Bargara paramedic on a mission to help Nepal
IT WAS an idea that had been burning inside of Bargara paramedic Steve Whitfield for some years, and now, The Wild Medic Project (WMP) has come to fruition.
According to Mr Whitfield, the WMP aims to harness the practical skills of paramedics, nurses and health care providers in order to provide ongoing health and hygiene education, as well as pre-hospital medical training, while providing concurrent medical aid to communities with poor access to appropriate medical facilities.
"Our main project site is Nepal - the village of Chitre in Helambu. Chitre had a small basic health post that collapsed in the April earthquake. The village has a few hundred people but the surrounding valley had up to five thousand who have limited to no access to health care," he said.
"It is our mission to provide medical teams every couple weeks to the site in order to assess and report on the demographic, current and ongoing health concerns, and establish a sustainable management plan to address the issues."
With support from Yeppoon paramedic Jarrod Booth and Agnes Water paramedic Mick Stuth, the project was created.
"Collectively, we established that it was our vision that medical care is both free and accessible for all peoples regardless of political situations, cultural background or geographical location that we take so easily for granted. We all felt we had a responsibility to do our part to assist people in different circumstances from our own," Mr Whitfield said.
"I have been part of project expeditions around the world for many years, Mick has lead teams in community engagement projects in East Timor and this work will be a first for Jarrod, who is in a logistical role which he has ample experience in previous work roles."
The trio, who will be deploying their first support team to Nepal in November, are calling for more people who would like to join the project and lend a hand.
"Our first team is heading to Nepal to establish the site, set up the medical camp and begin the reporting and assessment process," Mr Whitfield said.
"Basically, we are looking for anyone who feels they may have something to offer. We are always targeting paramedics and nurses for the medical projects, but we are looking to include midwives, dental and oral specialists and possibly doctors in the future to expand our scope of practice.
"We are 100% volunteer run and managed, so we are also seeking anyone keen to assist us in fundraising - we have a huge task ahead so if there are any individuals, organisations or clubs out there who wish to assist please contact us. We would be very grateful."
Mr Whitfield said volunteer experiences were one of a kind.
"Probably the most rewarding aspect of this type of work is realising how much you have learned from the people you went to assist - often you receive just as much as you have given and you wind up personally attached to the people," he said.