Our inaugural VOOM Foundation Medical Mission took place in May 2011. Although, this mission was educational only, VOOM sent a team of eight volunteers to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. The mission opened a networking relationship between VOOM Foundation and Nigerian medical practitioners and formed the foundation for the subsequent clinical missions.
Since then, each VOOM medical mission typically includes a group of up to 15 medical volunteers from across the nation – recently expanding to include teams with members from United Kingdom and Pakistan. Each trip is approximately two weeks long and includes evaluation of patients and confirmation of diagnoses.
Each mission involves cardiac surgeons, a cardiologist, an intensivist, an anesthesiologist, perfusion team, a respiratory therapist, ICU nurses and a biomedical engineer. Each medical volunteer joins the mission with the intention to provide medical expertise and knowledge, teaching best practices to the local medical staff.
In August 2015, the local team performed the first unassisted open-heart surgery since the clinical missions began in 2013. Although this is a huge accomplishment, VOOM continues to pursue the mission of educating Nigerian medical practitioners to allow them to advance standard of care.
During a mission, our medical volunteers expand VOOM reach by performing more than just heart surgery. In order to impact change and be in line with our mission to reach indigent patients in need, VOOM volunteers engage in the following activities during their two week stay:
As of April 2017, 165 open heart surgeries have been performed by VOOM volunteer medical teams.
MEDICAL SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT
Tens of thousands of dollars of medical supplies and equipment is shipped to Nigeria from VOOM Foundation yearly. VOOM equipped two operating theatres and four ICU beds with ventilators and drips allowing UNTH to conduct heart surgery throughout duration of the year.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Over 300 prospective and current Nigerian medical practitioners attended training conducted by the VOOM Foundation volunteers, so the good works can continue long after the mission.
VOOM training provides:
- Managing all levels of critically ill patients
- Retooling Intensive Care Units
- Emergency training
- Emergency Room management
- Biomedical technology
To expand our reach and serve the indigenous people of Nigeria during each mission, VOOM Foundation medical staff travels to the rural areas to conduct health fairs. Both adult and pediatric patients come to see the staff for well-checks. Those needing additional diagnostics are referred to University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital for further examination.
Screening for diabetes and hypertension are conducted free of charge. Eye examinations are conducted and over 500 pairs of eye are handed out. VOOM Foundation brings and dispenses much needed medicines such as antibiotics, pain relievers, cold remedies, blood-pressure medicines, medicines for diabetes, malaria and parasites. Over 500 toothbrushes are given to adults and children.
Fun activities for children are always a huge hit at the health fair.
VOOM Foundation medical volunteers visit indigent patients in the hospital wards that cannot afford to pay their hospital bill. In Nigeria, patients who are unable to pay are required to stay in a ward at the hospital until such debts are settled.
VOOM volunteers visit patients and evaluate their medical conditions to see if discharge is a feasible option for a positive outcome. If so, medical staff and VOOM Foundation pay off the patient’s balance so the patient can be released to their homes and heal in the care of their families.
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