A Better World volunteers rack up 59,000 hours of service
Dr. Charlotte Goodine, a pediatrician from Medicine Hat, is shown here training nurses on delivery methods during a trip to Kenya in 2017.
A Better World Canada, which is based in Lacombe, has released its first ever detailed health report.It concludes that in the organization’s 29-year history, health care volunteers have recorded 59,450 hours of work.Eric Rajah, co-founder, says the whopping numbers are amazing to see on paper.“People are giving up their holidays and doctors when they leave home, they also lose their income,” says Rajah. “Everyone pays for their own trip too, so they are being doubly hit in their pocketbook. All of these things are appreciated and valued by A Better World.”
The report also details expenses, the number of clinics, and patient figures, noting a positive impact had in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bolivia and Peru.From 2014-2018, the report states, more than 16,300 people received health care — 1,193 for dental care, 833 for physiotherapy, and over 14,000 for acute care.A total of $4.35 million has been invested into improved health services in communities over that span. $3.2 million of that was spent on 12 infrastructure projects, including clinics, surgical rooms and even a mortuary.“We have increased our spending in all of our medical services by 30 per cent in the last five years,” Rajah says. “We had done a lot of investment in education and one of our key pillars is health.”Going forward, Rajah says it’s important they continue to attract volunteers.“The key to further success is having more qualified volunteers,” he adds. “Those being sought include midwives, nurses and lab technologists. It’s a call to action — join one of our medical trips and experience the joy in serving others and easing the pain of others.”