Ve’ahavta has been working in Guyana, South America since 1997. We work in partnership with the Lions Club of Bartica, and under the umbrella of the Guyanese Ministry of Health and Regional Health Services. Our Guyana project is a development project that focuses on the long term goal of building local capacity of health care service providers and empowering local communities to take control over their health and well being.
Ve’ahavta facilitates multidisciplinary volunteer medical teams to Regions 7 & 2 of Guyana for two week projects two times a year. Our teams operate mobile medical clinics in rural communities. Working closely alongside local health care workers and focusing on health promotion and education are key priorities for this project. Volunteers pay a participants’ fee which covers the cost of travel, insurance, food, accommodations, and all local transport. Ve’ahavta staff coordinate all logistics and supervise the team in the field.
Ve’ahavta harnesses support from volunteers, and various project donors who have provided in kind donations of pharmaceuticals and other supplies. This support has allowed us to leverage our resources and strengthen our impact at the local level, and we are grateful for the ongoing support of our volunteers, donors and suppliers.
Ve’ahavta is always looking for skilled volunteers to join our projects. We are in need of the following skill sets:
Physicians: primary care, women’s health, pediatrics, dermatology, emergency medicine
Nurses: nurses direct triage and provide clinical support. Nurses can also play a role in health promotion and education.
Pharmacists: management & disbursement of pharmaceutical supplies. Experience with primary care & counseling of patients an asset.
Health promotion & education: sexual health, reproductive health, family planning, hypertension & diabetes, oral rehydration, sanitation
Laboratory Technologists: hematology, bacteriology, urinalysis, hemoglobin, blood sugars
Physical Therapists: dealing with chronic pain management in resource poor settings
Support: A physical role which provides general support of team.
Volunteers stay within communities they are serving and live alongside the Amerindian Aikiwao people that are indigenous to the Upper Mazaruni River Region and the Afro- and Indo-Guyanese population who are residents of Bartica and its surrounding Riverine communities.
In addition to direct health care delivery, the team has undertaken a number of ongoing public health initiatives in collaboration with local health care workers, including:
- Provision of glucose monitoring devises to local health posts
- Donation of hemocue machines to measure hemoglobin
- Distribution of multivitamins to youth and adults to combat the effects of vitamin A deficiency
- Distribution of mosquito nets to pregnant women and children below the age of 5 to combat malaria
- A yaws treatment program, involving the provision of oral penicillin
- A comprehensive Family Planning interventions for local women, men and youth, including distribution of contraceptives, as well as educational literature on prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections
- Distribution of iron sprinkles to combat the effects of anemia in young children
The scientific focus of our mission has been on trying to find inexpensive ways that health care can be delivered such that sustainable systems can be set up which will no longer be dependent on charitable organizations. As a result of previous mission interventions:
- Acquired childhood blindness or pathological eye symptoms from vitamin A deficiency, a significant problem 10 years ago, is no longer present in the region
- Yaws has been eradicated from the region
- There has been a dramatic reduction in malaria in the communities visited by Ve’ahavta and the Lions Club
Additionally, Ve’ahavta has directly facilitated the life-saving surgery of four Guyanese children, diagnosed during past medical missions, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto via the Herbie Fund, a charitable arm of the hospital’s International Patient Program.
Our overall development objective is to increase the Human Development Index (HDI) of clients served by Ve’ahavta and the Lions Club in Guyana. This objective can be achieved in the long-term through the development of a health care model that will increase the capacity of our local partners. Our goal is to continue to strengthen the local systems for delivering primary care in resource poor environments, while continuing to collaborate with local NGOs and health care providers, and carry out achievable, capacity building initiatives while providing primary and preventative health care in Guyana.
Ve’ahavta is the recent proud recipient of a $150,000 grant from the Canadian Auto Workers Social Justice Fund, to be implemented over a three year period. This grant will allow Ve’ahavta to expand the capacity of our mobile clinic, as well as the capacity of local health care providers in Region 7 to provide medical services to their communities, including the establishment of a Maternal/Infant Health program in Region 7.