Spring Hill College staff member to lead special medical mission to Belize

Mon, 07/27/2009 (All day)

July 24, 2009

Mobile – Jolie Pollard is a proud 2007 Spring Hill College journalism graduate and a researcher in the development office at Spring Hill.

A native of Belize, Pollard has a love and concern for the people of her home country that has spurred her to initiate a special project that ultimately will help guarantee for Belize more healthy mothers and babies.

Pollard has collaborated with Dr. Ben Mathes, president of Rivers of the World Foundation, and Charles Evans, president of International Health Services Foundation. The three will be traveling to the town of Punta Gorda, located in the southern region of Belize, for five days beginning Sept. 28, 2009.

Punta Gorda Hospital supplies medical care to a large underserved community including a predominant group of Mayans who make up approximately 70 percent of the indigent population in Belize.

“I developed a relationship with Dr. Mathes as a child when I accompanied my father on his travels with Dr. Mathes in the northern region of Belize,” Pollard says. “My father has been helpful with supplying Dr. Mathes with ground transportation. He has already agreed to have two trucks available for us the week we are there.

“After reading the news about the conditions of the hospital online, I contacted Dr. Mathes via e-mail, and he suggested that we take action.
In a matter of only two weeks, I had contacted the hospital, Dr. Mathes got Charlie Evans on board, and we bought our plane tickets.”

In light of the recent media coverage in Belize of alleged child neglect at the hospital suffered by two Mayan mothers, and poor health care conditions such as staff shortage, lack of medical equipment and proper training, the three will meet with the lhughesistration of the Punta Gorda Hospital as well as nearby villagers to make an assessment of their needs.

They will also be presenting to the hospital director an inventory of medical supplies offered by MedShare International, a foundation that offers surplus medical supplies from U.S. hospitals to needy health care centers around the world. In addition, the group will work with the director to make an official request for a 40-foot container of supplies to be delivered to the town’s nearest port.

Pollard will also document the meetings with the hospital staff and local villagers with a video that will be posted on Mathes’s Web site: www.row.org. Mathes posts videos of his travels to share his foundation's work with the rest of the world. These videos assist him greatly in encouraging people to participate in his causes and to support his missions.