Family nurse practitioner Patrice Gordon will be leaving her home in the Chilcotin for five weeks to lead a mobile clinic team for the International Red Cross in Bangladesh this month. Photo submitted

Family nurse practitioner Patrice Gordon will be leaving her home in the Chilcotin for five weeks to lead a mobile clinic team for the International Red Cross in Bangladesh this month. Photo submitted

Chilcotin nurse heading to Bangladesh with Red Cross

Patrice Gordon anxious to join the mobile clinic team she will be heading up to aid with the refugee crisis

A family nurse practitioner stationed in the Chilcotin is counting the days when she will join the International Federation of Red Cross’s work with the refugee crisis in Bangladesh.

Patrice Gordon has been deployed with Red Cross in the past — to Sierra Leone with the Ebola crisis in 2014, to Nepal after the earthquake in 2015 and in March 2017 to Zimbabwe.

Speaking from her home in the West Chilcotin, Gordon told the Tribune she will leave Canada in mid-November to be the team leader for a mobile clinic in the farthest outreaches of the Cox’s Bazar refugee settlement in Bangladesh just across the border from Myanmar.

“There are more than 800,000 refugees and about 607,000 have come there since Aug. 25,” Gordon said. “Drone footage online shows a sea of people. It just takes your breath away. There are still some people trapped in Myanmar that are unable to get across the border.”

Gordon said the mobile clinic team is already there ahead of her.

“I’m part of their Whatsapp group so I can keep up with what’s going on there and what the challenges are and putting in my two bits.”

As a mobile clinic, the team will bring everything they need in backpacks and they are establishing drop areas so they can move things such as IV solutions from guarded areas.

“Our focus will be on dehydration, minor injuries, lots of infectious disease, prenatal screening because there are lots of childbearing aged women, and then nutritional status of everyone, but particularly children under the age of five.”

Anyone who needs a higher level of care will also be identified and taken to the comprehensive Red Cross Red Crescent 60-bed field hospital that has been established there.

Some members of the mobile team worked with Gordon in Nepal and are from Mexico, Colombia and Quebec.

With the monsoon season just finishing up, Gordon said there are lots of skin diseases and other things that happen because people are living in crowded conditions without proper access to general hygiene and inadequate access to safe water.

“Everyone in those camps are fully dependent on humanitarian aid 100 per cent. It boggles the mind and I’m chomping at the bit to get there and help and doing what I can from here. There’s a lot of unaccompanied and separated children that are arriving.”

The International Red Cross and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society are working side by side, Gordon said, noting NGOs in the region are making a co-ordinated effort not to duplicate services.

”The Bangladesh Red Crescent are identifying the needs locally and we as the International Red Cross Red Crescent Community are coming in and supporting them.”

Gordon will be in Bangladesh for five weeks. Her team will consist of a paramedic, a few doctors, and a medical logistician to help them sort out getting the supplies they need.

One of those items was Ziploc bags used to hand out medications.

“You realize how the common place that we have immediate access to can be really challenging to acquire.”

While Gordon is out of the country her husband Dr. Rob Coetzee will see her patients.

“Interior Health and the communities are always so supportive when I go with Red Cross,” she added.

When the opportunity to deploy to Bangladesh arose the Red Cross asked Gordon.

“I run a mobile clinic out of my truck now and with my history of having worked as a mountaineering guide, they said ‘hey Patrice, this one’s perfect for you.’”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

(Photo submitted)
MISSING: Alexis Creek RCMP request help in finding Randolph Quilt, 59

Quilt hasn’t been heard from by family since Sept. 26, last seen in Williams Lake

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson (right) with his partner Shelley Wiese participated in an BC Liberals Caucus virtual oath ceremony Friday, Nov. 27. Doerkson was appointed opposition critic of rural development by interim leader Shirley Bond. (Photo submitted)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA appointed rural development opposition critic

Newly-elected Lorne Doerkson said it will be an honour to work for all rural consituents

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, & 26th November 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10 (file photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Acwsalcta School in Bella Coola

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, and 26th Nov. 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10.

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Interior Health said its new toll-free line will help people connect to health-care services. (File)
Interior Health expands toll-free line to improve access to community care

By calling1-800-707-8550, people can be connected to several health-care services

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read