NJIT Global Brigades goes to Panama

Written by an anonymous pre-med Honors Scholar
and member of Global Brigades-NJIT

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From March 11th through the 18th, members of the NJIT Global Brigades, most of whom are students in the Albert Dorman Honors College, spent their spring break in the cities of San Carlos, Las Lajas, and Las Delicias in Panama.  Under the direction of Hirva Vyas, the president of Global Brigades-NJIT, this brigade of students was able to successfully treat 400 patients, build five latrines, and spend over 160 hours of community service making a difference in the lives of those who cannot afford to have health care.

Hirva started this organization on campus when she was only a sophomore at NJIT.  Since its inception, she has done an amazing job leading the brigade and ensuring that each student has an enlightening experience.  It was through her excellent leadership skills and personable attitude that NJIT and the Honors College name shone above the other universities present in Panama.

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Prior to going to Panama, the brigade fundraised over $40,000 in order to successfully send 35 students and one physician on the trip.  This fund also provided medications that were given to members of the local community.  Using the holistic model recommended by Global Brigades, our goal was not only to provide immediate relief but also long term aid.  Setting up a “Charla” (chat in Spanish) station, students got to understand diseases such as Dengue and STDs, and they found ways to inform the community members about these diseases in Spanish.  Preventative education was the priority, as this can help reduce future healthcare needs.

With Hirva’s leadership and passion for healthcare, Global Brigades was able to make a difference in Panama and provide healthcare for Panamanians who otherwise have to travel four or more hours each way to seek medical attention.  As Hirva graduates and pursues her degree in medicine, she leaves behind an organization that has achieved so much in so little time that the next executive board will have to work hard to surpass Hirva’s accomplishments.

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