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.

Nurturing and Strengthening Global NCD Partnerships to Defeat NCD Burden

Posted By: Laxmikant Palo, Ph.D. on November 5, 2015

Labels: India , Chronic Disease

Dr. Laxmikant Palo (far left) at the Lilly NCD Partnership Summit 2015 in Porto Alegre, Brazil

We all are well acquainted with the burden of Type 2 diabetes which accounts for a great share of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) overall. But what about the lesser known type 1 diabetes?

To draw greater attention and action to addressing both conditions, the Lilly NCD Partnership Summit 2015 took place recently in Porto Alegre, Brazil. It was an awe-inspiring event which answered my concerns and my worries suddenly felt feather like!

Let me first share my concerns: the number of children developing type 1 diabetes every year is increasing rapidly. A person with type 1 diabetes needs to follow a structured self-management plan, including insulin use and blood glucose monitoring, physical activity, and a healthy diet. In low-income set ups, access to self-care tools, including self-management education, as well as to insulin, is too often limited. This can lead to severe disability and early death in children with diabetes.

Dr. Laxmikant Palo (far left) at the Lilly NCD Partnership Summit 2015 in Porto Alegre, Brazil

During a field visit while in Brazil, I witnessed some great work done under the Lilly NCD Partnership. The Institute for Children with Diabetes (ICD) has pioneered comprehensive care model which includes innovative yet simple training and education tools for rooting the concept of type 1 diabetes management amongst children and adolescents along with their families. The goal is to help these children become more involved in their treatment and significantly reduce acute hospitalizations and chronic complications of diabetes. Unfortunately in India we lack such robust tailor-made care models catering to type 1 population. However I am highly optimistic that uptake of learnings and findings from the ICD model – and others best practices we saw during the summit can provide long lasting solutions to the problem of diabetes in India youngsters.  

The Lilly NCD Partnership once again underpins the strength of collaborative efforts for influencing the global NCD policies.

Volunteer in India Helps Community in Need

Posted By Jovin Panthapattu on November 3, 2015

Labels: India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East , Alumni, Volunteers

Jovin Panthapattu (far left) with the pharmacy team at the medical camp

Jovin Panthapattu is a final year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) candidate from the University at Buffalo, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a Project HOPE volunteer, he is completing his advanced pharmacy practice experience rotation at the Alluri Seetharama Raju Academy of Medical Sciences (ASRAM) Hospital in Vijayawada, India.

The Department of Community Medicine at ASRAM wants to teach its students to practice the three principles of community medicine: the prevention of disease, the promotion of health and the prolongation of life.

One such initiative is pop-up clinics (medical camps) in underserved areas with a volunteer workforce of health care professionals and students from ASRAM. Located primarily in schools, these clinics serve to prevent, detect and treat diseases through public health awareness and education. “We focus primarily on mothers and children, specifically school-going children and adolescent groups.” said Dr. P.G. Deotale, Professor and Head of the Department of Community Medicine at ASRAM. “These clinics are possible through the collaborative efforts of departments like pediatrics, orthopedics, general medicine, ophthalmology, ENT, and pharmacy, which he affectionately calls his ‘ASRAM Family.’”

Jovin Panthapattu volunteering at the prescription filling and dispensing station of the medical camp

A medical camp offers free services and allows patients access to health care which they might not have been able to afford. “Many of the patients we encounter live in extreme poverty, and community medical camps are often well received because they allow doctors to catch undiagnosed cases of common non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension.” said Dr. U. Vijay Kumar, Professor of Community Medicine. Services offered include ECG readings, eye checkups, blood pressure and blood glucose screenings. Through funding from the medical college, the pharmacy is able to provide medications free of charge to the patients. Patients also may be referred to ASRAM’s Urban Health Center, which provides free consultations, laboratory investigations and free medicines from a limited formulary. The camp I participated in last weekend saw roughly 200-300 patients during a three-hour period. 

As a volunteer at these medical camps, I had the opportunity to work with the pharmacy team. From sorting and organizing medicines to filling and dispensing prescriptions, I was involved in various aspects of the pharmacy workflow and operations. The biggest challenge during my time here has been the language barrier. I love counseling patients about their medications. However, since I don’t speak the language, it makes the conversation difficult, especially when there are additional regional dialects involved. Thankfully, a nurse was on our team and did an excellent job counseling patients about the medication. 

I am thankful for the plethora of opportunities afforded to me by ASRAM during my stay thus far. It has been a great learning opportunity, whether I was working with staff in the intensive care units or providing assistance with health care outreach initiatives in the community!

Helping Moms Have Safe Deliveries in the Philippines

Posted By Rogelio Ilagan, Project HOPE’s Program Director for Maternal/Child Health in the Philippines on October 8, 2015

Labels: Southeast Asia and the Middle East, The Philippines , Women’s and Children’s Health

Rogelio Ilagan, Project HOPE's Country Director for the Philippines, leads the PROMPT training session

In the Philippines, women die during childbirth at an alarming rate. The Philippines has not been able to reduce the number of deaths from childbirth as much as other developing countries have over the past few decades. A 2013 study of maternal deaths in the Philippines concluded that, despite the fact that women in labor were reaching a hospital in time, many health facilities are not able to manage serious obstetric complications. The medical staff of these facilities indicated they felt inadequately trained to deal with these emergencies.

Training for health care professionals for obstetric complications in the Philippines

Project HOPE is aiming to reduce the number of maternal and infant deaths from childbirth in the Philippines by improving the quality of care for moms in hospitals. Funded by Ferring, the three-year PROMPT (PRactical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training) program is designed for teams of all maternity staff. The program has published evidence of improvement of maternal outcomes in both developed and developing countries. This Project HOPE program is working with eight hospitals in the Philippines and the Philippines Obstetrical and Gynecological Society to achieve its goals.

In September we had an amazingly well attended Day 1 of the PROMPT training program with 100% attendance from our target list of eight hospitals with five team members each. It seems no one wanted to miss this international-caliber training program that Project HOPE is offering to obstetricians, anesthetists, OB residents and supervisory nurses. There were six rotating training drills for the participants in the following topics and scenarios: post-partum hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, shoulder dystocia, labor room board, sepsis and vaginal breech.

Participants in Day 1 training for obstetric emergencies in the Philippines

The participants greatly appreciated the teaching methodologies. They gave the PROMPT trainers almost perfect scores in the training assessment. Tomorrow, we will work on how PROMPT will actually be implemented in the hospitals. We will provide critiquing and coaching sessions and a planning session for integrating this team approach to dealing with obstetric emergencies in the hospitals.

Needs Increase for Refugees as Cold Weather Looms on the Horizon

Posted By Emilija Dukovski, Project HOPE Macedonia on October 1, 2015

Labels: Macedonia, Syrian Refugee Crisis , Disaster-Relief, Humanitarian Aid

Refugee Crisis Macedonia

As the weather gets colder, the number of migrants and refugees transiting through Macedonia continues to rise. Only a couple of months ago, the number averaged 2,000 a day. Today, the average is 4,000-5,000 refugees transiting on a daily basis, through Macedonia, to more permanent resettlement in the European Union countries.

The number of people asking for medical assistance each day at Macedonia’s two transit centers has also risen, to about 800 total requests per day.

Yesterday, the Project HOPE team again visited the General Hospital in Gevgelija, and the nearby transit center on the southern border of Macedonia with Greece. Last week, Project HOPE distributed its first shipment of donated medical supplies to support these medical facilities.

Donated Medicines Helping Refugee Crisis Macedonia

The hospital is receiving, on average, 15-20 patients a day. General fractures top the list of medical needs for the refugees. Consequently, HOPE’s donation including splints and bandage rolls has been put to immediate use. Donated examination gloves, syringes, masks, catheters and other supplies have also been put to use. The hospital staff told us they assisted a traveling mother in the birth of a healthy baby boy on September 29, which is the second birth that has taken place since the refugee crisis escalated in this hospital.

At the medical facility at the refugee transit center, the small medical team, including the doctor on site also emphasized that the Project HOPE-donated supplies are helping the small team provide better care. “The donated Tympanic thermometer makes our work much easier, especially with the pediatric patients,” the doctor said. “No such product was available to us prior to HOPE’s donation.”

At the time of our visit to the transit center, there were around 2,000 refugees waiting for the train to Kumanovo on the border with Serbia. It was clear that the women with babies, young children and men were not prepared for colder weather.

Refugee Crisis Macedonia

One young Syrian mother was waiting at the transit center for her husband to cross the border with another group of refugees. She told us she did not have any winter clothes. “It was summer when we started our journey,” she said. “My baby is only seven months old.” Thanks to the donations of clothes from the Macedonian people, the mother managed to find a jacket for her baby.

Since June 2015, the number of people that have been officially issued licenses to transit Macedonia is 102,753. No one expects that the crisis will come to an end any time soon.

In the meantime, the transit center is being adjusted for the upcoming colder weather. HOPE’s next shipment of donated medicines and supplies is scheduled to arrive within the month.

Student Pharmacist with HOPE in India

Posted By Jovin Panthapattu, Project HOPE volunteer on September 29, 2015

Labels: India , Alumni, Volunteers

Volunteer Jovin Panthapattu in ASRAM hospital's pharmacy

Jovin Panthapattu is a final year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) candidate from the University at Buffalo, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a Project HOPE volunteer, he is completing his advanced pharmacy practice experience rotation at the Alluri Seetharama Raju Academy of Medical Sciences (ASRAM) Hospital in Vijayawada, India.

I have spent the last couple of weeks at the ASRAM Hospital observing pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical care. I have been fortunate to work in the intensive care unit, where I have found the staff eager to learn about the similarities and differences in the practice of medicine between India and the United States.

Jovin Panthapattu with staff of ASRAM hospital in the ICU

Being a student pharmacist trained to practice in the United States, I have often found myself jumping to initial conclusions about the delivery of pharmaceutical care. After conversing with Indian physicians, I learned that they provide more than just medical care; they also perform the duties of a case manager, often considering patient affordability during and after the hospital visit. I found the doctors and nurses to be very knowledgeable in their respective areas, but the lack of access to resources often required them to adapt the care provided.

I started my rotation at ASRAM as a passive observer of ICU care, but over time I have become more involved in patient care. I often find myself conversing with physicians about pharmaceutical care and treatment guidelines, teaching nurses about proper medication administration and surveying patient charts for any potential medication errors or adverse drug interactions. 

I have been fortunate enough to observe clinical cases which are only mentioned in US textbooks. Being in a teaching and learning institution, I am able to network with students and faculty from the department of community medicine and learn about prevention education measures. I also assist in community outreach. I am only halfway through my journey at ASRAM, and I am hoping the next half will be as equally exciting as the first!

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