MU Health Care Team to Help Syrian Refugees

5 years 4 months 12 hours ago Thursday, May 22 2014 May 22, 2014 Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:01:00 AM CDT May 22, 2014 in News
By: Tori Chamberlain, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - A team of three University of Missouri Health Care emergency medical professionals will spend 10 days in the Zaatari refugee camp near Amman, Jordan in June.

The team will provide medical relief and education to refugees of the Syrian civil war.

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, more than 4 million people have fled the embattled country. More than 130,000 refugees, including approximately 60,000 children, now call the Zaatari refugee camp home.

Thousands of tents make up the forced community, which has become the fourth largest city in Jordan and the largest Syrian refugee camp in the country.

Syria's health care system has experienced a collapse because of the conflict, leading to a shortage of health care providers.

Rick Baker, a flight paramedic with the University Hospital's Staff will lead the team. Baker, along with Adam Beckett, D.O., emergency room physician at University Hospital, and Stacey Lake, R.N., emergency room nurse at University Hospital, will provide basic medical care such as vaccinations, inoculations and checkups, as well as emergency care.

The team also will educate refugees on sterile practices to curb an increase in preventable infections and diseases such as polio.

Between Baker and Beckett, the two have served on more than 30 overseas medical mission trips, offering relief in Haiti, Kenya, South America and Southeast Asia. The team, which also includes Matt Ford of Handy-Matt, LLC, will meet with 17 other U.S. volunteers before entering Jordan.

The effort is being coordinated through the Seattle-based relief agency Salaam Cultural Museum.

"When we arrive, we will be working with the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders," said Beckett, who serves as the director of international medicine at MU Health Care. "The clinics there are all overwhelmed, which is similar to when we were down in Haiti following the earthquake, but this will be a completely different experience."

The team will travel 50 miles from Amman into the heart of the camp each morning to provide care at a central clinic and will leave before nightfall.

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