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.
As Project HOPE sends additional medicines and medical supplies to help the thousands of Syrian refugees traveling through Macedonia on a daily basis, staff on the ground continues to assess the conditions and needs of the camps set up along the Greek and Serbian borders. While visiting the Gevgelija transit center earlier this week, HOPE staff met with some of the men, women and children fleeing Syria for a better life. Here are their stories.
Mother Seeks Better Life for Children
First we met a young Syrian mother, traveling with her two kids. One of her children is only three months old. She carries him in a baby sling. The other young child, about five or six years old walks along beside her. She told us that she is traveling to Germany, where she hopes to find a better life for her sons.
Man Paves Way for Family
We also met a Syrian refugee from Damascus. He told us he is the first person in his family to escape his country. He was a clothing designer in his country but had to escape. His goal is to reach Germany and find a way to have a better life, where he can bring his family with him.
Brothers Flee War
At the hospital in Gevgelija, we met young Bahir. Just nine years old, Bahir left Syria with his older brother. While escaping, he broke his arm on the ship and had to go to the hospital in Macedonia. His brother told us that here in Macedonia they are finally being treated as human beings and given the medical assistance they need. The brothers are hoping to reach Norway in search of a brighter future after leaving their parents behind in Syria.
Amy Montes is a registered nurse currently working toward her Master’s degree at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus to become a primary pediatric nurse practitioner. She spent one month volunteering with Project HOPE at the NRI General Hospital in Vijayawada, India, where she mentored and taught the pediatric nurses.
For the past month, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside nurses at the NRI General Hospital in southeast India. Upon my arrival here, I was welcomed warmly and oriented to the campus and my living quarters for the next month. I quickly became engrossed in my daily routine. Mornings were spent working with nurses and patients in the pediatric ward, PICU or NICU, and afternoons were dedicated to developing adapted Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) curricula and teaching the respective courses.
I recall finding myself jumping to initial conclusions about nursing and medical practices that could be improved or were done incorrectly. After reframing my focus to observing and learning rather than judging, I found the nurses’ knowledge base to be very sound. Their care was quite similar to what we provide in the United States, but adapted for the limited resources available. With a deeper understanding of the rationale behind the care provided, I was able to better educate the nurses and influence the delivery of quality care.
A particular memory that comes to mind occurred in my third week on the pediatric unit. There was an abundance of nursing students taking on patient care activities, and I found myself with little to do and wondering if I was making any kind of difference. Looking around the ward, I couldn’t help but feel saddened by the disengaged faces of the patients. There was utterly nothing for the children to do except lie in bed and wait days to weeks to be discharged. Fortunately, I had a moment of creativity and dedicated that evening to vigorously cutting up an old book and educating myself in the art of origami. For the next several days the unit was filled with paper frogs, butterflies and smiling faces.
As I continue to process and reflect upon this experience, I find myself pondering whether I had a larger impact on NRI, or NRI upon me. Maybe the answer to that question is not so important, but rather the importance lies in the way I live my life following these experiences. Emulating the goodness I saw each day, particularly the powers of patience, warmth, kindness and an open heart.
In China, respiratory diseases affect a staggering 40 million people. Asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) are the most common respiratory diseases, and there are efforts underway to increase public awareness to reverse the growth of these medical conditions. Public health experts are especially concerned about the health of China’s children – four percent of whom suffer from asthma, the most common chronic disease among kids.
I recently traveled to Shanghai, China to witness first-hand the progress HOPE is making to improve the quality and accessibility of asthma treatment and management, especially for children. I was honored to join the Chief of Respiratory Medicine at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) to host a group from AstraZeneca, a corporate partner sharing the same mission of improving the health of patients living with chronic diseases, particularly respiratory diseases, for a tour of the facility.
The 17-year-old Shanghai Children’s Medical Center is one of Project HOPE’s major achievements in its 33-year presence in China. Project HOPE was involved with the development of the facility from the beginning of the hospital's design in 1995. Since the hospital was successfully opened in 1998, Project HOPE and SCMC have worked together to provide excellent health care for children.
Project HOPE staff shared highlights of the China Alliance Respiratory Disease (CARD) program and the Pediatric Asthma Community Outreach program with the AstraZeneca team. Both of the programs, funded by AstraZeneca, address gaps in respiratory disease management in China by building the capacity of health service providers at township and county hospitals and community health service centers and improving service capacity and quality of services at those facilities. So far we have made some great strides including the following:
- Onsite training of 1,500 physicians from 10 cities in lung function testing
- Online training of more than 10,000 health care professionals from 193 cities in lung function testing
- Assisting with setting up respiratory disease clinics at more than 600 hospitals
- Assisting in the establishment of nebulizer rooms at more than 1,200 hospitals
Shannon Duffy is a pediatric intensive care nurse from the Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Campus, in Seattle, Washington and volunteered for Project HOPE during Pacific Partnership 2015 in Vietnam and the Philippines.
Imagine a group of 15 nurses gathered around a patient in the intensive care unit. The nurses are speaking multiple languages and discuss the patient’s care with him as they change the dressings of his complex wounds. Though diverse in background, these nurses are working toward a common purpose: improving the care delivery and health outcome of the patient.
I am a Project HOPE volunteer on the 2015 Pacific Partnership mission in Da Nang, Vietnam and in Roxas City, Philippines on the USNS Mercy. Among the many educational opportunities this mission has provided for local health professionals is the Intensive Care Nursing Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) at Da Nang General Hospital among. Our team of seven nurses observed patient care, discussed cases with the local nurses, learned from their strengths, and offered suggestions for improving best practices. We held a symposium for continuing nursing education on topics pre-selected by the facility’s nurse leaders. At the conclusion of the three-day SMEE, the participants discussed several intangible accomplishments: we had formed international relationships of education and friendship, improved patient care, and fostered an openness to learn, improve, ask questions, and think critically in nursing care. The potential for sustainable health care improvement drew me to Project HOPE’s programs. During this mission, we are making a lasting impact through education and I look forward to the upcoming SMEE events and the opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of Vietnam.
My name is Dr. Jeff Jarvis and I am an orthodontic specialist who volunteered with Project HOPE in Vietnam. The experience was amazing, exhilarating, satisfying, and motivating. If you asked me my thoughts following my arrival after a long plane ride from Baltimore to Da Nang those words would not be leaving my mouth. However if you asked me my impression following my experience with the Project HOPE and the Pacific Partnership 2015 dental team, those are exactly my words.
Part of our mission included a two-day summit with East Meets West NGO and dental professionals from the region. The summit was well attended with over 200 dental professionals participating. Our mission was to provide training on advanced treatment techniques with the U.S. Military dental team. Dentists as far as Ho Chi Minh were in attendance.
In addition, the team also provided patient treatment. With the outstanding support from the Armed Forces of the U.S. Dental Corps and the East Meets West Dental Professionals, myself and fellow Project HOPE volunteers Dr. Coury Staadecker, periodontist from Newport Beach , CA and Brent Harris, orthodontist, were able to treat over 100 patients in just one clinical day.
I wish I could have stay longer! Maybe in the near future I will have another opportunity to volunteer my time. What an enriching experience! Thank you for the opportunity Project HOPE!
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