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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 October 31, 2011
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.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on October 5, 2011
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.
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.
Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on July 7, 2011
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.
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.