Project HOPE offers medical assistance to underserved communities in nine countries

Millwood, Virginia, April 30, 2011

Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian aid organization, has arrived in Peru to provide medical care and health education to underserved communities on a nine-country mission to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

HOPE medical volunteers aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, sailed through the Panama Canal to Peru following a stop in Jamaica.  More than 7,600 patients received care at medical sites in and around the Jamaican capital of Kingston and doctors performed over 100 surgeries.

HOPE’s Medical Director, Tracey Kunkel, is among the medical volunteers who provided health education to more than 800 people in Jamaica.  Kunkel, a nurse from Pennsylvania, conducted a “Helping Babies Breathe” course on neonatal resuscitation aimed at reducing the child-mortality rate.  

“Teaching local medical professionals and families how to assess and care for babies immediately after birth can save lives.  This training is especially important in countries where resources are limited,” said Kunkel.

Medical services provided by nine HOPE volunteers on the mission include cardiology, pediatrics, infectious disease and dermatology.  A HOPE volunteer with expertise in emergency management is sharing knowledge on disaster medicine and injuries typically sustained in natural disasters.   

The five-month mission, known as Continuing Promise 2011, will also stop at ports in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

“Project HOPE’s collaboration with the U.S. Navy goes from strength to strength and we are committed to addressing the medical needs of the Latin American people,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE.  

Project HOPE and the U.S. Navy have conducted more than 20 humanitarian missions since 2005, caring for over 550,000 patients, performing nearly 9,000 surgeries and training over  190,000 health care workers and individuals.

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, 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 35 countries across five continents.

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Geraldine Carroll (540) 257-3746

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