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International humanitarian aid organization delivers medicines to impoverished communities in urgent need of free meds in former Soviet republic

Millwood, Virginia, February 22, 2011

Tens of thousands of patients weakened by heart, liver and kidney disease and the influenza virus in Kyrgyzstan will benefit from free medicines provided by Project HOPE, a U.S. humanitarian aid and health education organization.

The medicines were transported to the capital Bishkek in an airlift operation funded by the U.S. Department of State. Valued at $13 million USD, the meds were donated by Project HOPE's corporate donors, including international pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Inc, and Allergan.

The aid was distributed to medical institutions in Bishkek and Chui Oblast in a handover ceremony involving Project HOPE, officials from the U.S. Department of State, including the U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz republic, Tatiana Gfoeller, and Gerald Oberndorfer, the U.S. Director of Humanitarian Programs in Europe and Eurasia. The Kyrgyz Minister of Health, Sabyrbek Jumabekov, was also on hand to help distribute the aid to local medical officials and hospitals receiving the aid.

"Project HOPE works closely with the Ministry of Health and local medical facilities to identify the precise pharmaceutical needs of communities plagued by serious illnesses in Kyrgyzstan," said Colin Credle, regional manager of humanitarian aid for Project HOPE in Central Asia.

"The donated medicines will save thousands of lives and build stronger, healthier families in Kyrgyzstan ," Mr. Credle said.

Project HOPE has been addressing the medical needs of communities across Central Asian republics since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Last year, the organization collaborated with CitiHope International, a partnering NGO, to deliver humanitarian aid to Osh, following political strife in southern Kyrgyzstan. In 2002, Project HOPE led a group of international NGOs to implement health education programs in Central Asia in a large-scale maternal, child and reproductive health initiative. It continued to focus on women and children's health in 2007 with the introduction of health education programs which promoted breastfeeding, family planning/reproductive health. Project HOPE has made tuberculosis prevention and treatment among at-risk populations in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan a top priority by reaching out to communities most at-risk of TB and HIV, by providing medical treatment and health education.

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.

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll (540) 257-3746  gcarroll@projecthope.org

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