|Traditional Sawdust Painting|
Hours of meetings to troubleshoot the logistics of Team 2017 have taken place. Forms have been reworked, board members voted in and the hospital where we will be working in Retalhuleu, Guatemala has been visited, vetted and buttoned up. What then, is left to do?
Here is the short list:
- Hotels for over 100 Children of the Americas volunteers need to be secured financially, while beds in each room will be carefully planned to accommodate roommate requests.
- COTA's application committee needs to meet, review each application and approve the individual qualifications for participating in Team 2017.
- Medical CV's need to be copied and compiled, placed in a binder and hand delivered to the Ministry of Health in Guatemala City for approval.
- The packing list of every items on the shipping container needs to be typed in Excel format, and translated into Spanish for Guatemalan agents.
- The semi container must arrive in Guatemalan customs in time for inspection, and authorization of the contents.
- Vans must be reserved for shuttling team members to and from the hotels to the hospitals to cover our 24 hour nursing shifts.
- Two large buses have to be secured financially with a solid contract to assure their readiness for the team in January.
- The final scouting team will need to travel and obtain contracts with the Guatemalan hospital director, so all expectations of both parties are clear.
- Hospital areas must be secured for each COTA provider, our pharmacy, our OR's, prosthetics clinic, post-operative wards and our PACU.
- Team members, once approved, will need to be assigned, oriented, delivered and supervised once on site in Guatemala.
- Funds to pay for all of the above will need to be raised. $40,000 has to be raised (hint: see donate button on this page!)
- The Guatemalan media has to be informed, banners need to be printed and local radio stations vetted, so that potential patients in the community know we are coming and what medical services COTA offers.
- Tents need to be set up, hundreds of chairs gathered and arranged and gate keepers oriented to how to humanely control thousands of anxious patients who are trying to access our providers.
- Food to feed 120 volunteers breakfast and lunch will need to be purchased, meals planned and logistics arranged with the Guatemalan hospital kitchen staff.
- Medicine to donate to 150 post-operative patients and thousands of clinic patients will need to be ordered, purchased, shipped, unpacked, inventoried and shelved for the on-site COTA pharmacy.
- Passports, flight arrangements and travel waivers have to be gathered, placed on a spreadsheet, copied and sent to all team members.
- Team T-shirts need to be designed, ordered, sized and shipped.
- A team volunteer spreadsheet has to be formatted, printed and sent to all volunteers.
- Badges need to be printed, laminated and delivered to each member.
- Translators need to be vetted and assessed for adequate language skills.
- Our physical plant volunteers will assess the hospital for proper electrical load and adequate lighting, and will arrive several days early to do repairs.
- The Pre-Team trip needs to be arranged, hotels secured and plans made for unpacking and arranging thousands of medical supplies.
- Medical supplies have to be unpacked from our Guatemalan storehouse and trucked to the Guatemalan hospital.
- Medical forms, order sheets and pharmacy requisition forms have to be approved, changed as needed, printed and packed.
- Each Guatemalan hospital room borrowed by COTA has to be approved by the Guatemalan director, set up for our providers and labeled.
As mentioned, this is the brief list of the multitude of tasks that will take place in the six short months before Team 2017 launches on January 14th. The hours, personal finances, and time away from family will be done without question when we see these faces (below) the first day we launch the team.
Guatemala's healthcare system is shattered. The reasons for this are complex, and the history behind the issue is lengthy. The lines of patients awaiting us annually do not diminish in number, in fact they grow longer each year. Our next Children of the Americas team is a work in progress. But we will be ready, we have to be. The patients will be waiting.
|Guatemalan patients awaiting entry to COTA Clinic|