By Joe Johnson
The MEDLIFE Movement at Appalachian State University will be traveling with a group of student volunteers to Moshi, Tanzania, a small town at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, from May 18th to May 26th to set up a Mobile Clinic that brings free, high-quality healthcare directly to communities who lack access to basic health services. The clinics are designed to find patients who are in need of long-term assistance and will be staffed by local practitioners offering basic medical treatment and preventative screens. The student volunteers will shadow the medical professionals and help operate the clinic in order to learn about local medical practices, global medicine, and the effect of poverty on health. In addition to the Mobile Clinic, the MEDLIFE student volunteers will be creating a community development project based off of the wants and needs of the community in Moshi to make sure their community is safe for everyone.
Nick Ellis founded the MEDLIFE Movement in 2005 after his experiences working in clinics located in Chimborazo, Ecuador. While working in one of these clinics, Nick met a young boy named Darwin who was in dire need of heart surgery; unfortunately, this clinic was only in town for a day and could do nothing beyond giving a diagnosis of Darwin’s condition. Nick became troubled with Darwin’s medical situation and began to ask himself: “What is the point of running medical missions if they are powerless to help the people who truly need them?”
After witnessing the inefficiency of clinics in Chimborazo regarding long-term medical care, Nick returned to his home in Bangor, Maine ready to make a positive difference in Darwin’s life. Nick stood in a Wal-Mart parking lot asking for donations toward a heart surgery for Darwin; within hours, he raised enough funds to provide a heart surgery for the young boy. That day, Darwin became the first official patient of the MEDLIFE Movement.
MEDLIFE has expanded their movement since Darwin’s heart surgery; the MEDLIFE Movement is now an international nonprofit organization with nonprofit tax exemptions helping to alleviate the root causes of poverty by implementing sustainable and valuable solutions. MEDLIFE regularly provides services to improve the quality of life for low-income communities in locations such as Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Tanzania.
MEDLIFE focuses their efforts on medical care through the implementation of MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, Preventative Health Education Workshops, and Patient Follow-Up Care. Once MEDLIFE has set up a Mobile Clinic within the community, MEDLIFE volunteers and physicians begin holding Preventative Health Education Workshops for community members and patients. These educational workshops include educational videos, brochures, and presentations by medical professionals with information on diseases such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes, and cardiac disease to help patients understand how to prevent and treat such conditions. Finally, MEDLIFE implements a unique, year-round follow-up process for patients who require more assistance than the Mobile Clinic can provide; providing financial resources for treatments, emotional support, nutritional assistance for malnourished families, and educational resources to help individuals understand their conditions.
Hanna Suarez, Founder and President of the MEDLIFE Movement Chapter at Appalachian State University, was fortunate enough to go to Africa last summer with another organization and she wants to share her experience with others to empower all to be global citizens. “Africa made me realize what it truly means to be a global citizen,” said Suarez, “I want to show others how powerful our impacts can be. We are all one and together we can make a positive change in our world.”
The MEDLIFE Movement is a club open to all majors and they are asking for any help they can receive. Anyone who would like to join the MEDLIFE Movement Chapter at Appalachian State University and attend the trip to Tanzania in May is welcome to sign up for the trip at https://www.medlifemovement.org/upcoming-service-learning-trips/all-service-learning-trips/strongmay-18-26-kilimanjaro-tanzania/strong-virginia-tech.html
MEDLIFE Movement at Appalachian State University will be holding a dodgeball tournament for App State students on Saturday, April 6th from 2p.m. to 4p.m. The entry fee is $5 per person and each team is allowed 5 participants. You must have your AppCard to register for the dodgeball tournament.
The MEDLIFE Movement Chapter at Appalachian State University would also like to thank local restaurants Comeback Shack and Chipotle for participating in percentage day fundraisers with the organization.
For more information about the MEDLIFE Movement Chapter at Appalachian State University contact the chapter’s president, Hanna Suarez, at [email protected]