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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 Jann Schultz, Project HOPE on March 22, 2014
It's rainy season in Namibia, and the fields along the roads we travel are lush and green with corn and other crops. The Kavango River overflows its banks as the weather sweeps storms westward.
But here, a pothole-filled road leads to a bleak setting. Hidden away from the rest of the village of Nkurenkuru is the local TB ward. Two small buildings have been set apart to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.
The first building we come to is the regular tuberculosis ward, where patients arrive for their initial treatment and care. Co-infection with malaria is an issue here, because of the close proximity to the river and the tall unkempt grass. Each patient's bed is hung with a tattered mosquito net, not providing much protection.
Across a rocky strip of dirt lies the second ward, with doors hanging ajar and looking even more dilapidated. Here, patients are treated for DR TB, which stands for various forms of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
We came here to meet with David, the Project HOPE Field Promoter at the TB clinic. He's a few minutes late because of the heavy workload. The first thing we notice about him is that he arrives back from a home visit on a shiny new bicycle. He shows it off proudly; it’s a donation from USAID.He's pleased because it will allow him to now reach even more villagers in need, getting him from home to home and back to the clinic more quickly.
He tells us the story of a shy little girl, Miriam, who he recently brought back to the clinic. Her treatment was interrupted because her nomadic parents were no longer providing her the medication she needs. He believes that by getting her back to the clinic, where he can keep an eye on her, and making sure she is taking her full treatment of medication, he will be able to save her life. Despite not knowing where her parents are, she smiles and appears hopeful for the future.
This is just one example of the many ways Project HOPE is working to win the war against TB in Namibia and around the world. Please support these efforts. Because David and his bicycle have hundreds, if not thousands, of other homes to visit. And more children, like Miriam, to save.
Village Savings and Loan Program in Thipanana Village, along the Kavango River, Namibia
Posted By Jann Schultz, Project HOPE on March 19, 2014
They proudly waited for our arrival, a small group of women and men gathered in a semi-circle under a tree, clutching their notebooks and pencils. We are honored to witness the meeting of the Thipanana village VSL Group (Village Savings and Loan.)
Welcomed by the Chairman and after proper greetings are exchanged, we pause respectfully while there is a short prayer which is the official start to their meeting. Formalities over, we have the opportunity to speak with several women whose families are mostly subsistence farmers along the banks of the Kavango River.
We are here to learn how this economic strengthening program, developed and implemented by Project HOPE, has made a difference in their lives. This program provides the framework for regular health education and parenting skills training.
We hear how one Mother has learned the importance of washing hands with soap and to regularly wash their bedding to help prevent illness. And another shares that she has learned how to better understand the orphans in her care – and their natural grieving process – for the parents they lost of HIV/Aids. And a third Mother shares how she has learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis, so that she can seek treatment for herself and family members.
Today, the Project HOPE VSL Field Promoter, in his bright yellow t-shirt with the words “STOP TB” is also on hand to share more information about tuberculosis. Bright yellow leaflets that match his shirt are passed out and carefully reviewed. Early identification and treatment of TB will help stop the spread of this terrible disease in the Kavango Region.
With their training complete, the keys are produced and community savings lockbox is opened. Inside are the individual passbooks for each group member. HOPE provides the lockbox, a calculator and passbooks along with the education in the economic strengthening program and guidance for each community group. Carefully, each member of the group comes forward with her precious amount of Namibian dollars that she has put away, waiting for this day where it will be added to the community savings.
There is animated discussion about the use and purpose of the savings. Will a grant be made to community member who needs funds for transport for medical treatment? Will a loan be made to a farmer for livestock and what will the terms of that loan be? Is there an opportunity for the purchase of materials so the group could make baskets to be sold at a regional market?
Your donations make this incredible work possible. With your support and the Project HOPE Village Savings and Loan program - community groups just like the one in Thipanana Namibia - are empowered to improve the health and wellbeing of their families.
Chiseho Orphans and Vunerable Children Program, in Choto village, outside Katima Mulilo, Namibia
Posted By Jann Schultz, Project HOPE on March 17, 2014
The singing and dancing surrounds the van as we pull into the Chiseho Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) program, in Choto, an impoverished village on the outskirts of Katima Mulilo in Namibia. A smiling face that belongs to a young boy a bit taller than the rest of the children greets us and waves. He tells us his name is Matiti and hugs each person as we get out of the van. These children are all orphans and vulnerable children that are being supported by Project HOPE. A woman named Mary, has opened her home to provide a soup kitchen for these children. She is able to feed them only twice a week, but they come each day for a safe place to stay while their parents go off to seek work in the nearby town.
Mary has turned one room of her small two room home, into a shelter for these children. Matiti, at age ten, remains behind with the younger children, because he has nowhere else to go. He was abandoned by his mother, because of his special needs – considered cursed by most in the village. Without shelter, without clothes or a birth certificate that will allow him to go to school – he faces an uncertain future.
But for now, he has found care and compassion at the Project HOPE OVC program. Mary was trained by Project HOPE field staff and she has passed on that training to others in the community who also come to help her support the more than 120 vulnerable children in the village.
We spend time with the children and we listen to the mothers share the stories of the positive impact the program has had on their lives. They want to continue to pass on the knowledge and expand the program beyond their small village – which is why a gentleman from a village 50km away has come to speak with us. He has land and has identified 160 vulnerable people in his community who need help. He just needs Project HOPE.
And we need you. You can help make these programs possible. And we need your support for those children who are waiting, so that like Matiti, they have a safe place to go.
Posted By Alison Brandt, Communications Specialist for Project HOPE on February 27, 2014
As we have previously reported on our website, recording artist and 2012 American Idol finalist Jeremy Rosado is donating a portion of the proceeds from his new single “Hope for Tomorrow” to Project HOPE’s disaster recovery work in response to Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013. In celebration of the launch of “Hope for Tomorrow,” a red carpet event was held Tuesday evening at the Hard Rock Café in Nashville, Tennessee, where Jeremy performed a set of songs from his soon-to-be released debut album No Ordinary Moments.
Project HOPE’s Director of Institutional Development Karen Carr and I were on-hand at the event to represent Project HOPE and spread the word about how HOPE is helping the Philippines rebuild its health care capacity following the immense destruction caused by the typhoon. The event was well-attended by such luminaries in the Nashville music scene as Grammy-nominated songwriter Aaron Rice and singers Schyler Dixon and Kerrie Roberts.
A highlight of the evening was meeting Project HOPE alumna Carole Rietz, RN. A local resident of Nashville, Carole was a nurse anesthetist aboard the SS Hope on a humanitarian mission to Tunisia in 1969 and 1970. A sprightly woman, Carole is eager to volunteer for Project HOPE once again now that she has retired from her nursing position at Vanderbilt University MedicalCenter and has some more free time. And we hope she will!
Jeremy did an excellent job singing a set of songs from No Ordinary Moments. Following a striking duet with Kerrie Roberts, he performed “Hope for Tomorrow” to a standing ovation.
I was delighted to be able to celebrate the launch of “Hope for Tomorrow” with Jeremy and am thrilled that he is supporting HOPE and our work in the Philippines. If you have not yet downloaded your copy of “Hope for Tomorrow,” you can do so by clicking this link. And don’t forget to enter our contest to travel with Jeremy to the Philippines to see Project HOPE’s work first-hand. The contest has been extended to May 1. You can enter the contest here.
Posted By Theresa Chan, MD, Project HOPE Volunteer, Philippines Rotation 4 on February 11, 2014
Theresa Chan, MD of Ashland, Oregon is volunteering for three weeks in the Philippines as part of Rotation 4 of our disaster recovery efforts in Tapaz, the Philippines. She is augmenting local health care capacity and performing medical outreach in more remote areas of the island.
From the moment I arrived in the Philippines, my time has been devoted to topics related to maternal and child health. My first stop was at the Festival of Santo Nino, which was being held at the center of town. I watched demonstrations of traditional dances and marveled at the composure of the little boy who had been chosen to represent the Santo Nino. I'll admit I was a bit woozy from culture shock, but my reception was so warm and kind that I soon settled into life at Project Hope's lodging.
The next day our volunteers were carried to the top of the mountains around Tapaz by Philippine Army helicopters. They dropped us off at two of the most inaccessible baranguays, or health care districts. This was a rare opportunity to see what life looks like in a remote village, where people live closer to a pre-industrial agrarian lifestyle than a modern one. Without the generosity of the Army we would not have been able to travel to these remote baranguays, which are only accessible by foot or occasionally, by bicycle. There are seventeen local midwives who rotate through these baranguays to provide support and supervision of the community health care workers--and they must walk 6-8 hours over difficult mountain paths to get there!
Fun, games and helicopter rides over, we immersed ourselves into the task of preparing to teach a dual curriculum of “Helping Mothers Survive” and “Helping Babies Breathe”- two programs developed to train health care providers in resource-limited areas to manage post-partum hemorrhage and abnormal breathing in newborn infants. It was a crash course for all of us, but we managed to conduct an informative and interactive class for eight new nurses.
The next day, we helped augment the services at Tapaz District Hospital, where I was lucky to participate in the birth of a baby girl. Amy Kogut, CNM, attended the delivery, while I acted as doula. Project Hope is collaborating with the hospital in technical exchanges of information relating to management of normal labor and delivery, as well as management of common complications of birth, such as post-partum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality in the Philippines.
During the upcoming week, I am looking forward to preparing guidelines to screen for higher-risk pregnancies. These will be designed for distribution to community health care workers, many of whom have limited literacy but still serve an important role in the health surveillance of their communities. Meanwhile, our team of volunteers will also be working on technical exchanges with Tapaz District Hospital on programs to promote early initiation of oral hygiene practices in children and on programs to screen and manage chronic hypertension. Along the way, we will be continuing our support for the staff at the local hospital and clinic and enjoying the kindness and hospitality of the Filipino people.