My first trip to Nepal was in 2009 as part of the ACCF’s first Real Life Challenge and this year with the help of ACCF, Sophie and I were able to embark on another journey.This time around we are able to live, work and finish our medical degrees at the National Referral Hospital located in Thimphu, the capital city of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
It’s safe to say that my experiences with ACCF have truly changed my life. After trekking in Nepal for the first time in 2009, and witnessing the type of health care that was available to them, women’s health became a passion that drove me to study medicine at James Cook University. 7 years on, with the finish line to our degree approaching, Sophie and I decided that we wanted to learn while being able to impact the lives of those women and that decision took us back to the Himalayas.
In the hospital we witnessed a large number of cases involving diseases that are much less common (or non-existent) in Australia. While the screening processes here is so different from the practice and medical attention that we receive at home, the doctors all work so hard to save lives and give the best possible treatment available to the patients.
My time in Bhutan has taught me the importance of preventing diseases like cervical cancer wherever possible. A gift as little as $50 can ensure a young girl is vaccinated against cervical cancer helping to ensure her healthy future.
Whenever we mention the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, people thank US for giving them access to the cervical cancer vaccine. I feel a bit fraudulent because sometimes it seems that they think we personally did it, but everyone really is so thankful for the work that the ACCF does. This is a credit to all of the team’s hard work and to the support of the entire ACCF community.
Annabelle is a final year medical student who travelled with ACCF in 2009 as part of our Real Life Challenge program when she was 16 years of age.