Africa United in the Fight Against Ebola

By Charles Stokes, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation

By Charles Stokes, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation

The unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has now taken the lives of more than 6,346 people and infected more than 17,800 people in the region. Ebola is a threat to people, health systems and economies around the globe. But West African communities in particular are being hammered by Ebola as a result of already-strained healthcare systems, mistrust of healthcare workers and fear and stigmatization of those infected. One major aspect to halting the epidemic is to ensure that healthcare workers, patients, and the public receive accurate information that dispels myths, promotes prevention methods and outlines resources for those affected by Ebola.

To aid in that effort, a new health communications campaign, Africa United was launched earlier this month by the CDC Foundation, well-known actor Idris Elba, a global team of African soccer stars and international health organizations.

The CDC Foundation, actor Idris Elba and a global team of African soccer stars, international health and aid organizations recently announced the launch of Africa United, a global health communications campaign aimed at preventing the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

The CDC Foundation, actor Idris Elba and a global team of African soccer stars, international health and aid organizations recently announced the launch of Africa United, a global health communications campaign aimed at preventing the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

For Africa United, Elba and a team of professional soccer stars, who have ties to West Africa, appear in new public service announcements (PSAs). The first PSA, titled “We’ve Got Your Back,” is aimed at engendering solidarity for healthcare workers who are on the front lines working to protect the public from Ebola. In another campaign video titled “West Africa vs. Ebola,” Elba stars as a soccer coach giving a rousing and educational team talk to West Africa in preparation for its “life or death” game against Ebola. Elba explains the symptoms of Ebola and tactics for how to beat the virus, which includes spreading the word and working as a team.

I am very proud of the CDC Foundation’s backing of this important effort, and I appreciate the support of the many organizations who have come together and donated their time, voice, creativity and skills to make this communications campaign possible. This collaborative effort is an example of why public-private partnerships are crucial in uniting organizations to work together to address public health challenges—including the spread of Ebola.

To learn more about Africa United and to view the educational materials, visit www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org.

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From fear, to preparation

CARE Philippines staff Rona Casil shares her experience with typhoon Hagupit

CARE Philippines staff Rona Casil shares her experience with typhoon Hagupit

“Not another Haiyan,” was my first thought when I learned about a potential super typhoon hitting our region again and including our dear Tacloban in its path.

The Haiyan nightmare is something I couldn’t imagine my family, the people in Tacloban or the rest of the Philippines experiencing again, only a year after one of the strongest storms on record devastated us.

Even its name – Hagupit (a Filipino term which means ‘lash’)- evoked fear in us.

It didn’t help that initially there were a lot of reports that Hagupit would be stronger than Haiyan.  It brought back painful memories of the trauma of Haiyan.

We decided to be prepared. Two days before its expected landfall, our small family of four (with one 11- year-old kid) worked like a team.

My mother meticulously packed our things and clothes in plastic bags. We anticipated electricity being cut off, so my brother prepared emergency light by preparing a bulb which he would connect to a car battery.

And then there were the essential and practical things. Last year, our supply of rice was swept away by the floods. Then, we just placed our staple in plastic bags. This time, we put rice in bottles for better protection. In time of possible disaster – and characteristically Filipino – our family can’t survive without rice so we made sure to secure supplies of it!

Then we stocked up on food items and other supplies.

During Haiyan, clean and safe water became scarce. So this time we put water in bottles and placed them inside the bathroom – the safest place in the house they say in time of disasters- and locked the room so in case of floods, our drinking water would be safe.

We tied our roofs. We secured our important documents. We made sure to stay in the house during the storm. We did both small and big adjustments this time all to be better prepared for Hagupit.

Then Hagupit came. We felt it from Saturday night to Sunday early morning. The winds were strong but not comparable to the ferocity of Haiyan. There were rains but not anywhere near as heavy as last year’s biggest storm. There were some small floods in Tacloban, but to our greatest relief, as correctly advised by concerned government agencies, there were no storm surges.

As predicted, power shut down. But our emergency light worked, and gave us a good measure of ease. Tacloban appeared like a deserted city days before, during and right after Hagupit. There were hardly any people on the streets. Most establishments were closed. Families preferred to stay home or in evacuation centers.

Tacloban was prepared. I am so happy and proud of my hometown. I was supposed to be on leave on the first work week after Hagupit, but I decided to report for work to contribute to our efforts to monitor, collect information and respond to the most affected areas in our neighboring region in Samar.

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The Next Big Epidemic: The Wave of Tuberculosis

- Katie Pace, MAP International Public Content Specialist

Katie Pace, MAP International Public Content Specialist

In the midst of the current widespread Ebola outbreak, we have to stop and think.  What is the next epidemic – and are we already facing it?

Even though tuberculosis is treatable, it is spreading rapidly, taking the lives of over 1.5 million people each year.  Much like Ebola it has been around for years and those in the global health community are working to end it, but it doesn’t get the media coverage that it deserves for playing a role in so many deaths.

What is Tuberculosis:  TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is normally presents in the lungs.  It is curable and preventable with proper treatment and care.  TB is spread through coughing, sneezing and spit when the germs are in the air.  Nearly one-third of the world’s population has been infected by the TB bacteria but the disease is dormant, meaning they are not yet ill with the disease and are not contagious.  People with compromised immune systems, like HIV patients and malnourished children, are at a much higher risk of becoming ill with TB.

Why it should scare us:  Tuberculosis is highly contagious and airborne and is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide.

In the United States we know what TB stands for, but has abbreviating a life-threatening disease that kills millions taken away some of the impact?  Tuberculosis infects less than 10,000 people each year in the US, and takes the lives of just under 600 annually.  Now let’s look at the global scale:

Tuberculosis Infographic

The WHO estimates that in 2013, 9 million people contracted Tuberculosis – 550,000 of those were children.  We can’t ignore that this is ‘epidemic’ proportion in terms of lives lost. A person ill with Tuberculosis can infect up to 15 people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment, up to two thirds of those infected will die.

TB patients that MAP provided treatment as well as eggs and milk at a clinic in Indonesia.

TB patients that MAP provided treatment as well as eggs and milk at a clinic in Indonesia.

How do we stop it?:  We need to start by building healthcare infrastructures in the most highly infected regions, including the southern part of Africa and Asia.  We have to start in the country of origin and prepare for future outbreaks of not just Tuberculosis but other infectious diseases as well.

The WHO estimates that over 37 million lives were saved by early effective diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis.  The global health community is prepositioned with medicines and supplies to treat this threat.

MAP International is a global health organization that partners with people living in conditions of poverty to save lives and develop healthier families and communities.  Learn more about MAP International at www.map.org

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Together for Girls: Protecting Children from Violence

By Sara Sandlin and Lorie Burnett, Senior Program Officers at the CDC Foundation

By Lorie Burnett and Sara Sandlin, Senior Program Officers at the CDC Foundation

It is estimated that 150 million girls worldwide under the age of 18 have been the victims of sexual violence. As shocking as these numbers are, the actual occurrence of sexual violence is likely higher because most cases are never reported to authorities due to fear, stigma and discrimination. The consequences of this injustice are profound. Not only do victims of sexual violence experience immense health and emotional effects, but there are also broader social and economic implications for countries, particularly those where the occurrence of sexual violence is more prevalent.

The CDC Foundation is proud to work with international partners as a charter member of Together for Girls, a public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, with a focus on sexual violence against girls. Founded by CDC Foundation Board Member and former Chair Gary Cohen, executive vice president of BD, Together for Girls is a global intersection of governments, the United Nations, civil society and the private sector that have joined together to prevent and respond to violence against children.

Led and owned by national governments, Violence Against Children Surveys have greatly advanced understanding of the scale of violence against children, the links to gender inequality and HIV infection, and the circumstances that make children vulnerable to violence. ©Sandie Taylor/Together for Girls

Led and owned by national governments, Violence Against Children Surveys have greatly advanced understanding of the scale of violence against children, the links to gender inequality and HIV infection, and the circumstances that make children vulnerable to violence. ©Sandie Taylor/Together for Girls

This week, Together for Girls will release the second edition of Safe, a digital magazine designed to raise awareness about violence against children. The magazine will feature data tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed as part of CDC’s work to help countries throughout the world measure violence against children and translate that knowledge into action. To date, CDC has conducted Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) in Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, which have all released their survey results. These surveys—funded in part by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—are also underway or planned in 10 additional countries.

Led and owned by national governments, VACS have greatly advanced our understanding of the scale of violence against children, the links to gender inequality and HIV infection, and the circumstances that make children vulnerable to violence.The surveys are also sparking innovative solutions by country leaders and civil society.

  • Swaziland has launched U-Report, a free mobile-based texting tool youth can use to report violence confidentially, get service referrals or simply ask health questions anonymously.
  • Tanzania has trained 4,000 police, social welfare officers, primary school teachers, health workers and district justice officials in child protection in just one year.
  • Kenya is rolling out a successful model of “one stop centres.” Over a two-year period, one centre in Malindi increased the number of violent incidents reported from just 1-2 cases per week to 10-20 cases per week.

Beyond the severe human rights violations, children who experience violence are at greater risk for lifelong, destructive—yet preventable—consequences, including HIV infection, chronic diseases, crime and drug abuse, as well as serious mental health problems. Together, we can build a safer, healthier world for children. The time to act is now.

Together for Girls is a global public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, with a focus on sexual violence against girls. The partnership includes five UN agencies (led by UNICEF with UNAIDS, UN Women, WHO and UNFPA); the U.S. government (CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and its partners, USAID and the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues); and the private sector (Grupo ABC, Becton, Dickinson and Company [BD], the CDC Foundation and the Nduna Foundation). Learn more about CDC’s role in Together for Girls: www.cdcfoundation.org/what/program/together-girls

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Cops in Chad and Family Planning – An Unlikely Duo

By Dr. Jimmy Nzau, CARE

By Dr. Jimmy Nzau, Deputy Project Director with CARE

In my work for CARE, an organization that fights global poverty, I never thought I’d have to use my persuasive powers to get out of going to the police station.

I’m a doctor. For the last three years or so, I’ve been focused on making sure women in southern Chad, a Central African country have access to family planning.

It’s no easy feat. Chad’s health system is afflicted by years of instability marked by wars. The country has a population of over 11 million people and is home to a growing number of refugees from nearby war-torn Central African Republic.  Its maternal mortality rate of 1,200 maternal deaths out of 100,000 live births, is among the highest in the world.

Meanwhile, women in Chad have an estimated 6.7 children, with about 60% of girls becoming pregnant before age 18. It’s a patriarchal society with a strong religious influence.

That last part is what almost landed my colleagues and me in jail.

Things were going well at first. We were training providers; getting the right medicines and equipment in place.

We knew we had to get the religious leaders on our side, so we spoke with Imams, pastors, and even priests to open the dialogue about the benefits of family planning.

Dr. Jimmy Nzau, a Deputy Project Director with CARE (center, no uniform) with soldiers in Chad.

Dr. Jimmy Nzau, a Deputy Project Director with CARE (center, no uniform) with soldiers in Chad.

In just two months we saw family planning patients grow to 1100 a month from just 100. We were reaching women in very remote, and underserved areas. We were pretty pleased with ourselves.

Until one afternoon I received a panicked call from Josef, the head nurse at one of the clinics, noting that the police had arrived.  The police had received complaints from a disgruntled husband and family of a woman who was given contraceptives at the clinic without her husband’s permission. This, the police warned, was against the law.

Somehow I calmly asked to speak to the police. I asked if they had heard of the “National Reproductive Health Law of 2002” which guarantees the right of women to choose family planning, with or without, her husband or family’s permission.

When the police replied they’d never heard of it, I offered to come and speak with them about the law.

Instead of being resistant, the men wanted to learn more about family planning. “How long does it last?” they asked. “What does it cost?” and of course, “where can we get it?”

These police officers were husbands, boyfriends, and fathers.  Sex, relationships and fertility deeply matter to men too.

Eventually we facilitated a two-day workshop for the police and military groups. In the end, they committed to act as counselors or conflict negotiators for couples who disagree about the use of family planning.

And CARE was reminded about the importance of engaging men and boys as we go about our important work of empowering women and girls. If you invite men and boys to the discussion, the path to the world we want to create just gets that much shorter.

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Ebola: Lesson learned for future response

Mark Mosely, MAP International’s Vice-President of Relief

Mark Mosely, MAP International’s Vice-President of Relief

Ebola is a virulent virus killing well over half of the people it infects.  This Ebola outbreak is the worst we’ve seen in recent history and caught West African countries, and the many other nations who love and support them  (including the U.S.), off guard.  So what can we do to better prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks?

A key factor in MAP International’s swift response to the outbreak in March, 2014 was the fact that we had extensive inventories of personal protection suits (PPEs) as well as appropriate medicines and supplies on hand and ready to deploy. USAID had entrusted MAP to store, prepare and distribute PPEs in preparation for emerging pandemic threats, like the avian flu, in our implementing USAID Deliver’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program for 6 years. From this experience we know the healthcare community can better prepare in the future by having stockpiles of PPEs, gloves, masks and goggles, medicines and supplies  ready for quick shipment and distribution. These items are key in quickly responding at the initial onset of an outbreak and save the lives of healthcare workers on the front lines fighting the spread of the virus.  It is very possible that if more of these items had been immediately available in West Africa, the worldwide response could have slowed the spread of Ebola considerably.

What could have been done better by the health community this time around?  A large scale response should have been launched at the first sign Ebola was spreading, which was clear to MAP and its partners by March, 2014.  In future outbreaks, we must decisively respond to potential threats within factors present in the regions of origin to prevent the spread of a virus like Ebola and the encompass conditions which foster its expansion. Many parts of West Africa have porous borders i.e. people freely traveled from Guinea where Patient Zero’ was found to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and beyond.   When outbreaks occur we must have a clear response plan across multiple channels to allow NGOs who are already on the ground to mount a more efficient response.

 

A shipment from MAP, PCI Global and American Leprosy Missions arrives in Liberia.

A shipment from MAP, PCI Global and American Leprosy Missions arrives in Liberia.

Preparing for future outbreaks is easier said than done, as there are outside circumstances within affected countries that can unwittingly foster the expansion of the outbreak.  That said, the healthcare community and its many players have the training, experience, capacity and humanitarian mandate to more aggressively stem wide spread panic common to the Ebola outbreak.  People have fled hospitals, killed those infected, threatened those helping to provide treatment, and trumped available education and information – based prevention measures. This need for education extends from West African ministries of Health to a majority of Americans previously unaware of the Ebola virus and its deadly characteristics. But we must, as potential ramifications of failure to do so can be counted in 500,000 cases, each with a name, face and a future.

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In the Pursuit of Global Health Equity: Growing the Pie

Russel M. Medford MD, PhD

By Russell M. Medford MD, PhD, Managing Partner, The Salutramed Group, Inc.

Situation:  The global health needs of low- and middle-income countries far exceed the current level of overseas development aid coming from governments and from private philanthropy combined.  These needs also exceed the aid that is likely to be coming from these sources even if they both are scaled up. So there is a clear need for both another source of funding and new and innovative ways to fund and provide stuff, staff, systems and space for improving health and working towards global health equity.

Complication: But the private sector is new to this endeavor and could benefit from partnering from organizations that have worked in global health and we have a better chance of developing innovative programs and products if we put our heads together.

Therefore: There is potential to add a great deal of value by bringing together the global health partners in Atlanta—representing academia, government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector—to work on new ways of funding and innovative approaches to providing goods and services for health.

In our previous blog, we outlined a number of fundamental challenges facing the global health community here in Atlanta and throughout the world. Foremost among them is the recognition that the magnitude of the national and global health problems we face as a nation and world far exceed the government dollars allocated to combat them and that the important and growing role of philanthropy is not now, nor will be in the future, sufficient to fill the gap. The sobering reality is that closing this gap far exceeds the ability of any single organization. We would argue that there is a clear need for the building of a coalition, or alliance, of Atlanta’s national and global health stakeholders, including the private sector, to collectively develop, understand, refine, and implement new and innovative models of collaboration, funding and finance that augment the traditional models used today.

Given the complexities of interdependent societal challenges, priorities and aspirations, one may view each global health organization’s program(s) as but one of multiple “slices” of a fixed, or inadequately growing, pie of today’s traditional national and international resources allocated to health.  To a degree, enhanced competition for limited resources, along with advances in science, technology and communications, will improve the effectiveness of programs to deliver important national and global health outcomes. However, it is also clear that these “fixed pie” improvements are not sufficient to address the full magnitude of the mismatch between available resources and critical issues of national and global health. A sustainable solution must both increase the rigor and effectiveness of these programs but also “grow the pie” by bringing new sources of investment into the national and global health ecosystem.

The value of an alliance of Atlanta’s national and global stakeholders is apparent if one is to collaboratively explore and implement, in a rigorous and multidisciplinary fashion, innovative solutions to “grow the pie”. For example, impact investing is a nascent but increasingly important trend in the for-profit private sector that may have the potential to materially augment current and future national and global health initiatives. Impact investing is an investing approach that intentionally seeks to create both financial return as well as positive social and/or environmental impact that is actively measured.  In its 2014 survey of 125 major impact investment funds, J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) found that this group has 46bn USD under management, has committed USD 10.6bn in 2013 and intends to invest 19% more – USD 12.7bn – in 2014.  While still evolving as a mainstream investment vehicle, multifold growth is expected as impact investments under management represents only .02 percent of the USD 210 trillion global financial market.

Impact investing is but one example illustrating the need for an intentional and proactive partnership between government, philanthropy and the private sector to find new solutions and models if the full resources of society are to be brought to bear on the fundamental issues of human health and well-being, both here and abroad. Through an alliance of its extraordinary national and global health organizations and private-sector financial and corporate institutions, Atlanta is in a unique position to help our nation and the world reach that noble goal.

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The Power of Public-Private Partnerships

By Chloe Tonney, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the CDC Foundation

By Chloe Tonney, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the CDC Foundation

Today, public-private partnerships are vital to advancing and improving public health, and we at the CDC Foundation are grateful to our donors for their generous contributions of funds, expertise and engagement that help CDC save and improve lives in the United States and throughout the world.

The CDC Foundation has just released our fiscal year 2014 Report to Contributors, titled “Why I Give: A Celebration of Our Partners,” which has led me to reflect on the power of public-private partnerships to drive progress in health. The CDC Foundation’s support of CDC’s response to the current Ebola epidemic is one example of how private-sector funding can help fight global health threats. We are humbled by the generosity of our donors who are contributing millions of dollars to help CDC’s response in West Africa, including a $25 million grant, which we just announced, from Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan. Yet there are many other examples of how the public and private sectors are coming together to do amazing things.

For example, a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to facilitate CDC’s work with developing countries to train local public health workers and strengthen systems to better detect and respond to dangerous diseases like meningitis and rotavirus—and now Ebola.

Maternal and child health is another area where public-private partnerships are making a difference. Our mHealth Tanzania Partnership—led by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania with support from the CDC Foundation, CDC, and numerous Tanzanian and international public and private sector partners—is leveraging the booming mobile phone infrastructure in Tanzania to reduce maternal and infant mortality. Through the program, text messages and appointment reminders are sent at no charge to pregnant women and mothers of newborns, as well as to their supporters. In addition, programs with Bloomberg Philanthropies are collecting and analyzing data that can be used to inform efforts aimed at improving maternal and child health in Tanzania going forward.

There are myriad examples of how the meaningful engagement of donors is helping to enhance CDC’s efforts at home and abroad, including preventing infections in cancer patients, optimizing safe driving for teens, and developing an injection safety campaign for U.S. healthcare settings. In every case, we’re able to help solve big problems and allow CDC to pursue life-saving work that might not be possible without the support of external partners.

Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has launched 761 programs and raised more than $450 million to advance the life-saving work of CDC. We greatly appreciate our partners and celebrate their deep commitment that inspires us and supports CDC’s work to create a healthier, safer world for us all.

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A Chance to See Through the Eyes of a Girl

By Fredrick Anyanwu

By Fredrick Anyanwu

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently began showing an extraordinary collection of art at its T-Concourse Gallery. It’s called “Through the Eyes of a Girl” and features 39 vivid paintings and drawings collected from five countries last year. All of the artists are school-aged girls. Their work depicts their joys, aspirations and daily challenges as they work to pursue their educations. I hope people walking through the airport can spare a few minutes to look at the art.

I was fortunate enough to be part of CARE’s art gathering trip to Ghana’s Ashanti region and got to spend time with several of the girls as they painted and drew. I sat with and looked through the eyes of Jennifer, an 8-year-old orphan who loves math and hopes to be a bank manager when she grows up. Asked to do a self-portrait, she drew pictures of herself doing household chores alongside her cousins and grandmother.

I also saw through the eyes of community leaders who recognized that the high girls’ dropout rates in their communities help keep girls and their families mired in poverty. They worked with CARE on an outreach campaign to show parents that girls can still help around the house if they go to school – and girls who stay in school are less likely to get pregnant and more likely to get a good job as adults. CARE’s program in the area where Jennifer lives cut the girls’ dropout rate by 50 percent.

When people stop to the look at the art, I hope they see they something they find beautiful. And I hope they see what the girls who made the art see; that educating girls in the developing world is an investment that pays long-term economic, health and social dividends to families and communities.

For more information about Through the Eyes of a Girl, visit www.care.org/eyes.

 Fredrick Anyanwu is executive director of individual resource development for CARE. 

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Is There Hope For Haiti?

-Katie Pace, MAP International Public Content Specialist

Katie Pace, MAP International Public Content Specialist

A Tuesday afternoon in January of 2010 the worst natural disaster in the history of the Western Hemisphere changed the course of the Haitian people forever.  It’s been nearly five years since the earthquake shook Haiti and captivated Americans to generously engage in international charitable giving.  Considered to be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is ranked 149th of 182 countries on the Human Development Index.

The earthquake was catastrophic.  It took the lives of an estimated 200,000 people in under a minute and toppled an enormous amount of buildings, including the Presidential Palace and many other government facilities causing mass power outages in the only standing hospitals.  The American people couldn’t help respond as NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) flooded the country with humanitarian aid.  The news media were able to quickly gain entry to Haiti and reported the stench of death as there were more bodies than the Haitian government could ever recover.

With our extensive network of medical partnerships and over 40 years of service to healthcare providers in Haiti, MAP International quickly mobilized for an emergency relief response, as did the majority of humanitarian relief organizations in the U.S.  In the initial onset, tents were set up in critical areas and vital medical care was given to those in the aftermath.

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake would devastate many U.S. cities, so it’s no surprise that buildings in an impoverished nation tumbled and the recovery has been slow.

Some say the NGOs have failed on their mission to rebuild Haiti, but on a recent monitoring trip to Haiti, I would have to disagree.  It’s very true that the overall efforts had good intentions but somewhere along the way took a turn and money was mismanaged and misplaced by a number of organizations and the Haitian government.   The clean water needs weren’t met and a cholera epidemic ensued and infected nearly half a million Haitians.

I write this to remind you that this shouldn’t put a bad taste in our mouths about disaster relief and humanitarian aid during crisis.  Lives were saved.  I think that needs to be said twice, lives were saved.  Haitians that would have gone without healthcare and food were provided antibiotics, fortified foods, surgeries, treatment for cholera, dehydration and other serious conditions. Some of the amazing NGOs that are still on the ground, like our partners Hope for Haiti and Love A Child Haiti, have restored the hope of the Haitian people they serve.  They have built clinics and schools and use MAP’s medicines to stock these clinics and stop disease from spreading and increase the quality of human life.

14953813588_f4e4817916_oThe Haitian people are resilient. I believe that one woman I met in Haiti encompasses the true spirit of the Haitian people.  Her name is Sister Genova, a member of the Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity.  Since 1985, she has lived and worked among the Haitian people – she herself has become Haitian and she spends every day of her life serving the people of Haiti.  Six nuns care for over 300 patients, including malnourished children, disabled children and patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.  I have never been so amazed at what just six woman can accomplish.  It was heartwarming to watch her walk through the nursery while dozens of children cried because the electricity was out causing their only fan to stop. She was very deliberate to touch every single child as she comforted them without words.  Even though this sweet little woman had nothing, she still wanted to give us fruit from the hospitals garden – she washed it herself while on her knees.  The children were in the hospital above us singing, joyfully.  They may not have the luxuries we have in the United States, access to clean water, proper healthcare and nutrition – but what they do have is hope.  This little nun is the embodiment of Haiti, tenacity and a resilient courage.  I can tell you that there is hope for Haiti.

Please learn more about how MAP provides medicines at www.map.org and learn more about our partners on the ground Hope for Haiti www.hopeforhaiti.com and Love A Child www.loveachild.com.

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