Worldwide Healing Hands

WHH believes that all women and babies should have access to healthcare. We are committed to providing that care both locally and internationally. We partner with medical organizations around the world to provide compassionate medical and surgical care in a way that is respectful to the cultural beliefs of the women. We bring together teams of physicians, nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare workers to bring relief to women and children suffering from the lack of health care that most of us take for granted. We accomplish our mission by partnering with local medical providers and organizations who demonstrate a long-term interest in the health of the local community. Although w...
May 26, 2015

Mission in Haiti completed

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES OF THIS MISSION:

WHH is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare for women and children in the most underserved areas of the world. WHH teams have traveled to Nepal, Chad and Haiti to deliver health services. WHH volunteer medical teams have also provided free health screenings to homeless in Lake County, CA.

This is WHH’s third mission to Haiti. The dates scheduled for this trip: January 3-13, 2015, not including travel.

This mission was specifically targeted to provide cervical cancer screening, prevention and treatment, with  additional intent to train Haitian physicians and medical staff.

THE TEAM MEMBERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

This WHH team was made of 6 volunteers:  

  • Paula Dhanda, MD, team leader, obstetrician and gynecologist
  • H. Vernetta Johnson, MD, anesthesiologist
  • Scott Welker, MD,  general surgeon
  • Christine Hansom, RN and diabetic trainer
  • Carol Stahr, LVN and nurse trainer for the cervical cancer prevention
  • Jacklin Sime, Haitian medical student, translator

MAIN GOALS:

  1. Train Haitian physicians in cervical cancer screening and prevention
  2. Provide surgical, anesthesia, emergency and gynecologic services
  3. Assess the laparoscopic program for needs and future mentoring
  4. Teach local medical staff including nurses and surgical techs

MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE MISSION:

The WHH team took 10 boxes (approximately 500 pounds) of medical and surgical supplies including medicine, sutures and surgical instruments with them.  Thanks to the generosity of the following donors for medical and surgical supplies:

  • Direct Relief
  • MedShare
  • St. Helena Clearlake Hospital, Clearlake, CA
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Lakeport, CA

TRAVEL INFORMATION:

Most of the medical team members left on January 1, 2015, and congregated in San Francisco for a flight to Miami.  There, we were met by the Project Medishare volunteer coordinator and boarded a flight to Port-au-Prince.  The WHH team returned to Lake County via flights from Port-au-Prince to Miami, then to San Francisco where most team members completed the trip using their own ground transportation.

WHH ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  • Trained 2 Haitian OB/GYNs (Dr. Joseph Auguste and Dr. Valery Caleb Suprien) in cervical cancer screening, colposcopy and LEEP conization of the cervix.
  • Screened 40 women for cervical cancer using the “see and treat” method
  • Performed 2 LEEP conization of the cervix for pre-malignant lesions and identified 1 advanced cervical cancer patient who was referred for radiation
  • Provided emergency surgical, obstetrical and anesthesia services
  • Evaluated pregnant patients and breast cancer patients
  • Assisted the local anesthesia staff in multiple operations
  • Trained 2 oncology nurses and equipped them with basic supplies

MISSION SPECIAL THANKS TO:

  • All WHH team member volunteers who generously donated their time and paid for their own travel.
  • Project Medishare medical staff including Dr. Vincent DeGennaro Jr and Dr. Daniel Okamoto for their leadership in coordinating the training program for the cervical cancer screening.
  • Our local volunteers who work all year long in gathering and sorting our in-kind donations in preparation for our mission.  Special thanks to Perla Lovejoy, RN, who is our materials manager, and to Julie Crane, RN, who assists her.
  • Varsha Bhongade of Craig’s Design, Inc for her generous donation of T-shirts for the entire team.
  • WHH board members: Shannon Gunier, Lou Lesko, Nell Shaul, Anthy O’Brien and Margaret Walker for the countless hours they contribute by fundraising, organizing and planning this mission.

Links:

Apr 24, 2015

Canceling mission to Sierra Leone

WHH, providing assistance to underserved women worldwide, must cancel its planned trip to Sierra Leone. The organization had postponed the trip due to the danger posed by the Ebola outbreak. Dr. Paula Dhanda was waiting until it was safe to take her staff and volunteers to the area. A trip to Sierra Leone may be considered again in the future once the Ebola crisis is over.

Acknowledging the difficult decision to cancel the trip because the need for saving women's lives in Sierra Leone is so great, Dr. Dhanda and Worldwide Healing Hands will now concentrate efforts on a planned mission to Uganda.

 

 

Links:

Nov 6, 2014

Ebola Crisis postpones trip

Update: Sierra Leone Trip Postponed

WHH, providing assistance to underserved women worldwide, is postponing its planned trip to Sierra Leone. The organization was preparing an autumn excursion to the area, one of the most dangerous places on earth to give birth because infant and maternal deaths are among the highest in the world.

The project must be delayed due to the danger posed by the Ebola outbreak. Dr. Paula Dhanda acknowledges this has been a difficult decision because the need in Sierra Leone is critical. However, she must wait until it is safe to take her staff and volunteers into the area. Once the Ebola crisis is over, even more help will be needed. 

When the project resumes, WHH will partner with West Africa Fistula Foundation, SUNY Upstate Medical University (New York), and University of Sierra Leone, to create a sustainable healthcare program by educating and training local people. WHH and its partners will start a 1-year internship for physicians and midwives in Bo, Sierra Leone, to grow a residency program. The ultimate goal is to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Sierra Leone.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Between 2006 and 2013, Sierra Leone women receiving prenatal care once during pregnancy was 81%; for the recommended minimum four prenatal visits, the number dropped to 56%. A shocking 1 out of 8 women die during childbirth. Survivors suffer unimaginably, with nerve damage preventing walking, kidney disease leading to death if untreated, or obstetric fistulas leaving them incontinent, trickling urine or feces through the vagina – a situation that leaves the women shunned, ostracized, and discarded by community and family. The affected women are left to fend for themselves or die.

How will this project solve this problem?

Improved skilled obstetrical care is the key to reduce maternal mortality; training is vital. WHH, and our partners, will train physicians and midwives using a team approach, focusing on skills needed to decrease maternal mortality and morbid conditions like obstetric fistula.

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