For the past few days, we have been witnessing the impact of HOPE’s health education programs in China. For a shining example of how HOPE responds to humanitarian disasters with recovery programs that not only help relief efforts, but help strengthen health systems, Project HOPE’s new Chairman of the Board, Richard Clark, the HOPE delegation, and I, visited the Dujiangyan Medical Center in the Sichuan Province.
I first visited the Dujiangyan Hospital just two weeks after the massive 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed more than 4,000 people and injured nearly 10,000 in the historic City alone.
The hospital was damaged by the earthquake, but busy medical professionals, some trained by HOPE’s Rural Training Program, were working day and night to care for injured victims.
Project HOPE immediately coordinated the delivery of more than $1 million of medical supplies to the relief effort. But more importantly, we helped set-up a Rehabilitation Medicine Training Program that has not only benefited the people of Dujiangyan recovering from earthquake related injuries, but now serves others needing rehabilitative medical care and has expanded to other regions in China.
Three years after the massive earthquake, the Dujiangyan Medical Center is in a brand new building. We were greeted at the hospital entrance by dozens of energetic medical professionals attending the Fourth Rehabilitation Train the Trainer Workshop.
As Mr. Clark and I spoke at the opening ceremonies of the workshop, alongside Chinese government officials, Ministry of Health representatives and hospital administrators, we couldn’t help but be proud of the accomplishments of this successful collaboration. To date, the rehabilitation training program established by HOPE has:
- Trained 41rehabilitation professionals
- Developed 11 health facilities in Dujiangyan City
- Developed 5 health facilities outside Dujiangyan City
- Served 219 earthquake injured patients
- Trained 336 community health care workers
- Educated 1285 community residents
While the numbers are impressive, it is the stories of the individuals impacted by HOPE programs that really touch the heart.
We met several patients on our visit to Dujiangyan including Mr. Wang. Mr. Wang was buried under ruble during the 2008 earthquake. Immediately following the earthquake, Mr. Wang received an important surgery performed by a HOPE-trained doctor. The surgery, along with the rehabilitation care he received from HOPE-trained medical professionals has allowed Mr. Wang to regain much of his mobility. I‘ve have met with Mr. Wang on almost every subsequent visit I have made to the hospital since the earthquake. Still, Mr. Wang made a point to visit the Dujiangyan Medical Center once again, this time to meet Mr. Clark, and show the HOPE delegation his continuing progress.
From seeing the eager faces of medical professionals attending the rehabilitative care workshop, to visiting with patients who are benefiting from the program, it was rewarding for our delegation to observe first-hand how HOPE stepped in to help during a crisis, and with the support of the Chinese Ministry of Health and dedicated staff of the Dujiangyan Medical Center, we have supported continuing medical needs by helping to develop a model for training rehabilitation professionals that is expanding throughout China.
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