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Join John P. Howe, III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE, as he visits our lifesaving programs and offers inspiring examples of how your support is making a difference in the lives of people around the world.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on July 6, 2011
On our last visit to the Delta in January, we met with Governor Haley Barbour. At that meeting, Governor Barbour thanked Project HOPE for our previous work in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina and our support of the Coastal Family Health Centers in establishing a permanent health clinic in Moss Point. He encouraged Project HOPE to work with the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) to help further improve health in the Mississippi Delta.
On this visit to the Delta, we invited along some of our dedicated corporate partners. We wanted to show our partners the needs, the progress and the great work that is being done to better the health of those living in the Delta, and to explore our intersections of interests, to find ways that we can all work together.
Our delegation met with Governor Barbour on the 19th floor of a Jackson office building. The panoramic view offered a clear vista of the state’s capital and a glimpse of the Delta region beyond.
Governor Barbour was impressed with the interest of the partners Project HOPE brought to the table. Our delegation included Leslie Hardy, Vice President, The Merck Company Foundation; Glen Golemi, CEO, Gulf States Region UnitedHealth Group; Frank Sample, CEO, Philips VISICU; Laure Park, Vice President, Communications and Corporate Citizenship Officer, Quest Diagnostics; Dr. Delaney Gracy, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Children's Health Fund; Frank Wesley, Senior Regional Director, Children's Health Fund; Christopher Estep, Senior Manager, HR, Baxter International; Jim Peloquin, District Manager, Walgreens; as well as Elyse Marcellino and JoAnn Clark, representatives from Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s office.
While Governor Barbour’s term in office is up at the end of this year, he told me and the delegation that his commitment to improving health in the Mississippi will continue. He also expressed interest in meeting with other HOPE partners later this year.
“We are proud of the work being accomplished, and we are hopeful,” he said.
Later in the evening, we heard the same words of encouragement and support from Mississippi's Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on July 5, 2011
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.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on June 20, 2011
I often blog about Project HOPE partnerships overseas that are making a difference in the lives of others. However, today, I want to tell you about a powerful partnership that is improving the health of people right here in the United States.
Recently, I attended a celebration in New Mexico for Project HOPE’s HOPEmobile, a 64-foot tractor trailer equipped with the latest health screening and telemedicine technologies that travels to rural and remote locations around the state.
The celebratory event took place at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque.
I was privileged to share the podium with HOPE partners Kevin Kandalaft, Executive Director of UnitedHealthcare New Mexico, and Dr. Arthur Kaufman, Chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UNM.
Also participating in the event was New Mexico Health Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres. I was impressed by her words when she said, “Good health is a state of mind.”
That is exactly the message HOPE staff and volunteers on board the HOPEmobile deliver to New Mexico residents through our Habits for Life program. We are teaching people healthy habits related to diet and exercise and changing their state of mind to lead healthier and happier lives.
This incredible work is made possible through the leadership of UnitedHealthcare and the participation of the University of New Mexico and the state’s Department of Health.
Immediately after the celebration, the HOPEmobile loaded its lifesaving cargo and was on the road to another remote area to conduct more health screenings and provide more health education to residents and health care workers.
There are more minds to change and more healthy habits to teach. The work of HOPE and this powerful partnership continues in New Mexico.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on May 11, 2011
"...we shall be as a city upon a hill -- the eyes of the people are upon us."
I was reminded of these words, as we drove west from Johannesburg. For my destination of Munsieville, a city of 39,000, sits high on a hill, overlooking the plains of the Rand District, here in South Africa. It is the site of a novel approach by Project HOPE-United Kingdom (PHUK) to respond to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children.
The health of Munsieville is at risk -- economically and medically. The nearby gold mines have shut down, resulting in 70% unemployment. 10,000 live in corrugated tin shanties. Two clinics and two ambulances serve the entire city, without a hospital.
Yet, as I visited with community elders, I was most impressed with their sense of optimism. This was due, in part, to a sense of hope created by PHUK's “Thoughtful Path” project, designed and carried out to "give orphans and vulnerable children the opportunity to develop into healthy, productive adults."
The project's early success is related to finding solutions, from within the community, to needs in early childhood development, after school care, youth support and development, community strengthening, child and youth sports programs, child rights and protections, as well as partnership capacity building.
Kelina Ndlovu is the Executive Manager, Health and Development, for the Rand District, comprised of four municipalities, including Munsieville. A nurse, now administrator, she exuded energy, as she described her commitment to its children, during my visit with her. She, in fact, led the creation of one of the city's two clinics.
Betty Nkoana is the present Project Manager for the "Thoughtful Path" effort in Munsieville. As we visited two Early Childhood Development Centers (EDCC), one of the clinics and the homes of members of the community, the love the members have for her was clearly evident.
As leadership will be passed, in time, to a younger generation, the city will be well served, as seen in visits with two of its outstanding, young people. Ivy began, from the bottom up, a for-profit EDCC, one which is very successful. Bucs began as a journalist intern -- and is now the city's lead print and electronic writer.
I was most taken with a woman, now in her mid-sixties, who has lived in the Shantytown section of the city, since arriving from Mozambique in 1991. She leads the Village Savings and Loan program, begun by HOPE in the 90's. A micro-lending program, it saw 45,000 rand in revenues (repaid loans and interest) last year, with a very low default rate, all of which is a tribute to the women who run it.
A testimony to the community's caring and concern, and that of this woman in particular, was seen in a young 13-year-old girl, recently arrived from Mozambique. Her grandmother had succumbed to the entreaties of a neighbor, who brought the girl to Johannesburg under false pretenses, then disappeared, leaving her alone. The Shantytown women brought her in, clothed and fed her, in the face of this attempted human trafficking.
Plans are now afoot to create a sports center, a service center and a nearby hospital. These will be funded, in time, by the central government, the municipality and private donors, including those of PHUK. These are all consistent with the goal of giving young people the "opportunity to develop into healthy, productive adults."
I left Munsieville with a new image of "a city upon a hill," a current-day version, inspired at that, of what President-elect Kennedy had in mind, as he spoke in Boston in 1961.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on February 18, 2011
Labels: , Health Systems Strengthening
Our just-published Annual Report is entitled: "Hope Endures." In the past 48 hours, I saw this in faraway Israel, just an hour north of Tel Aviv, in Nazareth, where the Holy Family Hospital sits on a hill overlooking the Old City. It is a remarkable place, indeed.
I was asked by one of Project HOPE's major donors, in China and in Haiti, to visit with the Hospital's leadership -- to share observations gained from our three children's hospitals, in Poland, China and Iraq.
The Hospital is in its third century, owned by the Order of St. John of God with its headquarters in Rome. What makes it remarkable are its physicians and nurses of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths working side-by-side, responding to those in need. It is a model for caring and commitment among people of different religions.
Its impact was seen, and vividly so, in the Hospital's neonatal unit. I won't soon forget the little girl, now weighing just 600 grams, who was born at 26 weeks of age. She is experiencing the best of intensive care -- and individual love.
HOPE is often described as engaged in the "diplomacy of deeds." This is the work, as well, of Drs. Issaq, Harbaji, Kozlowski and Mr. Jada, the Hospital's administrator.
Every great hospital has its external champions as well, those individuals who give of their time and resources to support its mission. This is certainly seen at the Holy Family Hospital, in the name of Ami Lapidot, the Israeli General Manager of Ferring, a Swiss pharmaceutical company.
Every Saturday, Mr. Lapidot drives from Tel Aviv to Nazareth to share management expertise with the leaders of the Hospital. In addition, he made possible its new renal dialysis unit, now operating three shifts of patients each day.
Dr. Kozlowski, who is also Brother Kozlowski, the Prior for the Order, will soon visit his homeland, Poland. He looks forward to seeing HOPE's first children's hospital, University Children's Hospital, Krakow, formerly known as the Polish-American Children's Hospital.
Now in our 53rd year, this invitation for Project HOPE to share counsel with the Holy Family Hospital in Nazareth was yet another reminder that HOPE endures, throughout the world.