Weʼre raising £3,800 to provide physiotherapy to refugees in Greece and teach rehabilitation in Africa.
- Leeds, UK
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In September 2018 I left my job with Leeds Teaching Hospitals and will spend 8 months volunteering as a physiotherapist overseas. I will spend this time working completely voluntarily for three causes I believe in. I hope that you will be able to see how amazing they are by reading my story and how far your money could go in making a difference.
In 2015, at the peak of the crisis, Europe saw the largest influx of migrants and refugees since the Second World War.
I will begin my time away in Greece and spend 3 months working with refugees, something I have wanted to do for the last few years. Over 1.8 million refugees have arrived in Europe since 2014, mostly from war-torn Syria (UNHCR) and despite the lack of media coverage a huge number of refugees are still arriving regularly to mainland Europe. Whilst in Greece I am based in Thessaloniki, a port city on the gulf of the Aegean. I am working alongside other medical volunteers and split my time between working in a refugee camp and a street clinic, out of the back of an ambulance. At the refugee camp I am able to offer rehabilitation to residents with paraplegia and other neurological conditions as well as attending to the rest of the camp population. In the street clinic, my work is predominantly treating homeless refugees who commonly have musculoskeletal injuries having usually walked for days and often sustaining police beatings during their journey. In my first week I treated a 17 year old boy who was kidnapped by smugglers in Bulgaria and badly beaten. Although my work will predominantly be offering physiotherapy, I commonly assist with minor injuries and wound dressings which are regularly needed in our refugee population. As a long term volunteer I am now also responsible for the coordination of our Thessaloniki project to ensure we can keep offering this amazing work.
Uganda has an estimated 256 physiotherapists compared to 54 000 in the UK.
In the New Year I will make my way to Africa to begin work in Uganda. In 2011 the country had 1 doctor and 13 nurses for every 10 000 people and only 86 paediatricians to serve 15 million children (1.4 million born every year). There is widespread urban imbalance with the capital housing 30% of the population playing host to 70% of the doctors. Poverty is still a huge barrier to healthcare with many seeking help from traditional healers. Communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in Uganda with women and children being most affected, it is estimated 1 million adults have HIV Aids which fuels the TB epidemic. 50% of HIV positive people have TB and 30% will eventually die as a result. The average life expectancy in 2018 is 60 (WHO). Whilst in Uganda I will predominantly work in a government hospital to provide and teach basic physiotherapy skills in order for them to continue the work after I leave. I will be based by a school so will also be able to work closely with a them to promote health education and offer outreach physiotherapy services to any of the parents and children in need.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and poor sanitation and infrastructure is the likely cause of the recent plague outbreak in 2017 killing 202 people.
My final project will be based on the island of Madagascar. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, being ranked 8th in 2018 with an average GDP per capita of $479. Rural areas have the least access to basic health care, clean water and sanitation and as a result diarrhoeal diseases are still the leading cause of death. Since working in Leeds I have been collaborating with Opt In, a charity to share knowledge and deliver training to partner hospitals in low income countries, resulting in sustained improvements to healthcare. I will be working primarily with links established by the rehabilitation team to improve communication between different professions and engage in 1:1 teaching with the therapists to develop their clinical skills. I hope that any work completed in Madagascar can be carried forward by the Malagasy therapists and through links with Leeds Hospitals I can continue to support this going forward into the future. Their current healthcare system although improving, following periods of political unrest has a weak infra-structure and benefits from links such as those with Leeds to help them develop further.
The important bit...
In order to fund the work I will be doing I will need to rely on peoples donations. All of the work will be voluntary and the costs are just enough to cover basic costs of living. Without any middle man I will be able to take my existing skills and offer them directly where they're needed as well as teaching valuable skills to ensure sustainability once I leave. Below are some examples of just how far your money could go:
Stay up to date
To keep up-to-date with all of my work I hope to provide monthly updates and regular posts to social media as my way of thanks. By doing this I hope you will see what your money is actually contributing to, as I do it!
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Diana Whiteside started crowdfunding
Leave a message of support
Oct 1, 2018
Enjoy yourself bringing relief to others
Katie & Grant
Oct 1, 2018
So incredibly proud of you Diana!!! You will be doing such amazing work and have been completely dedicated to helping others from the very beginning! Love Katie & Grant xx
Sep 29, 2018
Read your blog. Sounds both challenging and rewarding. Hope your finding time to eat well enough.
Sep 28, 2018
So proud of you Di! Stay safe xxx
Sep 27, 2018
Keep up the wonderful work, so proud of you. Love, Bex xxx
Sep 25, 2018
Be safe please! xxx
Heather & Stu
Sep 23, 2018
Hope it's going well so far Di! So impressed and looking forward to keeping up with your progress xxx
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