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HOPE works in more than 35 countires worldwide. Please enjoy our blog as we document the successes and challenges of our work to provide Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.
Posted By Amy Champagne on May 22, 2013
Six Project HOPE volunteers are in Belize for two weeks participating in New Horizons 2013, a humanitarian mission and training exercise led by the U.S. Air Force. The HOPE volunteers are working to improve the quality of obstetric care in Belize.
Amy Champagne is a first-time Project HOPE volunteer. She spent four years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps ending in 2009, and she received her BA in Sociology from the University of New Orleans in 2012. She is the Volunteer Operations Coordinator and Public Affairs Officer for this mission. Amy's hobbies include weight lifting, dancing, reading, traveling, learning and sleeping. Her favorite food is ceviche or cannolis; it's a tie.
Amy Kogut, originally from Boston, received a BS in Nursing from Simmons College and a MA in Midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently Amy is a stay at home mom with four children, three of whom are teenagers. Amy misses clinical practice and is looking forward to getting back to it soon. She really loves volunteer missions because they teach her not only about medicine but about herself as well. Her favorite food is seafood.
Amy said, “It’s been really wonderful meeting so many new Belizean health workers . All have been welcoming and very willing to share their knowledge and let us into their workspaces to see what they do. They are very aware of the gaps in care that they have.”
Alice Taylor is a second-time Project HOPE volunteer. Alice practices Midwifery in Gold Beach, Oregon. She has been providing women’s healthcare since 1978. Alice is very active in public health projects related to maternal and child health. Her hobbies include hiking, adventurous travel and sailing. Alice's favorite food is healthy ethnic food that makes the body feel good.
Alice explained, “I’m particularly enthusiastic about this mission for it’s potential to have a lasting impact - improving pregnancy and neonatal outcomes."
Cherri Dobson is an eight-time HOPE volunteer from Brentwood, CA. Cherri is a critical care nurse at Kaiser Permante Medical Center in Oakland, CA. She has over 26 years of experience in nursing. Cherri is also currently studying Clinical Nurse Leadership at Southern Alabama University. Cherri was runner up for Project HOPE's 2012 Volunteer of the Year award.
Holly Kirkland-Walsh is a Family Nurse Practitioner from Sacramento, CA. She is currently working on a dissertation at the University of California San Francisco. Her hobbies include reading, traveling and being adventurous. Her favorite food is Mexican.
Holly said, "I’m enthusiastic about assessment and process versus a task on this mission.”
Lindsay Zupancic, originally from Sacramento, CA, attended California State University, where she earned a BS in Kinesiology and Nursing. She currently works in Madera, California at Children’s Hospital Central California. Lindsay enjoys the outdoors, rowing, hiking and traveling; her favorite food is Italian food.
Posted By Amy Sousa, Eli Lilly and Co. and Project HOPE Volunteer on May 17, 2013
Like a lot of volunteers, I did my research ahead of time. On the history, the climate, the healthcare system, the greatest challenges facing the poor.
“I came open,” said one of my fellow volunteers. “Open to help, to do what I need to do, open to the experience.”
Now that I’ve been at the HOPE Centre healthcare clinic located in Zandspruit, an informal settlement in Johannesburg, South Africa, I see that as the better approach. The HOPE Centre provides treatment and education to local residents about health issues, especially diabetes and hypertension.
Unfortunately, openness still won’t protect you from the shock of seeing thousands of shacks leaning against each other for support, sewage running through the streets, and limited access to basic healthcare, water and electricity. But openness will keep you from being overwhelmed by the magnitude of need. It can actually focus you on the small – but critically important role -- part you play in improving the conditions that day…and hopefully beyond.
At the HOPE Centre, our team of 10 volunteers from Eli Lilly and Company includes medical doctors, pharmacists, diabetes educators, and communication specialists. We are helping conduct diabetes health screenings, improve patient understanding of chronic diseases and medication compliance, and support nutrition education and peer educator training.
It’s a lot to accomplish in two weeks. And it’s still not nearly time enough to meet the needs of patients living in these conditions. But we’re open to what we need to accomplish today. We’re open to the experience. We’re open to making a small difference, however we can, today. And we’re open to the possibility that through the great work of Project HOPE and Lilly, we can collectively make a big difference in the years to come.
Posted By Julie Williams, Eli Lilly and Co. and Project HOPE Volunteer on May 16, 2013
Julie Williams is one of ten Eli Lilly and Co. employees who are spending two weeks volunteering at the HOPE Centre in Zandspruit, South Africa as part of Lilly's Connecting Hearts Abroad program. At Lilly, Julie is Manager of Communications for Lilly Diabetes in Indianapolis. At the HOPE Centre, Julie is working to improve the clinic's communications capabilities.
I came to the Project HOPE Centre in South Africa thinking that I would not have much in common with the people I would meet here. How could I? We live half a world and an equator apart. In less than a week on the ground, everything’s changed.
For example, I noticed the young 20-something guys who have been working with our team are congenial and chatty, willing to tease and be teased. They get along well with each other and charm the adults around them.
Where I have I noticed this before? In my three 20-something sons when we all get together. It makes me see them in a whole new light.
On our first day, I met one of the clinic staff on our walking tour of the community. We shared family stories and really hit it off. I hadn’t seen her for several days, and today when we met up, she put her arm around me and said, “What have you been doing? I’ve missed you.”
Where have I heard that before? From my best friend at home when we’re both too busy to connect. It makes me see her in a whole new light.
I spent time today talking with a 72-year-old resident of Zandspruit about the dress she was making. Next to her she had a bag filled with projects at various stages of completion.
Where have I seen this before? In my grandmother, who always had a sewing project on her lap whenever she was sitting down. It makes me see her in a whole new light.
So when the elderly lady told me she has “sugar in the blood” (diabetes), high blood pressure, “takes the pills” (brown, white), and can’t see too well out of her right eye these days, I better understand why our volunteer work here at the Project HOPE Centre is so important. She is someone’s grandma.
I better understand why it’s important that the young men volunteer at the clinic. They are someone’s sons.
I better understand why the staff members at the clinic work so well together. They are friends.
Getting to know the people and patients at the HOPE Centre clinic has helped me see them in a whole new light. In spite of our many differences, the most important things are the same.
Posted By Cheena Malhotra on May 15, 2013
Project HOPE's Program Officer and Diabetes Expert in India, Cheena Malhotra, has been leading a discussion about the attributes of a good Diabetes Counselor on D-NET, a dynamic online forum created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for diabetes health professionals to meet new colleagues from around the world. Through this platform health professionals can discuss diabetes management, education, and research. A great platform for brainstorming and collaboration, the current D-NET session started on May 6 and runs through May 20. Cheena’s blog provides insight on the crucial role of the Diabetes Counselor.
I am honoured to lead the discussion, The Attributes of a Good Diabetes Counsellor, on D-NET and to share ideas about the future of diabetes education. As a Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator, I come into contact with a wide range of people of different ages, gender, demographics and ethnic backgrounds. The statistics on the total number of persons affected by diabetes is staggering – about 61.3 million according to the IDF. Needless to say, diabetes cannot be managed by clinical intervention alone.
Effective diabetes counselling requires a comprehensive approach to improve the patient’s understanding of the causes of the disease and how to control or manage it. Counselling can cover any of the following medical conditions:
· Pre- Diabetes
· Diabetes among Obese People
· Diabetes with Pregnancy (Gestational Diabetes)
· Diabetes among Children and Adolescents
· Diabetes in the Elderly
· Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes can impact many aspects of a patient’s health and family life. Effective diabetes counsellors must address important issues with a patient to nurture better health. Some of these issues may include the patient’s awareness of diabetes, nutritional counselling, lifestyle change, psychological (depression, anxiety) counselling, treatment adherence, marriage counselling, and genetic counselling. In my experience, this process can be extremely empowering for the patient, his/her family and very rewarding for the diabetes counsellor.
The attributes of a good diabetes counsellor encompass a disciplined approach to nurture and assist patients and families to overcome barriers. One such course of diabetes education in which counseling is inbuilt is Project HOPE's International Diabetes Educator E learning Program (IDEEL) which is likely to be online soon.
For all of those individuals aiming to be leading diabetes educators, I recommend IDEEL by Project HOPE for an in-depth understanding of diabetes management across different age groups.
Project HOPE has set some ambitious targets to train diabetes educators in India. Adapted from Project HOPE’s highly successful India Diabetes Educator Project, which provided training to 3,621 allied health professionals, the new International Diabetes Education E-Learning (IDEEL) program aims to increase patient access to qualified diabetes educators. The goal of IDEEL, which is scheduled to launch in June, is to train 4,500 educators annually in India and a total of 100,000 educators worldwide by 2018.
For more information on IDEEL, please contact: Cheena Malhotra, email@example.com
Posted By Amy Champagne on May 13, 2013
Amy Champagne, a recent graduate of the University of New Orleans and former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, is Project HOPE’s Volunteer Operations Coordinator for New Horizons 2013, a humanitarian mission to Belize orchestrated by the U.S. Air Force. Six Project HOPE volunteers participating in the mission will spend two weeks improving the quality of obstetric care in Belize.
I am honored to say that I am the first of the New Horizons team to arrive in Belmopan, Belize. After a long, tedious trip by plane, I arrived safely in this beautiful country. After driving from the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, I arrived at my temporary place of residence, KenMar B&B.
The Project HOPE volunteers participating in New Horizons 2013 will teach the course, Advanced Life Support Obstetrics (ALSO). ALSO focuses primarily on labor and delivery room emergencies. The course also covers prenatal risk assessment, and bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy. The volunteers will also spend time evaluating the current maternal health capabilities in Belize.
The HOPE volunteers and their Air Force counterparts will be split among three locations spanning the entire country. We will begin in Belmopan with our two person team of Holly Kirkland-Walsh and Lindsey Zupanic, who will teach obstetrics to five local health care workers. The second location, Orange Walk, will be taught by HOPE volunteer Amy Kogut. Finally, in Dangriga the ALSO course will be taught by Certified Nurse Midwife Alice Taylor, Cherri Dobson and myself.
The other Project HOPE volunteers arrive May 12th. Until then, I am keeping busy as a tourist. Today I found myself in the Belmopan market square. The market has an array of different fruits, vegetables and trinkets for sale. Craboo, which is only common in Belize, has become my favorite fruit. The local fruit is found in a wide range of dishes, drinks, and desserts. Craboo is quite versatile; its flavors can vary from sweet to sour, and some pieces even taste like cheese.
Belize is a melting pot of colorful personalities. My sole complaint would be how inconsiderate the roosters here are to their neighbors in the mornings!