Wednesday, January 12, 2005

SurfAid Medical Teams En Route to Form Mobile Medical Clinics in Nias

This is not technology news, but important news.

SurfAid is an organization which is offering their expertise in malaria control to support victims of the Tsunami in Indonesia. I recently received this update from the organization via email. I thought I would post it for everyone's benefit. If you would like to learn more about the organization, here is their website.

January 11, 2005
SurfAid Medical Teams En Route to Form Mobile Medical Clinics in Nias

Nias, West Sumatra After days of working around the clock to prepare for an emergency medical response for western and northern Nias, the second wave of the SurfAid medical team left today from Padang, West Sumatra, on the Indies Trader II carrying an additional US$500,000 worth of medical supplies and a staff of doctors and nurses specialized in a range of medical treatments, including communicable disease control. This response was made possible with seed funding from Quiksilver while overwhelming support followed from the Indies Trader company, Billabong, NZAID, AusAID and has more than quadrupled the scope and reach of the operation.
“We have designed a 30-day program with the aim to bring topnotch medical aid to isolated islands off West Sumatra which are close to the heart of surfers and tourists. This is the largest public health initiative ever undertaken in this region all because of contributions from the global surfing community, government aid, and individual contributions,” says Andrew Griffiths, SurfAid CEO.
The first team of SurfAid doctors arrived last week in Nias by boat on the Barrenjoey and have been assessing and treating people on the island since. For the last three days, they have been operating out of a hospital in the capital of Gunung Sitoli, where yesterday SurfAid’s orthopedic surgeon Sohrab Gollogly operated on a 15-year-old girl who had suffered a compound fracture to the leg after getting caught in the tsunami. He also treated two burn victims and a nine-month-old with intestinal worms. In addition, Dr. Gollogly trained local staff in the complicated surgical procedures and treatment and donated surgical supplies to the hospital.
The first port of call for the SurfAid team aboard the Indies Trader II is the Hinako Islands, where they will assess the islands for medical needs and administer emergency medical treatment. Here they will meet three other medical aid boats, including the Nusa Dewata and the Huey. The four large boats will then travel in convoy to set up mobile clinics around the western and northern coasts of Nias. The team, over 40 strong and well-equipped with supplies ranging from vaccines to mosquito nets, will visit the areas worst impacted by the tsunami.
SurfAid has planned for the majority of medical scenarios possible to treat in a mobile clinic. The clinics will contain three units: triage and treatment, immunizations and malaria control and education. However their major concern is communicable diseases. “If an epidemic breaks out, it could prove to be even more devastating than the tsunami itself which is why our focus has been to prevent this impending disaster,” says Griffiths.
After two weeks of little sleep and a lot of hard work, Griffiths reflects on the efforts so far, “I am humbled by the organizations and the individuals who have made this come together so quickly. It is far from over but it is times like these that I remember why we started SurfAid over four years ago. It is about people putting their own lives and careers on hold to respond to something much greater than their own perceived needs.”