Arriving at a hotel to find that the receptionist has kept a forgotten piece of luggage from a year ago, in the hope that you would return again, is hard to forget. This was what greeted John Crock, when, on a second surgical trip to Labasa in Northern Fiji, the desk assistant joyfully produced a parcel with the greeting “We have prayed that God would bring you back and kept this in hope”.
When funding for the aid trips he was involved in dried up in 2007, John decided that the need was too great to ignore. As a result, Aussie Health Abroad was birthed in late 2008 (then known as Vakabauta), to meet a driving need for medical aid in developing countries. The organisation is founded on the words of Jesus; It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). True to the maxim Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will never go hungry, Aussie Health Abroad aims to go one step further than simply treating the symptoms. Rather, we have made it our vision to provide to doctors in under privileged areas, the same medical teaching that is given to surgeons in the developed nations of the world. In doing so, we believe that we are equipping them with the skills and the tools to begin to redress the inequality that exists in access to medical care across the globe. We believe that technology can be used as a mechanism to achieve this goal. Although Aussie Health Abroad believes that alone, direct medical care is not enough, we recognise that it also plays a vital part of overseas aid work. Therefore, where the opportunity arises, Vakabauta aims to facilitate the provision of surgical and other medical assistance. This may be achieved through the coordination of operating sessions in regional or urban locations, or through the provision of medicine or equipment to local hospitals or clinics. Encompassed in the long-term vision of Aussie Health Abroad is the view to provide not only medical instruction to surgeons, but also the facilities to allow doctors best treat patients.