Janet Taylor, a GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals’ Health Systems Account Manager, has been volunteering at Project HOPE since June of 2012 as part of GSK’s PULSE Volunteer Program. Janet has been supporting and growing HOPE's successful medical donation program and recently had the opportunity to travel to some of HOPE's donation sites in Kosovo and Macedonia.
I had an incredible week working with the Project HOPE team in Macedonia and Kosovo. The years of civil war have made it extremely difficult for the Ministries of Health in Macedonia and Kosovo to stretch their resources to provide the health care that their citizens desperately need. In recent years many NGOs have pulled resources out of the Balkans, but patients are still in need of 21st century care.
We visited four health care facilities in Skopje, Macedonia including Special Hospital for Psychiatry - Skopje built in the early 1950s when Macedonia was part of communist Yugoslavia.Because of Project HOPE’s donations of medicines and supplies, important improvements have been made to the facilities for this normally neglected patient population.
Our Kosovo visit included stops at the General Hospital Ferizaj and The University Clinical Center, where the pharmacy administrators were very anxious for us to see how they carefully tract Project HOPE donations.
In both countries, every hospital administrator, clinician and Ministry of Health representative expressed gratitude for Project HOPE’s Strategic Medical Resupply Program (SMRP) and its donors. They were also open to discuss the next phase of partnership with Project HOPE including the possibility of medical staff training and more patient education. While in Skopje, I had the opportunity to meet with the GSK Macedonian In-Country Team. What an awesome group. We discussed the PULSE Program and the prospect of additional collaboration with Project HOPE.
Finally, I would also like to recognize the extraordinary dedication of the Project HOPE staff based in Macedonia. During my visit, the dedicated members of the team waited in Kosovo away from their families and friends, to receive and inventory a shipment of medicines and medical supplies stalled in customs. After calls from the Kosovo Ministry of Health the shipment was finally released on the third day at 11:00pm. The Project HOPE staff never lost focus. It was about doing whatever was necessary to get the medicines and other medical supplies to the Kosovo facilities and the patients who needed them.
I will always be grateful to the Project HOPE staff in Macedonia for their warmth and generosity and for sharing information about Macedonia’s culture and extraordinary history. I am also grateful for their dedication to the patients in Macedonia and Kosovo, I found their work truly inspiring.
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