A local girl is looking for support to help further her medical education in Kenya this summer.

Mia Andrews has always wanted to save lives. Now in her second year of biomedical science at the University of Ottawa, she is looking to gain hands-on medical experience this year in Mombasa, Kenya.

“I want to get some exposure to solidify that this is what I want to do,” says the St. Michael Catholic High School graduate.

Through research and attending medical school information sessions, Mia found out about the organization called International Medical Aid which organizes healthcare internships abroad. It is a broad-based not-for-profit striving to improve access to medical and public health resources in some of the world’s poorest areas. They send both current and future doctors overseas to volunteer in East Africa, South America and Haiti.

Mia says she chose International Medical Aid because it is a not-for-profit organization where funds raised go directly towards health care programs and training in the developing world. 1.5 million Kenyans live with HIV without sufficient healthcare and many will die of AIDs and other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. “Here, in Canada, I cannot begin to fathom a society in which these treatable diseases are rampant,” Mia says. “They need our help.”

Mia will have the chance to work in all of Mombasa’s Coast Provincial General Hospital departments including the Emergency/Casualty Ward, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Internal Medicine and the Comprehensive Care Clinics. “I am really excited to be exposed to a new culture and I can’t wait to see medicine first-hand,” she says.

In order to be accepted into the pre-med internship in Kenya, she had to go through a round of interviews and write a piece about why she wanted to participate. The trip also costs $3500 American (about $4600 Canadian) not including flights for the two months she will be overseas.

Mia is asking for community support to help pay for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “The costs associated with this two-month mission trip are too much for a university student, and I am humbly asking for your assistance and support,” she writes on her GoFundMe page. Mia has already paid out of pocket for her flights but needs to find around $3000 more to pay for her internship. Money raised will go towards paying for her room and board with any extra going towards supporting International Medical Aid’s many initiatives. “They really have a heath care crisis over there,” she says.

To support Mia and International Medical Aid, you can go to Mia’s GoFundMe page under Help Send Mia to Kenya, Ottawa.

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