Volunteers sought for mission work

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

HELPING HANDS: A Christ the Healer volunteer takes the blood pressure of a patient in Nicaragua.  Photo submitted.

HELPING HANDS: A Christ the Healer volunteer takes the blood pressure of a patient in Nicaragua.
Photo submitted.

Since 1988, a volunteer group of medical professionals has traveled to Nicaragua to provide people with necessary medical treatment. They are currently seeking more missionaries to serve.
Fr. David Munn, an optician and priest at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Picayune, also serves as board chairman for the mission group Christ the Healer, an ecumenical mission program of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
According to the website www.archnomo.org, the program was created by a group of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who desired to work with and for the poor of a developing nation.
“We have missionaries from all over the nation and different walks of faith,” Munn said. “Volunteers include gynecologists, dentists, surgeons, internal medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, eye doctors and pediatricians.”
The clinic in Granada is open year-round and medical volunteers from the United States make three one-week trips per year, Munn said. A group of non-medical volunteers travels to the site once a year. During the year, the clinic is managed by Nicaraguan medical personnel.
There is an eye, dental and women’s clinic on-site and more 15,000 patients are seen by medical staff each year, Munn said.
“It’s a beautiful place, but is also the second poorest country in that hemisphere,” Munn said. “Only American missionaries are able to perform these specialty surgeries. The country also has a sparse government healthcare system.”
Three of the main health concerns for Nicaraguans include diabetes, malnourishment and respiratory problems, Munn said.
“There is also a high infant mortality rate and waterborne parasites,” he said.
The group provides all medications and schedules appointments for medical procedures, Munn said.
Munn said the group is seeking doctors and other medical professionals who are able to take a week off from work.
Mission trips occur during January, April and July, Munn said. This July, a group of non-medical volunteers will travel to Nicaragua to paint and prepare the boys’ orphanage, which is the first one in the country, he said.
“There are currently 22 boys housed there who were taken off the streets,” Munn said. “Orphanage staff ensures the boys are being taken care of and receive counseling. A majority of them were sniffing glue and some were prostituted by their parents.”
Munn said all volunteers are responsible for their airfare and accommodations. Medical groups are comprised of about 15 to 25 people and of those, about three to four are non-medical, he said.
“Each day of the week there, we host spiritual discussions and services,” Munn said. “We create hope for the ones volunteering to develop their medical skills and take care of the people in Nicaragua.”
Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Munn at 504-427-2478 and through email at munn209@aol.com.
Learn more about Christ the Healer at www.archnomo.org.

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