2013 Saving Mothers Dominican Republic Volunteer, Lisa Gilligan
I was introduced to Saving Mothers just under a year ago and immediately connected with their mission. As a public health professional and mother of four, I was distressed by the lack of access to basic maternal care in developing countries and the disproportionate levels of morbidity and mortality among mothers and newborns in those countries. Before long I agreed to become an ambassador for Saving Mothers, and a few short months later I found myself on a plane to the Dominican Republic to witness their interventions first-hand. Just this past October, I accompanied Dr. Shirazian and a team of surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists to the ILAC mission in Santiago for a week of free gynecological surgeries and training, and we got to work. It was all hands on deck, including me! There was much to be done, so I happily donned scrubs and assisted with patient intake including vital signs screening and pregnancy testing pre-surgery. It was a pleasure to interact with the patients, who were all a bit nervous, yet so very appreciative of our presence in their lives. And this appreciation radiated throughout the community, from the cooperadores, or healthcare workers who accompanied each patient to the mission, to the driver who hugged me as he dropped me off at the airport. It was a long but productive week. Overall 533 women were screened, 33 surgeries were performed and 15 local healthcare workers were trained. At the end of each day I retired to my hut exhausted yet invigorated by what we were accomplishing. How very satisfying to be involved with this organization. I believe in Saving Mothers, and I hope you will too!