Dr Peter Locke and his wife Carolyn (midwife) took a large group of volunteers to Africa earlier in 2017 to support communities and change lives with their medical and midwifery skills. Now they’ve created Globalinks Medical Foundation to continue the great work the group does. Here’s their story on how it all started:
We have been involved in volunteer projects for many years. On our last trip we were moved by several things we experienced (both the high prevalence of illness and disease but also how hard the local health staff work, especially the difficulties they encounter on a daily basis due to lack of supplies and equipment). We personally sent supplies and equipment to health posts that were desperately lacking even the most basic of things.
Not all aid organisations are equal and we have felt at times that we were not properly equipped by the organisation to work effectively and efficiently. Our organisation is run by those who actually work in the field and we currently run on admin costs of 0% allowing all donations and contributions to reach the people who need it most. It was a combination of these things in addition to our children growing up that led us to start our own charity.
They went to Zambia on their first trip as a group, which combined a lot of skills and a remarkable effort to see around 1500 patients in one week!
Our team consisted of one doctor (Peter), two Physicians Assistants, one Dentist, two Registered Midwives, one Dental Hygienist, one medical student, six dental students (who also translated for us) and three Non-Medical volunteers.
This year, they’re returning to Zambia on two trips and also making the journey to Thailand. All three journeys quickly filled up volunteers ready to make a difference.
This time we’re going in groups of roughly 20 volunteers on each journey. The teams are a mix of Doctors, RMs, RNs, Med Students, Dentists, Dental Students, Nursing Students and Support Personnel to assist with the running of clinics.
We have a long list of things we would like to achieve and many of them are non-medical. Apart form providing medical, midwifery and dental care we will also be administering Vitamin A and deworming medication to all children aged 1 through to 5, distributing reading glasses, fixing insect screens to buildings to prevent mosquito bites, installing solar lighting, donating educational and sporting equipment to primary schools and donating medical and maternity supplies to health posts and hospitals. We also have a strong emphasis on providing medical and maternity education to local health workers.
Nursing and midwifery students are most welcome on future trips and have been a large part of previous journeys.
We take students (medical, nursing and midwifery) who rotate through the clinic under supervision. It is an amazing clinical experience for the students and one they long remember. We are very passionate about passing on knowledge and expertise to the next generation.
Increased funding and donations are the only things stopping Peter and Carolyn from expanding Globalinks. If they can secure the funding for supplies and equipment, they have plans to take on more volunteers and visit more areas, more frequently. It would seem only the sky is the limit.
This will require a lot of work from Carolyn and myself applying to both private and government bodies. The more funding we have the more people and communities we can reach and help. Regardless of the size of Globalinks, it is very important to us that we always operate with transparency and integrity, with approval from the host country, Ministry of Health and that we always leave a positive impact on those who we treat.
Peter and Carolyn launched Globalinks Medical Foundation officially in October 2017 as a not-for-profit charity organisation providing free healthcare to those in areas where access to health care services is limited.
Donations made to the Foundation allow them to purchase equipment and supplies and every dollar goes a long way.
Due to an overwhelming response for 2018, they’re already fully booked! For details of how nurses and midwives can get involved in 2019 or if you’d like to donate, check out their website. http://www.globalinksmedicalfoundation.org.au/