Local service clubs are providing critical funding to a group of concerned medical professionals who make special trips down to South America to administer orthopedic care.
At its regular breakfast meeting yesterday morning, the Rotary Club of St. Albert provided a cheque for $2,000 to representatives from the Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA). The nine-year-old collective of doctors and nurses and other health care practitioners have been passionately involved in providing free medical attention and equipment plus public education to the impoverished people of Ecuador. Their philosophy is that bringing one person back to health can save an entire family.
This recent contribution is just another demonstration of public support in a long series from that Rotary club along with its local sister Saint City Rotary, groups in Edmonton and Lions clubs too. As a non-profit organization, CAMTA relies on this funding in order to do its work, none of which goes to travel expenses.
Dr. John Lilley is one member. He and his wife, head pediatric nurse Eileen Guilfoyle, have been to Ecuador to see the problems first-hand at the Tierra Nueva Hospital in the capital city of Quito. The situation involves thousands of Ecuadorians living and working hard in poor environmental conditions. They literally work their bodies to the bone and their joints suffer greatly. Without CAMTA, many of these people wouldn’t be able to return to work at all.
During its most recent trip, the team performed 46 hip arthroplasties on adults and 32 procedures on children including hip, tendon and clubfoot surgeries. Lilley said that success is a matter of perspective because the work will never end.
“We have a responsibility in our situation of wealth to give back to those who don’t [have the means],” he stated, adding that each annual trip is always eventful. “The needs never change. There are all these poor people who can’t access health care.”
According to his figures, last year’s budget was $377,000.
“That’s where the service clubs are really helpful. They understand the need and they’re very generous. In a sense, they’re the gasoline that fuels the engine.”
For more information on the group and its work, please visit www.camta.blogspot.com.