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Four years after the Tsunami, some health districts in Indonesia still in desperate need

Millwood, Virginia, January 12, 2009

(January 12, 2009) Millwood, VA—Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian assistance organization, received nearly $1million from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), a grant-making organization in the United Kingdom, to enhance maternal and child health in Aceh Barat, Indonesia, a district severely affected by the 2004 tsunami.

While many health indicators in tsunami affected regions of Indonesia are improving, the Aceh Barat area, which received little help in rebuilding its medical infrastructure, is still struggling. Immunization rates are far lower than the national average. As a result, life threatening, yet preventable childhood illnesses are far more frequent.

Skilled assistance for women during pregnancy, birth and post partum care is also below the national average.

“Four years after the Indian Ocean Tsunami that killed thousands of men, women and children, and left hundreds of thousands in desperate need of basic health care, there are still people in the region, especially children, in need of help,” said John P. Howe, III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE. “This generous grant from the Big Lottery Fund will enable Project HOPE to provide health education and care to support this community and its children as it continues to recover from one of the worst natural disasters in modern history.”

The three-year project will improve the lives of 15,000 women and children by providing a childhood nutrition program, childhood immunizations, insuring women deliver with assistance from a skilled birth attendant, increasing the lifesaving practice of exclusive breastfeeding and helping to establish village health committees to deliver important health messages and health information at the local level.

Project HOPE began working in Indonesia in 1960, when volunteers onboard the maiden voyage of the SS HOPE provided humanitarian assistance and health education to thousands of Indonesians. In 2005, immediately following the tsunami, Project HOPE delivered millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid, and sent hundreds of medical volunteers to the region in partnership with the U.S. Navy aboard the USNS Mercy. Project HOPE has continued its tsunami relief efforts by reestablishing and improving health posts in the Nagan Raya District of Indonesia, severely damaged or destroyed by the tsunami. From 2005 to 2008, Project HOPE’s work in Nagan Raya has helped improve health care for 3,332 infants, 13,866 children, 4,122 pregnant women, and 16,146 women of reproductive age.

“Project HOPE, with the help of the Big Lottery Fund, worked together to help the people of Nagan Raya to rebuild and improve their health systems following the Tsunami. This new grant from the Big Lottery Fund grant will allow us to do the same for the people in need in Aceh Barat,” Dr. Howe said. “While the impact of the tsunami may have faded from the consciousness of the world, we at Project HOPE continue to be committed to enabling the people of Aceh Barat to provide the best available health care to mothers and children.”

About Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing money raised through the National Lottery for good causes in the United Kingdom to improve the lives of people most in need. For more information www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in more than 35 countries. For more information, please visit www.projecthope.org.

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