

“Brigades are an opportunity to experience culture and healthcare in parts of the world with which most of us are not familiar. The people that we help have minimal resources and it is amazing to see the impact we make on their lives in just the short time that we’re there,” said Sieracki via email.

Sieracki attended a brigade to Nicaragua last year. During the three day brigade, the club provided medical care to about 1,800 community members.

“We go on these brigades to teach and help community members, and in return receive equal amounts of knowledge and experiences from them. I’ll always remember the smiling faces of those that we helped on our last brigade,” Sieracki said.

Heard is a part of the Global Medical  Brigades to enact positive change for those in need both on an individual level and in the larger community

“Our club creates lasting impact in these communities that can be seen immediately as well as years into the future. The help of organizations such as Global Medical Brigades fulfills basic needs of communities such as those in Ghana,” said Heard via email. “This impact of this assistance can be seen in Panama which has reached sustainability meaning that they no longer require assistance from outside organizations.”

Students can donate to the UCCS chapter of Global Medical Brigades on their website.