Last week, a friend of mine asked me, “Where are you off to next John? Shanghai, China? Deschapelles, Haiti? Johannesburg, South Africa?” I smiled as I told him, that while Project HOPE continues to make progress in improving the health of people around the world with our health education and humanitarian assistance programs, my next visit would be a little closer to home, in the Mississippi Delta.
The Mississippi Delta is one of the poorest regions in our country. The population of 400,000 is spread out over 6,250 square miles. Infant mortality rate in the region is the highest in the country at 11.7 %. More than 70% of the population is overweight, and diagnosed diabetes impacts 12 % of the population.
Since 2006, the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) has been working to improve these dire health statistics by using a series of community based clinics, health education, medical training and innovative technology. Project HOPE began a partnership with the DHA earlier this year, to join in the effort of advancing the health of the people who live and work in the Delta.
Since our first visit to the Delta in late January of this year, Project HOPE has been able to donate nearly $70,000 worth of medicines and medical supplies and equipment to the DHA and their health care programs. Dr. Karen Fox, the CEO of the organization told us that the donations from HOPE’s generous corporate partners have had a positive impact on the DHA health programs. While visiting the Good Samaritan Clinic in Greenville, Dr. Fox pointed out that the donations provided by Project HOPE allow the clinic to stay open one day a week for an entire year, resulting in 1,500 patient encounters.
Of course, there is more to do. On this trip to the Delta, Project HOPE invited some of our long-time corporate sponsors to go along, to be inspired by the work going on in the region and to explore intersections of interests, so that all our organizations can work together to better the health of the children, women and men living in the Delta.
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