Scrimgeour group conducts medical clinics in Mexico - Dec. 8, 2016
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
A project that began last year in the brain of former Blyth firefighter Doug Scrimgeour that has helped thousands of people in Mexico has recently expanded its scope.
Scrimgeour’s program began by sending shipping containers full of used or expired firefighter equipment such as bunker suits and hoses to Mexico where, in many rural communities, such items were simply unaffordable.
After an overwhelming response from fire departments all over North America, numerous shipping containers have been sent throughout Mexico, outfitting firefighters and providing them with equipment they otherwise couldn’t afford.
Earlier this year, however, the scope of the donations expanded to include medical equipment like crutches and wheelchairs. The expansion also included training opportunities through the Emergency Services Training Centre in Blyth and its access to online training for firefighters and other emergency services personnel.
It was in that vein that Scrimgeour facilitated hosting a medical clinic in Mexico for the first time late last month.
As reported in The Guadalajara Reporter, over two dozen Canadian doctors, nurses and volunteers arrived in Mexico through Scrimgeour’s organization, the Lakeside Fire and Red Cross Assistance Group, to carry out the program. The group arrived at the beginning of November and stayed for nearly two weeks before heading back to Ontario. The project was co-sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Stratford and Ajijic, Mexico.
Scrimgeour continues to be heavily involved in the program, collecting items throughout the year in Ontario, as well as organizing other collections throughout Canada and the United States, and helping with fundraisers in Mexico, where he and his wife Diane Radford spend their winters.
During their time in Mexico, the group ran free health clinics at a number of different health and community centres, carrying out general medical evaluations, dental care, eyeglass fittings and handing out basic medication.
There was also some medical training, including CPR and basic First Aid training.
The Guadalajara Reporter said that the group ran into several roadblocks along the way, including flight delays, having their supplies confiscated by customs officers and inclement weather, among other problems.