Last week, president Daniel Khashchuk and vice president Brian Coffey of the Christian Medical Dental Association (CMDA) visited three institutions around St. Vincent, each concerned with the care and welfare of the island nation's most vulnerable citizens, delivering material donated by a jointed effort between the CMDA and the Canadian Medical Student Association (CaMSA).
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross Society was first stop. Ms. Julia Simmons, speaking on behalf of the SVG Red Cross, lauded the effort of the Trinity student organizations. “This is great and these students are true humanitarians. These donations [ed. linen, toiletries, food, water, medical supplies] are tools of survival that are often on the wrong end of necessary compromise for the people we serve.” She said that items like water are given to preschools and daycare centers, as her organization strives fulfill its mandate of serving the most vulnerable first.
Next up, the team visited the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center (MHRC) and the Luis Punnett Home for the elderly. The group from Trinity was warmly welcomed by Sister Elizabek Medford at the MHRC in Glen. The group, an only option for more more complicated behavioral cases in the entire island chain of the Grenadines, cares for upwards of 150 of these patients a day. Sr. Medford explained that they were the more aggressive patients and often as a result removed and destroyed their clothes. At the same time, clothing is part of their dignity and the organization respects that, always eager for donations, specifically for the men in the facility.
Trinity School of Medicine physical operations director Amoy Munroe expounded on efforts of the day, “Trinity is very community oriented. That is embedded in our admissions process and our mission statement: that we want to train physicians who would go out into the communities and help. It’s very heart-warming that we could be of assistance, these are initiatives that we welcome and encourage.”
The final stop was to the Luis Punnett Home where Sister Marie Davis, was elated to receive items like blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeter, and thermometers as well as day-to-day materials like linens and toiletries. She said, “These supplies, especially the linens, are very vital for making the residents comfortable. Dry bedding is such a small but critical element of patient comfort and hygiene. Also, when they see persons like the students come in, it makes them feel that others care.” She also praised Trinity students for coming by to interact with the residents, emphasizing that as future physicians, she appreciated their desire to not only help others, but develop their bedside manner through this sort of humanitarian outreach.
CMDA vice president Brian Coffey agreed, “I think it’s fundamental to a physician to do things like this. Because we are involved in a lifelong career, if not a calling; not of self-service but service to others. By our very nature, we’re devoting the rest of our lives towards helping people, whether it be to overcome illness or overcome poverty and circumstances.”
Both CaMSA and CMDA plan to continue the relationship with these organizations, and expand opportunities to help in the future.