From Stechford to Ghana: How Brum Doctor’s Charity Changes Communities by Ross Cotton

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University of Birmingham alumni Dr Liam Barrett, aged 25, and director of the UK branch of Global Brigades charity has been making huge progress in helping to empower communities in Ghana this summer. Dr Barrett has attended many ‘Brigades’ during his time as a medical student and has now led the first ever UK healthcare professional medical ‘Brigade’ to Ghana.

Liam Barrett (centre) with Cape Coast Crystal Lions Club and Global Brigades Ghana Team in Immuna

Liam, who now works in the north west, said “The East Lancashire NHS Hospital Trust were so excited to be the first ever UK professional team for Global Brigades.”

Spread across eight days of volunteering, the team set up mobile medical clinics, community health worker training and launched a Global Brigades water project with their partners Lions Clubs International, a service club organisation that support a range of good causes and projects locally and globally.

“Thanks to the huge generosity of the Lions Club of District 105M in the UK and those who supported the fundraisers, we raised over £10,000!”, said Liam.

Over the next three months, the water project will build four stand pipes and a distribution system to provide the communities of Immuna with clean drinking water. Dr Barrett continues, “we cemented our partnership with the community and we were joined by the Ghana Water Company and the Global Brigades Ghana team working hard on the ground.” With the aim of addressing health and economic needs in communities in Ghana, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, Global Brigades is the largest student-led movement for global health. As a new addition, the charity has opened its doors for UK working professionals to volunteer.

Liam Barrett, centre, with Global Brigades Volunteers, Immuna Community and Global Brigades Ghana Team

Dr Barrett, who studied at the University of Birmingham via Access to Birmingham (A2B); a widening participation programme that supports applicants who have little or no family experience of higher education, said “at Global Brigades, we welcome people from all backgrounds to volunteer, fundraise and donate, so long as their drive meets the needs of the communities we work with”

“It’s such a rewarding project to be involved in.”

If you’re interested in finding out more, email liam.barrett@globalbrigades.org

And check out the official charity website here: https://www.globalbrigades.org/

Author: Clare Ray

Clare Ray is the College of Medical and Dental Sciences lead for Outreach and Widening Participation.

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