Millwood, VA, September 18, 2012

Project HOPE volunteers are braving monsoon  conditions in high, above-the-clouds mountain locations to bring crucial medical care and health education to remote areas of Nepal in a humanitarian mission with the U.S. Air Force.

Patients are receiving medical assistance in the Machhapuchhre Health Post, in the Kaski District, by HOPE volunteers specializing in pediatrics, women’s health, midwifery and optometry.   

The ten volunteers comprise HOPE’s fourth mission with Pacific Angel (PACANGEL), a 13th U.S. Air Force-led operation that supports the U.S. Pacific Command’s capacity-building efforts by partnering with government and non-governmental agencies to assist local citizens. Nepalese, Mongolian and Australian military medical departments, in addition to local Nepalese public health facilities and a local medical college are also participating in the operation.

Volunteers Save Baby's Life in Nepal.

In a dramatic series of events, HOPE’s Nurse Midwives encountered a Nepalese woman in labor with a breech baby who needed immediate treatment and a swift transfer to hospital.  HOPE’s Medical Director and Pediatrician, Dr. Andy Gunter, and Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Helen Welch, ensured she was safely evacuated to the local hospital. 

Her minutes-old infant then showed significant distress and local Nepalese staff seemed uncertain how to respond. Both Dr. Gunter and CNM Welch intervened immediately with techniques to stimulate the baby’s breathing.  Dr. Gunter delivered oxygen using a makeshift mask because the delivery room lacked appropriate equipment.  HOPE's team vigorously worked on the infant to help him breathe and to get him crying, and their swift action saved his life.  The mother was soon united with her baby and was thrilled to learn she delivered her first son adding to her family of three girls.

 “I am thrilled and thankful that Dr. Gunter and I were able to be present in the crucial few minutes after the baby’s birth.  It saved this boy’s life and the lessons learned by local clinicians and staff here will likely help save lives in the future,” said Helen Welch.

The mission has assisted over 4,200 patients at the medical site so far.  This includes almost 900 educational opportunities in which HOPE is training local health care professionals on ways to improve medical care in underserved communities. 

Education on midwifery and public health issues such as food borne diseases are taking place as well as topics such as bandaging, shock and personal hygiene.

“Many of the people living in these remote areas have little access to physician and specialized levels of care.  The Pacific Angel program is beneficial to this community in many ways. In addition to providing needed health services, the mission strengthened the clinical, cultural and leadership bonds between Nepalese, Australian and Mongolian military and Nepalese civilian and HOPE’s NGO private practitioners, everyone acting as one integrated, coordinated and synchronized team. This is not only a foundation for future collaboration but a rehearsal for future operations with our medical friends and allies during natural disaster and recovery operations. This helps build resiliency and confidence in the community” said Frederick Gerber, Project HOPE’s Director for Special Programs and Operations. 

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 across five continents.

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Geraldine Carroll  Tel. 540.257.3746

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