"As a GP, I fitted into the healthcare team by providing general medical, pre-operative and post-operative care in conjunction with a fantastic team of surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses from all over the world."
"Non-profit charitable organisations like Mercy Ships are an important part of global health," concludes Dr Wee.
"GPs can play a part in global health directly and indirectly. While acknowledging the challenges that we have in New Zealand such as primary care funding inequity, child poverty and mental health issues, there are also great needs beyond our shores.
"GPs in New Zealand can be involved by developing an interest in travel medicine and neglected infectious diseases, providing health services to refugees, giving financially to international aid organisations or even volunteering precious professional time."
During the August 2016–June 2017 field service in Benin, West Africa the healthcare services performed by Mercy Ships included 1957 free essential surgeries. 1962 medical professionals undertook mentoring programmes or attended specialty workshops. 6942 dental patients received multiple treatments.
Each year around 40 New Zealanders – including theatre nurses, anaesthesia staff, surgeons, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals – volunteer with Mercy Ships alongside people from 40 other nations.
Volunteer positions that are available in 2018 include Crew Physician, Physical Therapist and Senior Ophthalmic Technician. Go to www.mercyships.org.nz for more information.