Our hearts break because more than 15,000 children under 5 die each day from preventable illnesses. Our mission to save them compels us to persevere in our work, and we stand firmly behind our values as we continue to Reach the World's Most Vulnerable Children. In today's world of adversity, conflict, competition and funding challenges, the principles of effectiveness, commitment, transparency, empowerment and sustainability are essential.
Our staff and project partners are accomplishing great results under challenging and sometimes very difficult conditions. In this newsletter, you will read about some of their accomplishments that are helping to save lives.
We greatly value your support and partnership.
Margaret Brawley, CEO & President
Evidence Points Out Impact of MFH in South Kordofan, Sudan
Among the key attributes of Medicines for Humanity (MFH) is that we are audacious. We embrace the challenge of working in challenging environments and put forward solutions that save lives.
MFH has partnered with the Mother of Mercy Hospital (MMH) and the Diocese of El Obeid (DoE) for nearly 6 years to strengthen and expand community and clinic healthcare systems in the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan, Sudan. Together, we re-opened 6 clinics that closed due to fighting in this war-torn region and established an outreach system of community health volunteers (CHVs) to address the health needs of women and children in the area. Today, this system addresses the primary care needs of approximately 90,000 people, with the clinics treating 3 times the number of patients than was initially projected.
The following highlights are from a Health KPC Endline Assessment Report released in May 2019 that measured the impact of the project over five years.
At the outset of this project, vaccinations for life-threatening diseases like measles were not readily available. Thanks to the generosity of donors, vaccines were made accessible, and MFH trained community health volunteers to administer them in the field. As a result, immunization coverage increased by nearly 70% and no outbreaks of these vaccine-preventable diseases have occurred within the central region of the Nuba Mountains since 2015.
MFH provided training to birth attendants. Skill levels improved and this, in combination with extensive health education on the importance of having skilled help at all deliveries contributed to a 30% increase in deliveries attended by a skilled birth attendant.
Access to health, nutrition, and hygiene information increased by nearly 46% in the past 3 years. There was greater uptake of services and handwashing practices at critical times, as well as increased HIV awareness.
Quisqueya Mobile Clinic Still Making Life and Death Differences in the Dominican Republic
For about 15 years, in conjunction with in-country project partner The Daughters of Charity, Medicines for Humanity (MFH) has been providing clinical and community-based maternal/child health services to marginalized communities surrounding Quisqueya in the San Pedro region of the Dominican Republic. This critically-needed health care is provided by a mobile clinic that makes monthly visits to sugar cane villages (bateyes) where poverty is extreme and access to healthcare is limited. The mobile clinic is a specially-equipped ambulance provided with funding from the Major League Baseball Players Trust and other donors. The clinic is staffed by a full-time doctor, a nurse and medical assistants.
Recently, two examples of the impact of the clinic and the commitment of this team came to light.
A woman, late in her pregnancy was diagnosed by the doctor in the mobile clinic with preeclampsia, a condition that could have taken her life and that of her baby. As a result, she was immediately taken to a hospital, a 30-minute drive, to treat her and deliver her baby. Had there been no mobile clinic visit that day, the results could have been disastrous. Our gratitude to Dr. Dolis Milena Hernandez Avila, the attending physician in our mobile clinic, whose commitment to serving the people of the bateyes is truly life-saving.
One of our mobile clinic nurses, Elizabeth Rivera, makes home visits when the clinic stops in a village. Recently, on a visit to Batey Nuevo, Elizabeth discovered a baby who was critically malnourished and was quickly able to counsel the mother and help restore the child’s health. Again, the outcome could have been different if the mobile clinic did not exist and Elizabeth was not dedicated to helping these communities.
The Quisqueya mobile clinic serves 15 bateyes and visits each one at least once a month on a regular rotating schedule. This year, the project has been partially supported by funding from the Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International, which has a facility in the DR that employs hundreds of individuals within the region.
Resolution Urging Peace in Cameroon Passes in U.S. House of Representatives
Last month, The United States House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution calling on the government of Cameroon, armed groups, and all citizens to respect human rights and adopt nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution in the Anglophone region.
At Medicines for Humanity (MFH), we were greatly heartened by this news. We sent letters to U.S. government officials urging them to support this resolution and address the unrest and violence against humanity that has been taking place in Cameroon for almost 3 years. The Anglophone crisis has devastated the northwest and southwest provinces of the country where we work in partnership with communities of Catholic Sisters and Catholic Dioceses to provide critically-needed health services to marginalized children and pregnant women.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and the resolution was led by Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, Rep. Karen Bass of California. Earlier this month Representative Kind had the opportunity to visit Cameroon and speak with officials on the ground, which reaffirmed the need for an inclusive dialogue to achieve a sustainable peace. Said Representative Kind, “I’m proud that today, Congress is sending a clear message to do just that.”
Over the past two years, tensions have escalated between the minority Anglophone population of the country and the Francophone factions that control the government. Hundreds have died and close to 500,000 have been displaced, with human rights violations alleged against both security forces loyal to the Francophone-led Cameroonian government and militant Anglophone separatist groups. Medicines for Humanity has health projects at 20 community sites throughout the Anglophone region.
All of us at Medicines for Humanity thank Representatives Kind and Bass, as well as the entire House of Representatives for their support. We hope and pray that this will help lead to peace and restore civility in Cameroon.
Mary E. Landergan, Esq. Joins Medicines for Humanity Board of Directors
We are pleased to welcome a new member to the Medicines for Humanity (MFH) Board of Directors. Mary Landergan has been involved with MFH for several years through her trusteeship of the McDonnell-O’Brien Foundation, in association with her father, Walter Landergan, Esq., who recently passed away. “My dad and I have always been quite impressed by MFH and very drawn to its compelling mission to save the lives of innocent children around the world. The work of MFH fit perfectly with the legacy of Margaret O’Brien and John McDonnell. We have always been proud to provide support. I am honored to join the MFH Board.”
Ms. Landergan is counsel at Rich May Law, P.C. of Boston. Her focus is corporate, trademark, and entertainment matters. She has 35 years of legal experience including international law, general commercial litigation, bankruptcy, trademark law, copyright law, constitutional law, civil rights and entertainment law. She has worked in the legal departments at CBS and ABC, and at an international New York-based law firm. Until recently, she served as an Associate Teaching Professor and the Director of the Intellectual Property Clinic at Northeastern University School of Law where she has also taught Entertainment Law, Trademark Law and First Amendment. She is a graduate of Wellesley College where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors. She received her law degree from Columbia University.
“We are privileged and delighted to have Mary officially join our MFH family. Her compassion for others and commitment to making the world a better place for all is exemplary,” stated Tim Bilodeau. MFH Board Chair. “Her father was a personal hero of mine, and I know he would be very proud that she is a member of the MFH Board. We are indeed fortunate to have her with us.”