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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Medical camps bring healthcare to the doorsteps of isolated communities in Pakistan

For the people of Rajputan, a small Pakistani village near the Indian border, twenty kilometers of muddy road is all that stands between them and a doctor. But, without transportation, twenty kilometers might as well be a thousand. Most have never visited the nearest hospital. For the very sick, the travel itself could be a death sentence.

Basic primary healthcare is a right similarly denied to over 35 million other rural villagers. Healthcare systems do not always extend to remote areas. Doctors, medical equipment, supplies, and medicines are not always available. Even where functioning facilities exist – as they do close to Rajputan – lack of transportation, money, and awareness prevent villagers from taking advantage of them.

In this context, organizations all over Pakistan have learned that it is vital to bring healthcare to the doorsteps of the people.

Free medical camps held in remote rural areas are an effective way to treat vulnerable populations. More importantly, the camps provide an opportunity to teach villagers how to avoid common illnesses through simple preventative measures and diagnose health problems before they become fatal. Prevention is more important than the cure.

HOPE International Development Agency’s local partners in Pakistan organize hundreds of free medical camps in remote rural areas every year. At a recent medical camp this month in Rajputan, over 650 men, women, and children came to wait in long, hot lines for a chance to see a doctor without having to first walk for hours.

Each medical camp requires substantial commitment and hard work not only from our partners but from a variety of local volunteers including doctors, nurses, and administrators. HOPE International Development Agency supports their efforts by sending medicines and medical supplies for use in the camps. Several shipping containers have been sent, but many more are needed. In Pakistan, bringing healthcare to the people will require our ongoing commitment and compassion as well.

Learn more about the work of HOPE International Development Agency.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sri Lanka and Haiti: Never Underestimate the Local Solution

In 2005, when a considerable amount of aid flowed into Sri Lanka to assist survivors of the Asian Tsunami, there was a story of a 20-ft shipping container full of pepper that had been donated by some well-meaning but misguided donors. What was someone who had just lost their home to do with a sack of pepper? This is amusing, yes, but also a tragedy – such a waste of generosity at a time great suffering. This, unfortunately, was one of many such stories.

At the same time, however, there were tales of heroism and generosity among the people living in or nearby affected communities. Residents rallied to establish search parties for those still missing, or help build temporary shelter from debris, or to share meals with one another, to care for each other. Locally, so much was done to help.

During times of crisis, or simply within the context of poverty, the power and effectiveness of a local solution is proven over and again. Who better to make a difference for another person in need than someone who is there? Local understanding of the language, social and political context, geography, and people is critical to providing help that is both appropriate and cost-effective.

Being a steward of donated money HOPE International Development Agency strongly believes in enabling local solutions in times of disaster and in the context of poverty.

For instance, now during the crisis in Haiti, HOPE International Development Agency has been able to support established networks of medical professionals fully engaged in helping survivors from day one. It has been important to get some resources – supplies, medicines – to Haiti and this is proving extremely difficult in a poor country where the primary communications and transportation infrastructure was destroyed. However, by working with committed friends in the Dominican Public, HOPE International Development Agency has been able to get aid to people in Haiti who know how best to use it, and do so quickly.

To take this approach, HOPE International Development Agency must have relationships with people from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These relationships existed before the earthquake, and will be strengthened because of the collaboration now taking place. It is a healthy relationship borne out familiarity, and anchored in trust.

But the role of the donor is essential. There is an extreme lack of resources in parts of our world. HOPE International Development Agency endeavors to exchange donations received into a tangible expression of compassion where it is needed. By working with our friends living in places facing crisis and hardship, HOPE International Development Agency maximizes the benefits of this exchange.

Learn more by visiting

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Filmmakers bring stories of hope

Our small team of volunteer filmmakers is traveling this week to Bonke district, Ethiopia. They will be there to capture, in their inimitable way, the situation of families living right on the edge. There are thousands of families in this district without access to clean water; for them preventable deaths and chronic illness is the rule.

We are extraordinarily grateful for the volunteers who use their considerable skill to tell the story of families living in poverty. From year to year, professionals Mark Chow, Laurie Case, Rob Kelly, Tanya Maryniak, Craig Cross, Joe Babcock, and Murray Forward, decide among themselves who can take out the time to travel, film, direct, produce, and edit a powerful documentary for the benefit of HOPE International Development Agency’s friends and supporters. They donate hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars of professional work, and in the end, they give us a story.

Learn more about the work of HOPE International Development Agency by visiting

Monday, February 8, 2010

HAITI UPDATE: More medicines and medical supplies bring more hope!

Four weeks after the earthquake, the staff of Justiniano Hospital, north of Port-au-Prince, continue treating Haitians who fled Port au Prince and surrounding areas in a desperate search for treatment of their injuries.

Doctors and nurses at the hospital are greatly encouraged by the arrival of significant quantities of additional medicines and medical supplies delivered late yesterday afternoon by HOPE International Development Agency. Barry Bartel, a HOPE colleague on the ground in Haiti coordinating the effort, accompanied the shipment.

The shipment is the third such shipment, and more shipments are on the way as workers at the hospital and other distribution areas strive to help as many of the survivors as possible.

A public health specialist assisting at the hospital says that the medicines and medical supplies provided by HOPE International Development Agency are crucial and are exactly what is needed due to high demand and short supply.

Bringing medicines and supplies overland from the Dominican Republic, a strategy employed by HOPE International Development Agency within 24 hours of the earthquake, continues to be a very effective way to deliver the supplies as rapidly as possible.

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