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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.

Nurturing Partnerships Key to Program Success in China

Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on November 1, 2011

Labels: China , Chronic Disease, Health Care Education

Our first day of work in China was a day filled with reconnecting with long-time Project HOPE supporters and investigating new partnerships to better the health of the Chinese people.

HOPE’s newly elected Chairman, and Chairman of Merck & Co. Inc., Richard T. Clark and I, traveled to HOPE’s flagship program site in China, the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC). The entrance to the hospital was bustling with families and children on their way to important check-ups, tests or lifesaving medical procedures. It was a vivid visual reminder of why we work so hard to form strong partnerships that help HOPE bring the best health care programs to those who need it most.

At SCMC, in the busy cardiac wing that opened in 2007, we met with some of the key staff of Sanofi, a global health care company. Project HOPE and the vaccine division of Sanofi already have a strong history.  Our conversation, with Stephen Doyle, Vice President of the Oncology Business Unit at Sanofi, and others on the staff who work with non-communicable diseases, revealed the many intersections of interests our organizations share and sparked ideas on how we can work together to improve chronic disease care in China.

We also had the privilege to meet briefly with a dear friend of HOPE, Dr. Liu Jinfen, the Director of the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. In addition to his responsibilities as the hospital administrator, Dr. Liu is also a distinguished practicing heart surgeon and pediatric cardio-thoracic surgery professor. I congratulated Dr. Liu on the Joint Commission International accreditation received by SCMC late last year. SCMC is the only children’s hospital in China to receive the prestigious accreditation.

Project HOPE has always counted on local and national government support to help make our health education programs successful and sustainable. China is no exception.

We ended our day with an impressive meeting with Dr. Cai Wei, the Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee. A surgeon by profession, Dr. Cai also serves as Vice President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and is the Director of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research. He has supported HOPE’s work at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center for more than a decade. Dr. Cai honored our delegation by meeting with us in an historic conference room in downtown Shanghai. We thanked Dr. Cai for his support of our Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science program that has provided nutritional support to 2,884 pediatric patients and trained more than 900 pediatric professionals. The program has also expanded to seven other children’s hospitals beyond Shanghai and has helped improve the health of children in China’s rural areas, an important focus for Dr. Cai.

We look forward to tomorrow, when we will meet some of the brave young patients at SCMC. At the same time, we realize that the time we spend nurturing our strong partnerships and cultivating new ones, insures HOPE’s mission of providing Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.



Important Health Education Work Continues in China

Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on October 31, 2011

Labels: China , Chronic Disease, Health Care Education, Health Systems Strengthening

Project HOPE began working in China more than 28 years ago with health professional training programs. Partnering with the Chinese Government, local universities and hospitals and supportive corporate partners, we currently operate 12 different heath care programs centered in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan. These programs help strengthen the health systems not only in these cities, but also have far reaching impact on the health of the children, women and men across China.

Over the next week, I will be visiting a few of  these programs, along with  Project HOPE’s  newly elected Chairman of the Board, Merck Chairman, Richard T. ClarK, and several of HOPE’s prominent donors and supporters.

We plan to check in on HOPE’s continuing work at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, a hospital we have supported from its inception. Opened in 1998, this hospital now performs nearly 3,000 pediatric heart procedures each year and provides a myriad of other health resources for China’s children.

We will also travel to Dujiangyan near Chengdu, where HOPE helped establish a rehabilitative program to help provide healing to those injured in the devastating 2008 earthquake.

We will end our visit in Beijing with an early celebration of World Diabetes Day and a briefing on HOPE’s continuing diabetes education work in China.

I invite you to join us on this journey. Over the next two weeks, be sure to check back and read my blog. You will be sure to learn more about HOPE’s important partnerships and our women’s and children’s’ health, non communicable disease and humanitarian assistance programs, that 28 years later, continue to train skilled health care workers and improve the health for people in China.



Visiting with Health Leaders in Kenya

Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on October 5, 2011


John P. Howe, III, M.D. in Kenya

Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Nairobi to visit with some of Kenya’s health leaders and to learn more about the health challenges facing this growing country. 

The visit was a tutorial on what is often described as the "hub" of Central and East Africa. Kenya -- with its borders on Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan on the west, Tanzania to the south, the Indian Ocean and Somalia on the east, and Ethiopia to the north -- has emerged from the days of its "colonial masters," the U.K., as a busy country of 40 million people. Its capital and largest city, Nairobi, is home to four million residents and has the only national park in the world within city limits.

There I met Dr. Andrew Suleh, the President of the Kenyan Medical Society. He well represents the best of the country's 7000 physicians (80% of whom work within three kilometers of the center of Nairobi). Education and training are very important to him. Dr. Suleh has devoted his life to Kenyans with HIV/AIDS at the 200-bed Mbagathi District Hospital and its nearby clinic which cares for patients with infectious diseases, principally those with complications of HIV/AIDS. I met one of his patients, a vigorous man in his 40s, who has been complication-free for nearly ten years. 

In addition to Dr. Suleh, I also meet other strong voices in health care in Kenya.

  • Scott Gration, the relatively-new U.S. Ambassador to Kenya. Ambassador Gration has a goal of reducing maternal mortality in Kenya by 50% within a year.
  • Mark Bor, the Permanent Secretary for Public Health, has made clean water his highest priority for better health. He is advocating for solar-powered wells for 2,700 dispensaries and 700 health centers.
  • Mary Ngari, the Permanent Secretary for Medical Services, is dedicated to improving the physician shortage in Kenya and addressing the increasing prevalence of NCDs (non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer in the country.
  • Lynn Adrian, USAID's Director of the Office of Health and Population for Kenya whose real-world experience in Haiti and Indonesia (following the 2004 Tsunami) will impact the significant health-related goals in Kenya.

While the enormity of the health needs, beyond HIV/AIDs, is clearly evident in Kenya, the voices of Kenya's health leaders are not those of discouragement, but rather pragmatism. Next year, implementation of the country's new Constitution will usher in what is described as "devolution" -- a shift from centralized to decentralized government. The health ministry will no longer be divided (Public Health and Medical Services), as it becomes one Ministry of Health. Health-related monies will go directly to the counties, which will allow local decision-making to meet local needs.

As a result, many Kenyans will be the beneficiaries, now and in the years ahead.



Witnessing HOPE’s Impact in the Delta

Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on July 7, 2011

Labels: Americas , United States , Chronic Disease

On our last day of our visit to the Mississippi Delta, we revisited the Delta State University’s School of Nursing to observe training in progress by nursing students using a hospital-like simulation lab – a Delta Health Alliance (DHA) program focused on increasing nurse competency in the Delta. We talked with two senior nursing students, who told us what a difference the simulation lab is making in both their training and confidence as nurses.  

The students also showed us equipment donated by Project HOPE’s partners, a hospital bed and a Ventriloscope, now being used in the simulation lab. 

We visited the Good Samaritan clinic in Greenville, where HOPE donations of supplies and medicines are helping keep the clinic open. There, the staff showed us how they were addressing endocrine problems with technology, using teleconference consultations between health care professionals and patients, in addition to “peer-to-peer” conferences between health care professionals regarding troubling/challenging patient cases. This example is just one of many innovative high-tech programs bringing better health care to the Delta.  

We concluded our trip with a visit to a Promise School in Indianola. The school full of preschoolers serves as a bridge program between the nationally recognized Head Start program and kindergarten, ensuring these young children have the strongest literacy skills possible to start their school careers. Dr. Karen Fox, the President and CEO of DHA, is a true believer in literacy being a key to better health in the Delta. 

In just a few months of partnering with the DHA, we can already measure some positive results. Our involvement is helping support the DHA in improving health in the Delta. By including our corporate partners and seeking the support of government officials on this visit to the Delta, we look forward to continuing our relationship, and more importantly, improving the health of the 400,000 people who call the Delta home.  


Visit With Mississippi's Governor Haley Barbour

Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on July 6, 2011

Labels: United States , Chronic Disease

John P. Howe, III, M.D. and Govenor Haley Barbour

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. 

Project HOPE Delegation meets with Governor Haley Barbour.

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.


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