A Portland woman is traveling to Tanzania this month to volunteer with an organization that uses homeopathy to treat people affected by AIDS.
Dr. Wendy Pollock, a chiropractic physician and certified clinical homeopath in Portland, is leaving Jan. 20 for two months to volunteer with Homeopathy for Health in Africa, a nonprofit organization that treats AIDS patients in the Kilimanjaro region of northern Tanzania.
Pollock will work alongside a translator in one of eight clinics offering care to people with great need and no financial means.
Pollock said Monday that homeopathy is used to stimulate the body’s immune system, which in turn will help it function better. She believes homeopathic medicine can relieve the suffering and restore health to AIDS patients.
“Homeopathy is a 200-year-old science and art that focuses on understanding who the person is, rather than what is wrong with them,” Pollock said. “It’s a very advanced form of healing. It’s a perfect match for people in countries that have very little means to pay for treatment.”
According to the organization’s website, an estimated 24 million to 30 million Africans are infected with HIV and between 1.5 million to 2 million people die of AIDS each year. The disease has left an estimated 14 million children orphans.
Homeopathy for Health In Africa has made great strides in the region with the establishment of a sustainable food growing and education programs.
Pollock, 56, has been practicing homeopathy for more than 25 years. She will begin in Tanzania with a two-week training to learn their methods to treat AIDS patients with homeopathy. Pollock said she hopes to raise awareness about the effects of homeopathy on AIDS patients and teach local health practitioners to run sustainable practices.
“There is a huge need all over the world,” she said. “This is one little tiny step, but it’s an important one. My feeling is that if people could give a little bit of their time, we could solve enormous problems.”
An organization in Portland is helping to bring change to the region.
Beth Currier, who serves on the board of directors for the Girls Foundation of Tanzania, said medical care is not available to many citizens living there. She believes one way to break the cycle of poverty is to change the life of a girl.
“The cycle of poverty is a huge problem in Tanzania,” Currier said. “Any kind of health care would be a great help. There is so much to be done in terms of health and AIDS education and birth control.”
Pollock said she was inspired to travel to Tanzania by the experiences she had volunteering in the Dominican Republic in 2002 and 2004. There, she provided homeopathy and chiropractic services to people in need.
After that, she became a founder of Turn the Tide, a coalition of complementary and alternative medicine health care practitioners, who donate their services to help Mainers in need.
Pollock said her trip to the Dominican Republic was a profound experience that changed her life.
“It’s always been a passion of mine to serve the under-served,” she said. “It’s sort of my mission. I’m looking forward making a small difference there, and hopefully making that a habit.”
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]