The Advocates for World Health Hendrix College Chapter recently traveled to St. Ann, Jamaica to see the medical supplies they raised money for being used.
Advocates for World Health is a national nonprofit that collects medical supplies and redistributes overseas to hospitals that are in need. The Hendrix College Chapter helps to raise funds for the shipping.
Outreach Coordinator Austin Lacey said the Hendrix group traveled to Jamaica because that was where the national organization was sending some of the supplies. He said the trip went well, but there was a delay in the supplies because of communication barriers.
"The processes took longer than expected and by the time the supplies were ready the ship they were supposed to travel on was filled and thus had to await the next ride," Lacey said.
He said the staff at Alexandria Hospital have received the supplies now and will be able to use them to provide community members with the medical care they need.
"The trip went amazing," Lacey said. "Four days out of the week we spent with Alexandria Hospital while we spent the fifth at the St. Ann Health Department."
He said on their first day, some of the group helped to assist with nursing tasks like taking blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, temperature and more, while others were given the chance to observe in the major wounds clinic and the maternity ward.
"On the following days, we decided to focus our efforts on the tasks that the hospital could not spare the hands to complete," Lacey said. "There were many parts of the hospital that had become coated with algae and mold while others were simply worn and needed a bit of touching up with paint."
Attending St. Ann Health Department, he said the group was also separated into groups with some sent to assist in the pharmacy while others worked in the children’s clinic or helped educate the public on health protocols.
Lacey said the trip was the first for the Hendrix Chapter. He said it wasn’t what he expected, but that is what made it memorable.
"We traveled to this country with preconceived ideas and expectations based on the culture that we live in and experience every day and yet we were constantly forced to re-evaluate our own morals and beliefs," he said. "Trips like this really help you to put your own life and the challenges you face on the daily bases into perspective."
Lacey said the trip also allowed the group to see people that they raised money for.
"This trip allowed us to firsthand see the lives that we are impacting and the differences we are making," he said.
The group raised $3,000 last year that was used for the shipping cost of the supplies to Alexandria Hospital and to expand their chapter’s ability to collect medical supplies.
The Hendrix Chapter has planned another fundraiser for 4-8 p.m. Friday at Blaze Pizza. Blaze Pizza has pledged to donate 20 percent of proceeds from each meal back to the organization.