Healthcare Mission Trip by Singapore Red Cross to Vavuniya, Sri Lanka

By Bavani Amavasi, SRC Nurses Network

It was a wish come true for me to be given the opportunity to go on a healthcare mission trip to Vavuniya, Sri Lanka along with a team of healthcare professionals from 11 June to 16 June 2017. The mission trip enabled us to leverage our expertise to give back to the community.

Our team’s objectives were to provide health and eye assessments, and conduct health talks on diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney diseases to vulnerable communities in Vavuniya.

Preparation work began three weeks prior to the mission. Our team worked together to tailor assessment forms and health talk materials to the community’s needs. It was exciting coming together to contribute our various expertise in the best interest of Vavuniya’s communities.

For me, excitement piled up when we reached Vavuniya as it was my first mission trip. It was a joy meeting up with our partners, teams from Mahakaruna Buddhist Society and Vavuniya General Hospital. We shared ideas on how to serve the communities.

The mission was a success - we provided health and eye assessments and conducted health talks to 561 patients over three days. We did our utmost to help those who reached out to us; both the young and old, the healthy and those unwell. It was a proud moment for the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) as we initiated our first eye assessments for the communities. We distributed 127 used spectacles to those in need. It meant so much to the patients to receive the the spectacles from us as the spectacles will help them in their daily lives. Their gratitude upon receiving the spectacles still remains etched as a vivid memory in my mind.

As part of an enthusiastic team of healthcare professionals, we shared information on diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney diseases through talks in the communities. We exchanged ideas on leading a healthy, and better quality life by engaging in small daily efforts. It was an extraordinary experience engaging with the communities in this meaningful mission trip.

Goodwill was established through this healthcare mission. The mission trip was a breakthrough for SRC, Mahakaruna Buddhist Society, Vavuniya General Hospital and myself. We reached out and met the healthcare needs of the vulnerable communities in Vavuniya, learnt Sri Lanka’s culture and paved the way for future healthcare collaborations through networking.

Lastly, I am honoured to be a part of this healthcare team serving the communities of Vavuniya. I look forward to continuing the mission to care and serve those in need in the future.