Medical Supplies Depart for Cuba

Six tons of medicine, medical supplies, diapers, blankets, even coloring books and crayons have begun the journey from Kansas City to Havana, Cuba.

These supplies are going to the William Soler Pediatric Hospital – a children’s hospital in Havana.

Watch as the supplies are loaded at HHI’s Operations Hub.

From HHI’s Hub, this first container will go to a port in Florida for transport to Cuba. Then, once all the supplies have cleared customs, all of the humanitarian cargo will be delivered to the hospital to help medical staff treat sick children.

Read more about HHI’s project in Cuba 

 

This first shipment is valued at nearly $350,000.  And it’s thanks to several of our corporate sponsors and partners that helped make this happen.  Medical supplies and medicine from BD, Midmark, AbbVie, Medtronic, Welch Allyn, Henry Schein and Johnson & Johnson make up the bulk of this shipment.

Also, the blankets, coloring books and crayons are part of the J&J One Child, One Blanket project.  Under a partnership with J&J, these kits are assembled by HHI volunteers at the Hub and are shipped around the world and the US to children in shelters and in hospitals.

 

 

 

Advance Team Departs for Nepal

Our advance team is on the way to Nepal.  They will lay the groundwork for our medical team to arrive two days later, ready to provide aid to the survivors of the Nepal Earthquake.

Gary departs 3

Our Advance Team is a three-person team – a doctor, a nurse and another HHI staff member.  All three are departing from different points on the globe.  In these photos, Dr. Gary Morsch, founder of HHI, is seen departing from the Kansas City airport.  The team’s nurse, Sue Mangicaro, is leaving from New Jersey.  And Julie Hefner, just recently our Liberia country director, is flying out of Monrovia, Liberia – all three bound for Kathmandu, and the earthquake disaster zone.

Gary departs 1

As he was departing from Kansas City, HHI’s hometown and HQ location, Dr. Morsch had the honor of hauling giant bags of supplies to check in for the flight, beyond his own personal gear.  This ‘luggage’ contains medical supplies, medicine and quite a bit of work and camping equipment – tents, sleeping bags and mats, gloves, water filtration and satellite phones – gear needed for a team to operate in a disaster zone.

Gary departs 5

Our medical team is made up of two doctors and four nurses.  They are packing right now and will arrive two days behind the advance team, ready to hit the ground and begin providing medical care to earthquake survivors.

You can help with Nepal Earthquake Relief.  Please give as you can.

Donate Now

 

photos by Peggy Breit & KMBC-TV9

Med Student Volunteer Team to make Ripple Effect

The second winner of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest has her ‘boarding pass’ and will join three other medical students on a humanitarian service trip to Haiti in the summer 2015.

RE SUNY student

Kathleen Iles is presented with a ‘boarding pass’ by Steve Hower of HHI (left in photo), and David Allyn of Welch Allyn, after being named a winner of the Ripple Effect contest.

 

Kathleen Iles, a first-year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University, was announced March 17th as one of two winners of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest, a joint initiative of Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn designed to inspire medical students to “change the world by giving back to their communities.”

The Ripple Effect Contest encourages medical students to use social media to share how they will create their own “ripple effect” of good in their community or globally.  Entrants were asked to ‘like’ the Ripple Effect program page on Facebook and share a picture with a short essay or a short video showcasing their “ripple effect” — a brief narrative about how they would “change the world” by using their training to help those in greatest need.

Iles, along with three other medical students to win the humanitarian service trip, will work alongside physicians and aid workers in impoverished communities in Haiti this summer. She will join inaugural 2013 Ripple Effect winners Oluwatoni Aluko, from Meharry Medical College, and Meghan Meghpara, from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine on the trip, as well as the other 2014 winner Matthew Schilling, from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

 

One ‘Ripple Effect’ Winner Revealed

Heart to Heart International has teamed up with Welch Allyn to encourage medical students to give back to their communities. With the Ripple Effect contest, two more medical students can now make their own ripple effect with a humanitarian service trip to Haiti.

2015 Ripple Effect winner LECOM

Matthew Schilling is presented with a ‘boarding pass’ by David Allyn of Welch Allyn, and Steve Hower of HHI, after being named a winner of the Ripple Effect contest. Photo by erietvnews.com

 

Matthew Schilling, a first-year medical student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, was announced as one of two winners of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest, a joint initiative of Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn designed to inspire medical students to “change the world by giving back to their communities.”

This summer, Schilling and a yet-to-be-revealed student, along with student winners from the 2013 Ripple Effect contest will work alongside Heart to Heart medical teams in Haiti.

The Ripple Effect Contest encourages medical students to use social media to share how they will create their own “ripple effect” of good in their community or globally. Entrants were asked to ‘like’ the Ripple Effect program page on Facebook and share a picture with a short essay or a short video showcasing their “ripple effect” — a brief narrative about how they would “change the world” by using their training to help those in greatest need.

The second winner will be announced March 17, 2015.

 

 

Don’t Forget About the ‘Border Children’

The summer of 2014 saw a surge of unaccompanied children at the US’s southern border.  Most of these children had traveled from Central American countries like Honduras and Guatemala.  Many were fleeing violence, poverty, hunger. Don’t forget about them.  We haven’t.

Photo by Jude Joffe-Block/Fronteras Desk

 

Many of the children who came across the border remain in facilities across the US as they await disposition of their individual cases.  On their own, or sent by families, they arrived seeking connections with families already in the states, all seeking something better.  The increased number of children taxed the border control systems, forcing many into makeshift holding facilities and then into shelters across the country. In August we shipped hundreds of blankets and hygiene kits to children being temporarily housed in shelters in six states.

Recently we sent another large shipment, via our global partner FedEx, to a number of shelters that will begin housing children in February 2015 as they await their immigration hearings.  The kids that will be housed in these shelters range in age from 7-17 and most are in their early teens.

supplies shelved

Working with the Urban Strategies/National Latino Evangelical Coalition we delivered medical supplies to nine shelters in five states.  We learned that the greatest needs are for wound care, chicken pox treatment and pain relief.  Thanks to the partnerships we’ve developed with medical supply and pharmaceutical donors we’ve been able to meet the needs of the shelters and the care of the children.
Examples of the supplies we shipped:  sunscreen, tape, gauze, OTC meds from Johnson & Johnson; Alcohol swabs from BD; thermometers and covers from Welch Allyn; and ointment from Calmoseptine.

supplies laid outHeart to Heart International will continue to help as many of these shelters as we can.  You can help us do this.

Support our efforts to deliver care to these children.  Help us help them.

Donate to meet the greatest need

 

Scroll to See More Photos

supplies arrive

sorting suppliesmore sortingtwo by two w supplies

 

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A Clinic That Ebola Closed

The Life Care Health Clinic is just one clinic in the Liberian countryside, but its story is shared by so many across this country.  It’s a story of frustration, incapacity and loss of knowing what could possibly be done next.

Life Care Health Clinic

The clinic is located in the interestingly named Soul Clinic community of Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia.  Our team – myself, Gary, Sue, Dan – along with James, our guide, came to learn more about how health providers are faring in this time of Ebola, and to provide some supplies we had brought with us. We had an opportunity to sit and talk with the small clinic staff and listened mostly to Mr. Tia, the clinic administrator, as he talked about his clinic, the community and what they’ve had to deal with.

This tiny clinic has a two-bed male ward, two-bed female ward, a delivery room, a pharmacy, and it serves a community of about 4,000 people.  When Ebola came into their community they were unprepared for the onslaught of patients, and woefully under-supplied and under-staffed.

They had no way to protect themselves from the Ebola virus, nor did they have a way to determine who actually has Ebola or who has something else like a bad case of malaria or cholera.  At first they tried to just turn away those that had symptoms, but it quickly became clear that it was hard to tell who was infected with Ebola and who wasn’t.  So the difficult decision was made that they simply must close the clinic.

Gary & Sue at Soul Clinic

Sue & Gary with Life Care Health Clinic staff in Liberia

 

Mr. Tia told us that out of 50 deaths in the past few months, maybe 20 to 30 are from Ebola and that perhaps the rest could have been prevented with regular medical care, but there is no way for people to get treated now.  Beyond Ebola, his biggest concern is people dying of malaria, which is so much more common than Ebola.

We listened, sitting on the porch of the clinic as the African rains fell, and thanked Mr. Tia and his staff for sharing their stories and concerns.  Before we departed, we left one of our Ready Relief Boxes full of medical supplies, thermometers, disposable stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.

We wanted to do more.  As we drove away we hoped that soon we will.

 

Advance Team in Liberia on Front Lines of Ebola Fight

The HHI Advance Team arrived in Liberia and is already hard at work – meeting with partners, touring facilities and getting a lay of the land – prepping the way for the deployment of volunteer medical teams to provide care for the people of Liberia.

Advance Team & James

The team is being assisted by James Williams (striped shirt in photo above), the acting director of Healthy Women, Healthy Liberia, a Liberian non-profit that develops community-based healthcare programs.  James is helping to serve as a guide for our Advance Team.  A great connection!

Team member Sue Mangicaro, RN, from HHI’s corporate partner Welch Allyn, reports they heard both good and bad news when they met with representatives of Medical Teams International.  The good: MTI is in the process of training community healthcare workers on prevention and treatment of Ebola, however the bad is that they have had to pull their staff out of clinics because of the inherent risks involved in triage and contracting the disease.  The real fear of Ebola is causing the healthcare system to collapse, as HHI CEO Jim Mitchum recently discussed in an op-ed.

MTI clinic closed

A clinic closed in Monrovia, Liberia due to the Ebola outbreak.

 

handwashing station

Pictured above is one of many handwashing stations the team has come across in Liberia’s capital of Monrovia.  They reported the smell of bleach hangs in the air, a comforting aroma, as bleach is used to kill the Ebola virus on surfaces, protective equipment and on skin.

Look for more updates from the Advance Team in Liberia soon!

 

Donate now to sustain OPERATION EBOLA and help save lives in West Africa.

Donate Now!

 

 

 

 

 

Welch Allyn ‘Points of Care’ Program to Benefit HHI

Welch Allyn is one of those companies that we’re seriously in love with.  Not only does the company provide support to HHI with equipment, supplies and donations, it encourages employees to volunteer their time and provides the means for them to do so.
The folks there are also quite creative in the ways they provide support to HHI.  For example, the Ripple Effect Program. Read more about how HHI uses the Ripple Effect to provide needed supplies to clinics here.

Now Welch Allyn has launched a program called Points of Care – a new point-based incentive program that allows physicians to earn points based on purchases of select Welch Allyn products.  The points can be redeemed for free product, rebates or a donation to Heart to Heart International.

Click here to read the full release describing the new Points of Care program.

And to go directly to the Welch Allyn Points of Care website, click here.

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HHI Doctor in Philippines: “I no longer felt numb, I felt a little sick…”

2013-11-25 07.15.32-1Our Advance Team in the Philippines continues to do great, exhaustive work providing healthcare for people in the typhoon disaster zone. They began in Ormoc City and recently moved to Tacloban (pictured above), the city worst hit by Haiyan/Yolanda.

The three-person Advance Team has now been bolstered with the addition of almost a dozen medical volunteers from across the US.

Recently, we featured some personal thoughts and observations from Sue Mangicaro, RN and Dr. Rick Randolph – the two medical professionals on our Advance Team.  After treating dozens upon dozens of patients each day, they still have had the stamina to write down some of what they’re experiencing.

Sue & RickHere now, the most recent dispatch from Dr. Rick Randolph…

RICK:  We held clinic in an evacuee center near the waterfront in Tacloban, after moving from a makeshift clinic in a church as the patient volume was a little sparse.  The patients in the evacuation center were grateful but without major physical pathology.  We did see a fair number of people with insomnia and stress.  Two families had lost family members.  One came in with complaints of insomnia and shoulder pain.

I always ask what happened to them during the typhoon. This one woman had lost her son and two grandchildren.  According to a pastor, the son was kind and treated his mother well.  However, he wanted to stay with his home near the waterfront to protect their possessions despite the pleas of his mother.  He and his house were swept away along with two of his children.  This woman was able to escape and held two small grandchildren on her shoulders.  We could treat the pain in her shoulders, but we couldn’t heal her heart.

2013-11-25 07.15.30After clinic, we took a tour of the waterfront.  It was still a mass of wreckage and debris.  There were children playing and laughing, although the smell of rot was pervasive.  The views were stunning but after a while, you just felt a little numb. 

As we took a cleared street back, we passed the body of a baby. There was a small cross constructed from sticks and the body was covered with a mat.  We asked some people standing nearby about the baby’s body.  They said that the body had probably been recovered from the wreckage and dropped off along the road.

One of us commented that it was sad that the parents had lost a baby and didn’t know where the body was.  The bystanders said that the parents were probably dead too.  I no longer felt numb, I felt a little sick…


2013-11-25 07.15.33Please support Heart to Heart International by Donating Now
to our Disaster Readiness & Response Fund
.
Your donations will help deliver aid and support our relief efforts
in the Philippines, as well as help keep HHI prepared for
disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.

A Report from the Typhoon Disaster Zone (Part Two)

Dr. Rick w/ BabyOur Advance Team is on the ground on Leyte Island in the Philippines delivering direct patient care to hundreds of people who need it. One doctor & one nurse seeing hundreds of patients. That is changing, as more Heart to Heart International volunteers are arriving.

Our Advance Team:
Rick Randolph, MD
is a physician based in the Kansas City Metro, and a HHI board member.
Sue Mangicaro, RN 
is volunteering for the Advance Team, on “loan” from Welch Allyn where she is the Director of Clinical Affairs.
Julie Hefner,
a HHI staffer & Team Lead

What follows is some of Dr. Rick’s observations during his time treating patients in the disaster zone.  To read comments from Sue in Part One, click here.

2013-11-19 14.42.27RICK: This deployment was off to a hectic start for me.  I was out of town when the Typhoon struck and I committed to deploy with HHI while in New Orleans.  That compressed the preparation time since I had patients scheduled for the week.  My practice is used to my trips and generously accommodated my request for time off.

After meeting with the Heart to Heart staff, Julie Hefner and I flew to Los Angeles to meet up with Sue Mangicaro and then on to Cebu, Philippines.  It was a long flight over a total of 14 time zones and we were exhausted the day we arrived with jet lag.  

At the Ormoc city hall we met Commander Joseph Ring of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mustin.  He had two helicopters and was the on scene commander for the US military lead relief efforts.  Very handy.  Upon our arrival, we received a request for medical support for a village in the hills.  Cmdr. Ring dispatched a helicopter to the village and within 30 minutes we received a medical assessment from the Navy medic that there was no major medical needs, although they did desperately need food and clean water.  That saved us a day of walking into the mountains (the only other way to get there) for a place where there wasn’t a great medical need.  

2013-11-22 15.31.53At our first clinic at a local church where we were assigned, we saw about 75 patients in a shortened day. There were some injuries from the typhoon and a lot of illness from the contaminated water and the smoke in the air from burning debris (intentionally burned for disposal).  There were also several with chronic illness and a significant number of those who were severely stressed by their circumstances who can’t sleep or who somaticize {ed. note: anxiety converted into physical symptoms}.

The force of the Typhoon is evident in the substantial structures as well as the small houses.  The larger structures absorbed more force and roofs and walls were taken down.  The smaller houses were less substantial and had less structural strength and many were totally destroyed.
2013-11-20 13.29.15There is debris everywhere. The roads are mostly cleared to some extent.  Smoke is everywhere as people burn trash and debris. 

There is no electricity and probably won’t be for at least 6 months.  Generators are the only source of power.  The hotel where we stay {pic on right} has a large one and has established dozens of outlets outside the hotel for people to charge their cell phones, run their nebulizers for asthma and just watch the TV in the lobby for news.

Ormoc City is a functioning city.  The economy is turning back on and the health of the people isn’t too bad. The streets are bustling with activity.  Tacloban, on the other hand, has disintegrated.  There are many internally displaced persons from Tacloban in Ormoc despite the 100 kilometer distance.

Please support Heart to Heart International by Donating Now
to our Disaster Readiness & Response Fund
.
Your donations will help deliver aid and support our relief efforts
in the Philippines, as well as help keep HHI prepared for
disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.