Humanitarian academic to assist medical mission to Thailand 

Dan Baschiera will assist a volunteer medical team who will operate on children with cleft lip and/or palate

A Charles Darwin University humanitarian specialist will join a group of doctors and nurses who will provide life-changing surgery on children in Thailand early in the New Year.

The trip to Ubon Ratchathani, near the Vietnamese border, has been organised by the US humanitarian agency Healing the Children, which organises volunteer medical teams to operate on children whose families lack access to surgical services.

Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies coordinator Dan Baschiera will assist the team that includes Royal Darwin Hospital surgeons Justin Curtin and Cameron Scott, his wife paediatrician Dr Annie Whybourne, and a team of US surgeons and nurses.

Mr Baschiera said the surgeons would operate on children with cleft lip and / or palate.

“These are delicate and expensive procedures to repair cleft deformities on children who might otherwise never get the opportunity to have an operation,” he said.

Mr Baschiera will gather facts relating to the possibility of establishing a research project to assess the broader and long-term implications of this particular mission in Ubon.

“There’s scope for a variety of exciting questions and the potential for findings that would inform the agency about how they can tailor their operations and enhance their contribution to the community,” he said.

The mission, from 19-29 January, will also give Mr Baschiera an opportunity to explore the possibility of setting up research and support placements for CDU’s Bachelor of Social Work students interested in international social work.

“I’ll be gathering facts on how we can provide our social work students with exposure and research opportunities in an international context,” he said.

“It may give rise to opportunities to deploy highly skilled resources to assist this particular community and it would be a unique and very interesting application of the university’s community engagement.”