In March of 2008 I had the opportunity to travel to Christmas Island with Pacific Islands Medical Aid (PIMA) to teach the island nurses and doctors how to provide basic primary eye care. The dedication and resolve of PIMA was very apparent. I was able to witness firsthand how medical care should be offered to people in need. PIMA provides the islanders with the tools and knowledge to help institute self-sustaining programs.
Charitable mission projects take many forms around the world. My work with public health has made me aware of several models for health care delivery in undeveloped countries. The model exemplified by PIMA is one of the best. Their long term commitment to the health care providers and people of the Line Islands gives the kind of sustained care which truly benefits the recipients by allowing the people being served the opportunity to join in and become a part of the process and thereby help themselves. This is not a one time act of welfare, but a long term collaborative effort.
Scott Pike, OD