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There are countless places around the globe where proper healthcare can be hard to find and those with the greatest need do without. It can seem a hopeless situation, and for that reason, in 2005, BD initiated what would become a series of Volunteer Service Trips (VST) in partnership with organizations working in challenged areas of the world.
Michael Gibney joined BD as a Medical Specialist, leveraging 21 years as a Registered Nurse, and has held a variety of positions in Pediatrics as well as Diabetes Care and Management. In 2007, Michael joined 11 other associates from many different BD facilities to spend three weeks in the West African nation of Ghana, where he served as a nurse educator. Collaborating with Direct Relief, his team’s goals were to train community health workers on topics ranging from healthcare worker safety to pediatric nutrition to infection control to HIV/AIDS counseling.
“Yesterday, a baby boy was born at the maternity clinic. Mother and child are doing well. The boy's name is Kwaku, which means Wednesday, the day of his birth. Most in Ghana know their birthday because it is part of their name.”
The following year, Michael returned to Ghana with a new group of volunteers and new challenges. “A four-year-old boy with a 105-degree fever was brought to the clinic at 6 a.m. on a bicycle ridden by his father. The little boy tested positive for malaria and was treated. The clinic now has 1,000 quick malaria test kits that require just a small fingerstick blood sample, with results in only 10 minutes.”
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, BD committed to a series of VST interventions and partnered with Heart to Heart International. In 2013, Michael volunteered once again, and was given responsibility for training healthcare workers in the prevention of common diseases, maternal/child health topics (pregnancy, delivery, care of a newborn) and STDs. Over two weeks, 68 healthcare workers attended Michael’s classes, some saying they had never received such extensive training on pregnancy, labor, delivery and care of the newborn.
Michael’s response is simple. “Thank you to BD for the opportunity to experience this and for lighting a humanitarian flame within!”