Note: Hernando Garzon, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento, sent this dispatch recently from Southeast Asia, where he is performing a mission for Relief International. Dr. Garzon’s timely and evocative emails from Haiti in 2010 largely spurred the creation of the Dispatches From Haiti blog.
Some of you may not know but I am currently in Myanmar for two weeks. Relief International has had a health program (focus on maternal and child health) here since finishing their emergency response after Cyclone Nargis in 2008 (Myanmar’s worst ever natural disaster with 138K fatalities).
I am reviewing their medical program and evaluating its suitability as a site to send physicians and other health professionals to volunteer. Things look most promising for volunteer work focused on teaching local providers at a district hospital level. With a progressively tolerant/democratic government, recent political reforms, improving U.S.-Myanmar relations (first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar since 1990 recently named), and gradual opening to humanitarian relief organizations, there is great promise to make a difference here.
An amazing experience so far. humbling as always. oh, to live up to the needs present and the gratitude offered – now there’s the challenge of life.