Crossing Borders: A UNAC Nurse’s Extraordinary Journey – Jul/Aug’10 Voice
UNAC/UHCP members are committed to caring for those in need and often volunteer their personal time and expertise to ensure that vulnerable people receive some form of basic health care. Jesus G. Huesias, an RN at the Kaiser Baldwin Park Infusion Center, is one of our members who goes above and
beyond to provide that care.
Jesus participated in a mission trip to Burundi, Africa last August – a country with the lowest per capita income in the world. Working with 35 other health care professionals from the United States and Africa, Jesus and his fellow volunteers provided health care to more than 600 community members daily. With an economy destroyed by civil war and other issues, the medical concerns Jesus experienced were mostly related to bad hygiene, poor diet and war-related injuries. The ratio of children to adults seeking care was 15 to 1.
“The children had problems ranging from burns and malnutrition to scabies and ringworm,” said Jesus. “We taught them about how to keep clean and provided multi-vitamins and over-the-counter pain medicine when necessary.”
Jesus recalled that all of the health care professionals pushed themselves to care for as many patients as possible. “Everyone was so dedicated,” he said. “We had very few breaks, but no one cared. We just wanted to do whatever we could to help the community members, and they were so thankful.”
The Burundi mission effort is expected to continue next year in order to create a much-needed running water supply for the community. While Jesus also intends to continue his mission efforts in Zacapoaxtla, Mexico – where he has volunteered three times in the past – he hopes to go back to Burundi on the next trip.
“I’m not one who just likes to volunteer for things, but if I have vacation time and can do something positive, why not take advantage of the opportunity?” commented Jesus. “When you give to the greater good, it always comes back to you tenfold.”