(BELLEVUE, WASH. - Feb. 21, 2008) A couple from Bellevue, Wash., will spend their vacation this spring in northwest Cameroon training others to save lives.
Dr. Jim and Virginia Huehnergarth, general pathologist and ICU/endoscopy nurse, respectively, will volunteer for three weeks at Mbingo Baptist Hospital, a 270-bed rural training hospital sponsored by the Cameroon Baptist Conference. They are volunteering with Medical Teams International, a relief and development agency based in the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Huehnergarth, who works at Eastside Pathology, will teach diagnostic pathology to resident surgeons enrolled in the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) program. The hospital does not currently have a pathologist on staff, so the surgeons will need diagnostic skills in order to make accurate and even lifesaving decisions during surgery.
Huehnergarth, a nurse at Overlake Hospital with extensive critical care and endoscopy experience, will help set up an ICU and neonatal intensive care unit. She will also carry a donated endoscope, colonscope and bronchoscope, courtesy of Olympus Diagnostic, to Cameroon, to train hospital staff to use the machines. This equipment will help staff diagnose a patient’s condition using minimally invasive means.
“We look forward to helping improve medical care for the patients at Mbingo Baptist Hospital and appreciate the invitation to serve,” says Dr. Huehnergarth.
“The team will provide an enduring contribution to improving health care in Africa by transferring their knowledge and skills to African surgical residents and nurses,” says Debbie Doty, Africa program manager at Medical Teams International.
Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. In its 28-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,650 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries. The group has been actively sending volunteer medical teams to Cameroon since 2004.