Project HOPE medical volunteers teach health care professionals and assist underserved patients across the South Pacific

Millwood, Virginia, April 28, 2011

Project HOPE medical volunteers have arrived in Vanuatu, the second stop on a three-month humanitarian mission with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific, after caring for thousands of patients in Tonga.

Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian aid organization, is focusing on primary care medicine and health education on this annual mission, known as Pacific Partnership 2011, which began in Vava’u, Tonga.

"Our experience in Tonga was outstanding,” said Dr. Alan Jamison, HOPE’s Medical Director on the mission and a retired pediatrician from Tennessee.   Over 2,300 patients received care on the island nation and more than 300 medical professionals and local residents received health education.    

In the rural Tua village in Tonga, Dr. Jamison worked as a pediatric consultant, but spent most of his time treating skin infections. “I saw skin problems related to bug bites and other skin infections. One of the main problems is fungal infection,” he said.  

HOPE nurses taught lifesaving CPR and First Aid classes to 200 high school students and shared medical skills with nurses at Prince Ngu Hospital.  

"We had a fun, productive experience and a very good exchange of information with the local nurses.  I was very impressed to see how much they could do with fewer supplies and staff than we have in the United States," said Bridget Binko, a registered nurse from California. 

HOPE volunteers who specialize in internal medicine, pediatrics and women’s and children’s health will continue the mission aboard the Navy ship, the USS Cleveland, as they make further stops in Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor Leste.  

 “Project HOPE’s skilled volunteers are once again having a positive impact on many local communities on distant shores. The medical skills and health education they are providing will pave the way for healthier lifestyles and potentially save lives in the future,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE.

Project HOPE and the U.S. Navy have conducted more than 20 humanitarian aid missions worldwide since 2005, caring for more than 550,000 patients, performing nearly 9,000 surgeries and training over 190,000 health care workers and individuals.

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 35 countries across five continents. 

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Geraldine Carroll (540) 257-3746

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