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HOPE works in more than 35 countries worldwide. Please enjoy our blog as we document the successes and challenges of our work to provide Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.

Project HOPE Volunteers Help with Mass Casualty Drill aboard Hospital Ship USNS Mercy

Posted By: Molly Broderick on July 1, 2015

Labels: Papua New Guinea , Alumni, Volunteers

Project HOPE volunteers participate in a mass casualty exercise aboard the USNS Mercy on Pacific Partnership 2015

In addition to seeing patients in the field and working on the hospital ship USNS Mercy, a big portion of Project HOPE’s role on this mission is working alongside the military to ensure optimal. This means that when we’re underway (i.e., en route to our next destination - Papua New Guinea), we are constantly learning and preparing for the next step. From abandon ship drills to culture education seminars, there is never a dull moment.

One of the more exciting drills was the mass casualty drill. The ship’s nursing department simulated a disaster scenario to which the Mercy had to respond. The scenario was that a boat carrying 35 refugees caught fire, suffered minor explosions and started to sink. This simulation involved the whole ship, ensuring that in a real emergency situation everyone knows his/her role and will be prepared. From the search and rescue teams to the medical teams to the public affairs department, everyone was on alert.

My day started with HOPE volunteer Rose Wilson, a pediatric nurse from Melbourne, Australia participating in her third Pacific Partnership mission. I watched as she and the other ‘victims’ congregated in the casualty receiving area of the ship to get their roles assigned and get made up. The nursing department came prepared with simulation kits and props. When it was time to begin the drill, the ship was teeming with severe sunburns, various shrapnel wounds and even one wayward eyeball!

Project HOPE participates in a mass casualty exercise aboard the USNS Mercy on Pacific Partnership 2015

Project HOPE volunteers Alexa Koenig, Kim Kancir and Caitlin Mateer and Project HOPE Volunteer Programs Specialist Kenly Flanigan were each assigned different victims and areas. So I spent the rest of the drill tracking them and their patients. I watched Alexa receive and treat a young boy (played by a guy on the ship) with a shrapnel wound to the abdomen. Kenly triaged a woman (played by another guy on the ship) with tissue burns on her arm. Rose played a man who had been separated from his family and didn’t speak English, making communication with the medical teams difficult.

While there were many times during the drill that I was laughing, the seriousness of it did not escape me. I was amazed at how each person playing a victim committed to his or her role. The whole drill really would not have been effective if this hadn’t been the case.

Kenly Flanigan agreed, saying “It was exciting to be a part of the drill and see how well the coordination between and planning by the military and NGOs was executed impeccably.”

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Volunteers Arrive in Fiji for Pacific Partnership 2015

Posted By: Molly Broderick on June 29, 2015

Labels: , Humanitarian Aid, Volunteers

Molly Broderick

Hello everyone! I’m Molly Broderick, and I’ll be documenting the first two rotations of Project HOPE’s participation in Pacific Partnership 2015 (PP15). The Project HOPE PP15 team has finally assembled in Fiji, and our days have been busy!

Several volunteers arrived early, boarding the ship in either San Diego or Hawaii and sailing for two weeks to Fiji. So we spent our days underway on the USNS Mercy organizing and sorting supplies and helping to prep the patient wards.

One of the most critical aspects of this mission is to empower the people we visit with the knowledge and means to take care of themselves. So we worked alongside U.S. military and partner nations’ military to make sure we were fully prepared for boots on the ground in Fiji. We sorted everything from Band-Aids and soap kits to water filters and medical supplies, all to be handed out to the attendees of health fairs, installed during outreach missions, and distributed during hospital visits.

Team HOPE is enjoying our time collaborating with the military and our partner and host nations, and the exchange of knowledge among the participants will undoubtedly be the key to making this mission a success.

More to come on our adventures in Fiji…

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Meet the Volunteers on the First Rotation of Pacific Partnership 2015

Posted By: Molly Broderick on June 23, 2015

Labels: Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Vietnam , Alumni, Volunteers

Project HOPE medical volunteers have joined Pacific Partnership 2015 to provide medical care and training to local health care professionals in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam over the course of three rotations.

Alexa Keonig

Alexa Keonig is an ICU nurse from Washington D.C. and is a first-time Project HOPE volunteer. In addition to her desire to get involved in a humanitarian mission, Alexa also plans to join the Army as a nurse anesthetist. Alexa jumped at the chance to volunteer with Project HOPE on Pacific Partnership 2015. She is excited for this opportunity to get involved and gain experience collaborating with partner nations as well as learning how the US military functions in a medical capacity. She is most looking forward to the community health engagements (CHEs), subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) and making a difference in our host nations' health care systems. Alexa is a firm advocate not just for medical aid but for health care education as well. Alexa says, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Rose Wilson

Rose Wilson is a pediatric nurse from Melbourne, Australia. She is participating in her third consecutive Pacific Partnership mission. Rose first volunteered with Project HOPE for Pacific Partnership 2013 as a pediatric nurse. She enjoyed her experience so much that she joined the team for Pacific Partnership 2014, this time working as the operations coordinator for the HOPE team. This year Rose is functioning as the operations and logistics officer for Project HOPE and is excited to gain a different perspective on the mission. Rose is working closely with the Civil Military Coordination Center on board. She is also collaborating with U.S. Army and Australian officers to coordinate and manage all of the volunteers on the USNS Mercy to maximize efficiency and effectiveness on this mission. She is most looking forward to our visit to Papua New Guinea, because she is excited to explore and have a positive impact on a part of the world she has not yet seen.

Caitlin Mateer

Caitlin Mateer is a pediatric nurse from Melbourne, Australia and a first-time Project HOPE volunteer. She currently works at the Royal Children's Hospital in the adolescent and rehabilitation ward, working with patients in post-surgery physical rehabilitation, long ICU stays and after car accidents. Caitlin has always been interested in participating in a humanitarian mission and jumped at the chance to join Project HOPE on Pacific Partnership when her coworker, Rose Wilson, told her about her previous experiences with Project HOPE and Pacific Partnership missions. Caitlin grew up in a military family; her father and brother were in the Royal Australian Navy. So she is familiar with the practices of living with military on a ship. Caitlin has enjoyed comparing Australian customs with those of Americans, and she is happy to delight coworkers with her accent and "foreign" words during her presentations. Caitlin is most looking forward to getting out into the community to provide basic health care, particularly pediatric health care that might be taken for granted in more developed nations. She is looking forward to making a difference supporting surgeries such as those for cleft palates, which will significantly improve the lives of children in our host nations.

Dan Dlugose

Dan Dlugose is a nurse from Colorado and a third-time Project HOPE volunteer. He is joining the Project HOPE team for the first rotation of Pacific Partnership 2015 and will be working on shore in our host nations as a health educator. Dan will be working at health fairs, teaching basic life support and techniques. Dan first became involved with Project HOPE on Pacific Partnership 2013, when he decided to pursue his dream to participate in humanitarian missions. He spent the last years of his career working in high-tech applications like computer-assisted neurosurgery and is eager to share his experience with the people of Fiji. Dan was initially exposed to the developing world as a navy corpsman on a hospital ship in Vietnam and other places in the Western Pacific, and he has always wanted to return to help in any way he could. Dan chose to join Project HOPE because it offers many opportunities to get involved. Dan is most looking forward to meeting some Fijians and doing some basic health care education in Fiji.

Molly Broderick

Molly Broderick is a first-time Project HOPE volunteer from Boston. She is excited to be a part of the Pacific Partnership 2015 mission. Molly will be documenting, via photos and written accounts, the work of the HOPE volunteer nurses and doctors and sending updates throughout the mission in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.

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Four “Clinic in a Can” Units Installed at Final Destinations

Posted By Carrie Jo Cain, World Hope International (Project HOPE's Partner in Sierra Leone) on June 23, 2015

Labels: Sierra Leone , Humanitarian Aid, Infectious Disease

The

Four "Clinic in a Can" units were donated to Project HOPE. World Hope International, Project HOPE's partner NGO in Sierra Leone, is coordinating their installation.

Last Thursday, four “Clinic in a Can” units arrived at the World Hope International field office in Makeni, Sierra Leone from where they travelled to their final destinations. Each place we went, people were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the container. Here are some highlights of what I experienced as the containers were installed.

Old Government Hospital in Makeni

For a short while now, a part of the Old Government Hospital has been used as a clinic to meet the special needs of Ebola survivors of whom many – even after months of their discharge – continue to suffer from weakness, joint pains and other aches. One of the clinics was handed over to the two Community Health Officers in Makeni who are responsible for the survivors’ clinic. They will use the container as an examination room. The whole team of the survivors’ clinic had come to see the arrival of the container – even those who weren’t on duty. A lot of “wow – this is even much bettern than we thought” exclamations could be heard when the doors were finally opened.

The Clinic in a Can unit arrives at Kasumpe Ebola Holding Center

Kasumpe Ebola Holding Center

Kasumpe Ebola Holding Center, located 10 miles from Kabala in Koinadugu district, was built during the Ebola epidemic. But compared to most treatment and community care centers, it was designed as a permanent unit to provide long-term health care in that area. The District Medical Officer of Koinadugu District is currently rebuilding the holding center to make it an infectious disease specialty center in his district. He has a great vision with his container. It will be the cornerstone of his specialty center to treat all tropical infectious diseases like cholera, typhoid, lassa fever, meningitis and others.

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Doing the Right Thing

Making Maternal Health a Shared Responsibility in Factories and Farming Villages in Indonesia

Posted By: Kristina Gryboski, Ph.D. on June 17, 2015

Labels: Indonesia , Women’s and Children’s Health, Health Systems Strengthening

During my week visiting HOPE's Women's and Children's health programs in Indonesia, I have written about new efforts in both factories and villages for healthy pregnancies and childbirth. A healthy childbirth depends so much on what happens during pregnancy. Women can’t do it all by themselves. Project HOPE’s programs reach women where they are - in villages and in factories - to ensure they and key decision makers have the right information and systems to make safe delivery possible.

Traditional Birth Attendants and midwives work together to provide healthier births in Indonesia.

I met with one of those decision makers whose support can save mothers’ lives while visiting a village in the Serang District, where Project HOPE is implementing a program funded by Johnson & Johnson. The project is strengthening the capacity of health services to handle obstetric emergencies and is also working with communities to make sure they have systems in place for women to reach care in time. I met with Village Chief, Mr. Hasan, who has implemented a Safe Birth Preparedness System (DesaSiaga). The system has a pooled fund for maternal emergency needs, a vehicle for use as an ambulance, walking blood donors (people available to give blood when necessary), and an identification system of all pregnant women. The program also ensures family knowledge, providing education on the danger signs during pregnancy and delivery, and where to seek help. While this village-level system has been a national policy for several years, in this district most of the villages were not fully implementing it when the project started. Mr. Hasan has initiated an association of neighboring village chiefs to form health teams for better coordination and to create further commitments among other chiefs to ensure this system is active. Another decision maker is the Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA), who the community respects. The village TBA is now encouraging women to deliver with a midwife, with whom she partners at childbirth.

This grandmother is now taking care of her daughter's twins. Without proper emergecny services, her daughter died durign childbirth.

Factories are also part of shared responsibility for safe motherhood. Earlier in the week, I visited two of the five factories in Subang, Indonesia, where Project HOPE works to improve maternal health, funded by MSD Merck for Mothers. Project HOPE has helped the factory clinics introduce ongoing anemia screening of women. Anemic women are more likely to die from post-partum hemorrhage, which is one of the top causes of maternal death. Anemia was detected in 40% of the women. Pregnant women are now provided iron tablets by the factories, and all women are offered counseling and referral to the free government supply of iron tablets for women of reproductive age. Over 85% of the women are under 34 years of age and in prime childbearing years. Preventing anemia prior to pregnancy gives them a better chance for a healthy birth outcome and also improves their well-being and productivity. The factory management is now making it part of their business practice to provide the screening and treatment.

It’s clear that when maternal health matters to decision makers -whether they are factory managers or village chiefs, women can get the support they need and deserve for a healthy pregnancy and motherhood. Project HOPE is committed to ensuring that decision makers have the information and systems in place to do the right thing to prevent maternal deaths.

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