While working in Vanuatu, volunteer Nurse Bridget Binko traveled by helicopter to reach a remote medical site where people walked up to ten miles for chance to be examined by the Pacific Partnership 2011 medical team.
"It was a great day,” Binko says. “We setup a clinic in a small village with help from the local doctor."
Several huts underneath the trees helped form the main staging area of the medical site. A great view of the ocean helped keep members of the team cool, during the heat of the afternoon.
Binko registered patients and collected health survey data about the local people including their health care history from childhood vaccinations to malaria.
A nurse from Santa Cruz, California, Binko is on her first international volunteer mission. She says she is finding both differences and similarities in the health histories of her patients here in Vanuatu and the families she has treated while volunteering in clinics in Santa Cruz.
“Here in the remote areas of Vanuatu, I have found many family health histories of Malaria,” she says. “Yet there were also similarities to family illnesses seen back in the United States, such as ear infections and colds.”
In addition to treating patients and providing valuable health education, Binko, who has also worked in pharmaceutical drug development, is also excited about the learning opportunities the mission offers her personally, such as discovering new treatments for rare diseases not seen in the United States and being exposed to new ways of operating community health clinics.
An avid sailor who races sail boats with her husband, Binko is also enjoying the experience of providing medical care via ship. Whether sailing around Santa Cruz and volunteering in local health clinics, or sailing to the far away islands nations of Tonga and Vanuatu, it is certain the compass of Nurse Binko’s heart will always point to compassion.
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