Posted on June 20, 2011 by Tia Lalani

By Murray Greene, Camrose Booster June 14, 2011 Charley Switzer of Camrose will be part of the Flying Doctors of Canada (FDOC) medical team heading to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua for 10 days this August. She will be a member of a medical unit that will help with laboratory testing, x-ray imaging, physical …

By Murray Greene, Camrose Booster June 14, 2011

Flying Doctors of Canada participant Charley Switzer points out where her medical tour to Nicaragua will take her in August. She will be part of a team travelling to San Juan del Sur to help with laboratory testing, x-ray imaging, physical examinations and making diagnoses.

Charley Switzer of Camrose will be part of the Flying Doctors of Canada (FDOC) medical team heading to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua for 10 days this August.

She will be a member of a medical unit that will help with laboratory testing, x-ray imaging, physical examinations and making diagnoses. The travelling unit will go to smaller centres to offer expertise in more remote areas in the southern part of the country.

The FDOC is a non-profit organization made up of doctors, nurses and volunteer university students who are committed to providing medical care in developing countries in Central America. “It was started by graduates of the University of Alberta,” said Charley. “I will be going down with a group of 27 volunteers and that includes pre-med students. I filled out an application, went for an interview and they called me back and said I was accepted.” Charley believes that, as a Canadian, she has training and knowledge to help with humanitarian efforts in developing countries around the world.

“I will shadow doctors in a travelling medical clinic where over 200 patients a day will be assisted,” said Charley. “To help address underlying causes of poor health in the community, FDOC engages in sustainable development projects. These include building water filtration systems and clean-burning EcoStoves, which I will actively take part in constructing while in Nicaragua. The stoves are important because it will reduce respiratory problems. Their outdoor cooking methods can cause lung problems. Most of the time they cook over open fires. The stoves can really improve the conditions.”

Charley has completed three years of pre-medical education at the Augustana Campus and will be attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton this fall to continue her studies to become a doctor. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology. “I can see myself being a physician in a rural community, such as Camrose. That is my ultimate dream. I’m amazed at the support I’ve received from the community. People have shown they support and care about this kind of work in other countries.”

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser for her was held at the Camrose United Church on May 31 to help with the costs. “The money we are raising tonight goes to help cover the costs for students, as well as medical and construction supplies.”


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