UPEI Global Brigades Medical Chapter volunteers in underserved communities in Ghana

| International
Members of the UPEI Global Brigades Medical Chapter pose for a group photo in Ghana
Members of the UPEI Global Brigades Medical Chapter pose for a group photo in Ghana

The UPEI Global Brigades Medical Chapter recently returned from a successful trip to Ghana where they volunteered their service to public health projects and mobile medical clinics in underserved communities from May 25 to June 4, 2024. 

Twenty-eight UPEI students took part in the Global Medical Brigades this year. Faculty advisor Inge Dorsey supported the students throughout the planning and organizing phase, and clinical nursing instructor Kerie Murphy accompanied them to Ghana. The students shared their volunteering experiences abroad during a public presentation held June 17 in the UPEI Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering building.

After returning from Ghana, third-year kinesiology student Brooke Smith said, “This experience was completely new to me. Growing up in a small province, I had never had the opportunity to truly immerse myself in a culture that wasn’t my own. Until I had this experience, I was never truly able to comprehend the healthcare disparities that would take place in different communities around the world. It was extremely eye-opening.”  

Moments in GhanaMuch effort went into preparing for this trip abroad over the past year. Bi-weekly meetings held during the school year included preparation for fundraisers, education about the program, vital signs training, and packing donation items, as well as visa and vaccination preparation. The students raised over $39,000 in donations and sponsorships, and collected a wide variety of donated items, many which were used to create personal and oral hygiene packets. The donated glasses and sunglasses brought from PEI were used for patients by an optometrist in Ghana. 

Over four clinic days in the communities of Asaafa and Immuna, the UPEI Global Brigade volunteers helped local physicians, dentists, optometrists, and pharmacists provide accessible health-care services to 1,000 people. Community members were also given the opportunity to register for Ghana’s national health insurance during the clinic days, providing them access to health- care for many years to come. Volunteers had the opportunity to participate in an additional public health project over three days, during which two biodigesters (biological waste treatment and management systems) were successfully constructed for two families in the community of Suprudo, with the help of local artisans.

Carter Wynne, a chemistry student who graduated in May, was the UPEI Medical Brigades chapter president this past year. He said that he was grateful for this experience.

Moments in Ghana

"UPEI Medical Brigades has brought together the most phenomenal people in the UPEI community together to work towards a common goal: empowering communities to reach their own health, sanitation, and economic goals. Since the club was founded by Reilly Sullivan in 2021, dozens and dozens of students have made an impact on Global Brigades’ partner communities, while becoming better leaders and global citizens. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I never found Global Brigades, and I am forever thankful for it."

Sidney Fall, a third-year nursing student, said, “My experience with Global Brigades in Ghana was profoundly enriching, filled with moments of inspiration and deep introspection. Participating in this initiative was invaluable for my growth as an individual as well as a global citizen.” 

Her words were echoed by the Global Medical Brigade volunteers. The trip to Ghana was an emotional and impactful experience, one the student volunteers said they will never forget. They are grateful for all those who made this experience possible, including the Global Brigades coordinators, staff, and healthcare professionals in Ghana, as well as their sponsors, families, friends, and the UPEI community who supported the endeavour along the way. In turn, these supporters are proud of the work performed by this hardworking UPEI Global Medical Brigades group.

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