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Organization: Global Brigades USA
Program: Medical Brigades
Medical Brigades is a division of Global Brigades, the world\\\'s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. The Michigan chapter systematically works with more than 300 other university groups around the world to deliver and implement one of nine skill-based programs that benefit more than 130,000 Honduran and Panamanian community members annually.
Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to healthcare. Each community receives a brigade every 3 to 4 months where hundreds of patients are treated and volunteers deliver public health workshops. Electronic patient records are collected for future visitations and to monitor overall community health trends.
Global Medical and Dental Brigades in Ghana work alongside each other on a 10-day long brigade in under-resourced communities around the central region of Ghana. Each medical and dental brigade incorporates a public health portion to the 4 clinical days. The 10-day medical and public health brigade provides volunteers with the opportunity to make a tangible impact on communities while gaining hands-on experience in the field of international medicine. Prior to travel, volunteers collect medicines, recruit health professionals and fundraise. Once in Ghana, the team will visit one partner community to administer a 3-4 day-long clinic and conduct health workshops. During clinical days, community members are able to consult doctors and dentists, fill any necessary prescriptions, receive necessary dental care, and sit-in on health education lectures. At the end of the medical portion, volunteers then have a chance to facilitate more Public Health projects.
Volunteers on the Medical and Dental Brigades will be working closely together to provide quality health initiatives to a community that otherwise has limited access to health care. Volunteers will spend three days in a community in order to optimize the amount of time patients are able to spend with the physicians and dentists. Each patient will receive a physician consultation, teeth cleaning and a fluoride treatment as well as have access to pap smears, prostate exams and restorative dental care as necessary. Volunteers will have the opportunity to take patient vitals, obtain patient history and current symptoms, shadow and assist licensed physicians and dentists, participate in preventative education, and fill prescriptions under a licensed pharmacist. Volunteers will become familiar with the prevalent health issues in their community and learn about how to prevent and treat those illnesses. These brigades provide each volunteer with the opportunity to make a tangible impact on a specific community while gaining real life experience in the field of international medicine and dentistry. Public Health volunteers spend 7 days in Honduras, improving basic home infrastructure and providing health education to help reduce the incidences of life-threatening, but preventable, diseases in a rural community. With an understanding of the holistic model that focuses on education, community health sustainability and infrastructural development, volunteers first receive a comprehensive introduction to the country\\\\\\\'s public health challenges and the Public Health program\\\\\\\'s ground-up solution. They will take a tour of the community Public Health is currently working in, introduce themselves to the beneficiary families, and meet with the Basic Sanitation Committee (CSB). Then, working side-by-side with community members and local masons, volunteers construct four infrastructure projects meant to improve the health of the home and surrounding environment: eco-stoves, latrines, pilas (water storage units), and concrete floors. Additionally, as a key component of the program, Public Health volunteers collaborate with the Basic Sanitation Committee and local teachers to help provide community-wide education workshops and training, proliferating sanitation and hygiene practices and empowering families with both the knowledge and tools to live healthier lives.