Guatemalan communities receive gift of good health
Thanks to medical donations from SAIT’s School of Health and Public Safety, residents in several Guatemalan communities had extra reason to be thankful in the new year.
Marja Van Dyke, marketing specialist for the school, said the department sold a training ambulance to the Be One to Help Foundation of Alberta (BOTH) at a minimal cost, and donated two ultrasound machines and various medical items like stretchers, wheelchairs and crutches.
The project started when Lisa Allen, SAIT pre-hospital care academic chair, learned that her friend Wayne Skogman was traveling to Guatemala to deliver much-needed supplies.
Allen made arrangements with SAIT’s EMT and paramedic programs to sell the ambulance to BOTH, which Skogman founded.
“It feels good to contribute,” said Allen. “Through continued initiatives such as this, the School of Health and Public Safety’s EMT and Paramedic programs are committed to educate and help locally, nationally and internationally.”
Other Health and Public Safety programs got involved, resulting in the addition of the other equipment and supplies.
Skogman drove the fully loaded ambulance to Panajachel, Guatemala. He worked with Mayan Families, a non-governmental agency, to personally deliver the items on Jan. 8.
The ambulance and medical supplies were donated to the volunteer firefighter and ambulance team. One of the ultrasound machines went to a public clinic in Panajachel, and the other went to a small clinic in Santa Cruz.
In September, SAIT’s dental clinic also played their part in helping countries in need.
When the clinic replaced its outdated dental chairs and lights, the dental program made the decision to donate 15 used dental chairs and three overhead lights to the Emmanuel Foundation.
The Emmanuel Foundation is a non-profit charity that has recently taken over the operations of the Alberta Distribution Relief Agency – Aid Society International (ADRA-ASI), an organization that has shipped humanitarian goods to destinations around the globe since 1996.
Lyle Johnson, Emmanuel Foundation’s executive director, said the organization is preparing to send the items to Africa, Central America and the South Pacific to support the ongoing need for medical equipment.
“Dental clinics are (currently) being built in the Philippines and Guatemala,” said Johnson. “The dental chairs are perfect for this, and we hope to send these two containers by the end of this year.”
“SAIT’s dental assisting staff and students feel good about the donation,” said Van Dyke. “They’re happy that the equipment will help support much needed dental care in developing countries.”