Paramedics going wild to help give vital medical care
TWO local paramedics are using their skills to help make a difference to those who can't get medical attention so desperately needed.
Steve Whitfield and Mick Stuth, both based in Agnes Water, are getting prepared to organise the next few rounds of their 15-day trips to Nepal as part of an expedition called The Wild Medic Project.
The project first came to fruition last year and the duo have since brought together teams of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health professionals to travel to Nepal and assist with medical aid in rural communities.
"I guess we felt a moral obligation to assist - that if we had the skills that could help, we should," Mr Whitfield said.
"The villages we identified had very little assistance six months' post-earthquake and no access to medical care.
"We set this up as a small operation to target a few of the forgotten villages."
Each expedition is over 15 days and adopts a multi-faceted approach to maximise assistance to the communities.
"The volunteers work solidly for a week in the medical camps and then get to basically trek home over four days through the Kathmandu Valley," Mr Whitfield said.
"This trek phase actually supports the locals - each time a team trek home it provides income for up to 15 families (guides, porters, cooks, accommodation provider and drivers)."
Mr Whitfield said the organisation had garnered more and more support from health professionals from across the nation and the world.
"We sent seven teams of medics into Nepal throughout 2016 where our teams were responsible for treating over 3000 people who previously had no access to basic health care," he said.
"Seven teams are scheduled to take part in The Wild Medic Project next year from February to December."
Mr Whitfield said the project had been an emotional rollercoaster for himself and Mr Stuth.
"We have both seen a real change in what we now do - we are much less focused on our own money and more focused on how we can make a more positive impact," he said.
"We have become better paramedics and better people through these experiences."
The Wild Medic Project has multiple vacancies in 2017.
The teams are also calling for donations to build a community shelter in two Nepal villages.
To find out more or to donate, go to www.thewildmedicproject.com.
My Nepal experience- Steve Whitfield
Shocked having a kid cut the plug off my phone charger to jam the exposed wires into a socket to demonstrate how to charge my phone! It did work but was frightening to realise.
Shocked People living in make shift homes 18 months after the earthquake
Shocked The car journey from Kathmandu airport to the hotel is something everyone must experience.
Saddened realising how consumerist we have become when I get home to Australia and changing my habits.
Saddened kids without shoes or gloves in winter in the mountain villages.
Saddened our clinic is a tin shed with dirt floor.
Excited our clinic is a tin shed and dirt floor but the village now have a clinic!
Excited seeing how many volunteer medics have thrown their hands up to not only volunteer but also pay their own way over to Nepal to help
Excited talking to people when the return and listening to how much they learned from the villagers.
Excited whenever we give school kids a soccer ball and challenge them to a game
Excited seeing how much the kids at the local school have progressed in the first aid training we have been providing them with.