A group of Coast medical professionals has launched fundraising efforts to buy an ambulance for a rural community in Kenya.
Gibsons' Dr. Nicholas Sparrow launched the Coast-based efforts after coming across the New Jersey-based East African Ambulance Project, which is looking to buy a U.S. $53,000 ambulance for the Chesongoch Dispensary in western Kenya, which is run by Benedictine sisters.
"I've been over in Africa, working with the South African ambulance service, and I just thought, 'This is a fantastic project to get involved with,'" Sparrow said. "And I mentioned it to a couple of paramedics here, and they said 'Right: let's do something'."
According to Sparrow, no ambulance serves the remote community of approximately 10,000 people. A new ambulance, he said, would have a huge positive impact for the community. He recounted the tragic story of a boy in that community who got bitten by a lethal black mamba snake.
"I think it took three hours for this kid to get to the health dispensary where they have the antidote he had to walk," Sparrow said. "And by that time, the poison had got into his blood and the kid died."
As part of the project, cell phone stations will be set up around the community, so that the ambulance can be contacted and dispatched when necessary.
Two key Coast-based fundraisers have been planned both for Saturday, Aug. 7.
The first, Sparrow said, is a medical conference targeted at emergency responders though open to the general public and focusing on the management of shock.
"We're looking at sort of what happens if people's legs are chopped off and they're bleeding. We're looking at penetrating injuries and trauma, neck fractures and soft tissue injuries, bones and hypothermia, and pedestrian vehicle accidents and gunshots and stabbings," he said.
It will take place at Gibsons Life Assembly Church in Gibsons and costs $50 for the day, including lunch.
That same evening, a fundraising dance will be held at the Seniors Activity Centre in Sechelt, with dancing starting at 8 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the Song Butchers; tickets are $15.
More information about the East African Ambulance Project is available at www.eastafricaambulance.org/index.html.