Saturday, August 28, 2010

And The Countdown Begins....

As my departure date moves closer, I am slowly learning more about what my role will be for the next year. One project I will be working on is aimed to reduce the infant mortality and morbidity rate in Chimbote. Roughly 70% of childhood deaths in the developing world are due to malnutrition, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria and measles, all of which are treatable and preventable conditions. The following article from the CMMB website highlights this project (Unidos Contra La Mortalidad):

CMMB Partners with Leading Catholic Health Care Networks to Launch Major Child Survival Program in Peru


Barbara Wright 212 609 2584



Partners Hope Unidos Contra La Mortalidad Infantil – United Against Infant Mortality - Will Be Model For Further Expansion Of Work Of Catholic Healthcare Networks In The Developing World

Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), Bon Secours Health System, CHRISTUS Health and Caritas del Peru have announced a new initiative, Unidos Contra La Mortalidad Infantil, aimed at decreasing morbidity and mortality in children under five years of age in three key regions of Peru.

The US$1.1 million project will be implemented in the regions of Trujillo, Huancayo and Chimbote, key regions of Peru where Catholic healthcare networks have ongoing ministries. It will focus on the following major activities:

Home visits for pregnant mothers and all newborns, with the purpose of educating on early intervention, recognizing illnesses, knowing when and where to seek timely care, learning methods of exclusive breastfeeding, teaching newborn care to prevent illnesses and mortality;
Training in the Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI);
Establishing systems of nutritional community surveillance in coordination with
regional and national health systems;

Building adequate referral systems;
Improving quality care of children under five years of age, and
Implementing supportive supervision to strengthen the quality of IMNCI activities.

In speaking of the reasons for launching the program and the selection of Peru, CMMB’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Jack Galbraith, commented: “Having initiated child survival programs in other areas of Latin America, we’ve seen first-hand the value of working with strong, in-country partners. Caritas del Peru provides a strong base and works closely with Peru’s Ministry of Health in providing healthcare to those in need.”

Sister Patricia Eck, C. B. S., Chair of Bon Secours Ministries and Congregational Leader for the Sisters of Bon Secours, discusses the involvement of her organization: “Our sisters in Peru have long performed heartfelt and professional outreach to the suffering in Trujillo and Huancayo, but we have always wanted to do more. CMMB has the know-how that will allow us to implement this project in a meaningful way and set a foundation for further expansion as resources permit.”

Galbraith adds: “Like many U. S.-based Catholic healthcare systems, Bon Secours Health System, would like to expand its global ministry. When they approached us with the idea of building upon our mutual expertise, we were more than ready.”

"CHRISTUS Health is grateful for the opportunity to partner with other Catholic health ministries to expand services to mothers and children in Peru, said Peter Maddox, Senior Vice President, Business, Strategy and Corporate Development. "This is an opportunity for us to work toward our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and to support the work of one of our founding congregations in Chimbote, Peru. CHRISTUS Health has been an international health ministry since 2001, when we expanded into Latin America with a partnership in Mexico that has grown to include seven hospitals and many other health care providers, and we look forward to applying knowledge gained there to this new endeavor as well," Maddox said.

CMMB sees its role as that of a catalyst for further partnerships in Peru. It will provide its unique combination of programmatic excellence, provision of donated medicines and medical supplies, and deployment of volunteer healthcare experts in implementing Unidos Contra La Mortalidad Infantil.

About Bon Secours Health System

Bon Secours Health System is a US $2.9 billion not-for-profit Catholic health system that owns, manages or participates in joint ventures in 18 acute care, 5 long-term care, 4 assisted and 7 independent/senior housing facilities, primarily on the East Coast of the United States. It employs more than 21,000 caregivers, helping people in seven states.

About CHRISTUS Health

CHRISTUS Health, an international Catholic, faith-based, not-for-profit health system, is headquartered in Dallas and is comprised of almost 350 services and facilities, including more than 50 hospitals and long-term care facilities, 175 clinics and outpatient centers and dozens of other health ministries and ventures. CHRISTUS services can be found in over 60 cities in Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Georgia, Utah and Mexico. The system employs approximately 30,000 Associates and has over 10,000 physicians on facility medical staffs who provide care and support for patients. CHRISTUS Health is listed among the top ten Catholic health systems in the U.S.

About Caritas del Peru

Caritas del Peru is a key national healthcare provider in Peru, with a comprehensive national network and structure. It is an acknowledged healthcare leader, maintaining high standards in accountability and monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, and training. Its network spans across every region in Peru.

About CMMB

Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) is the leading U.S.-based Catholic charity focused exclusively on global healthcare. The organization has been working to help heal and save lives throughout the world since 1912, when it had its beginnings in Haiti. CMMB’s medical volunteer, donated medicines, HIV/AIDS, child survival and neglected tropical diseases programs and initiatives concentrate on making healthcare available to all.

I will be heading to New Jersey on September 13th for orientation with the other volunteers from CMMB. On September 17th I will be flying from Newark to Lima where I will be spending a couple days before heading north to Chimbote.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Next Year

Since I am getting antsy hanging around in the states for so long, I have decided that Peru would be a good way to cure my restlessness. I figured a blog would be the easiest (and coolest!) way to keep all my loved ones up to date on my adventures. Feel free to read it if you want and just ignore it if you're not interested.

I will be working with the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) as part of their Medical Volunteer Program. CMMB is a really great organization that helps to provide quality healthcare to everyone regardless of religion, race or socioeconomic status. If you have a minute, you should look at their website:

September 17th or 18th, I will be moving to Chimbote, a city of about 300,000 about 260 miles (420 km) north of Lima, right on the coast. They are a fishing town known for their Ceviche. It sounds like I will have a variety of jobs from working with new moms to working with kids with disabilities and helping out in a clinic for people with chronic diseases. It will be a new challenge for me, but one that I am very much looking forward to.

As a way to help support my year abroad, CMMB asks that their volunteers help to raise funds to cover a portion of the cost. CMMB estimates that it costs about $15,000 to send a medical professional abroad for an entire year. This estimate includes medivac and hazard insurance, transportation to and from Peru, room and board and a small monthly stipend. My goal is to try and raise $5,000 to help cover the coast. I have set up a tribute page to make this easier: Anything in the form of prayers, good vibes, pennies, or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. The most important thing for me as I go on this trek will be the love and support of my family and friends. I know this is going to be a challenging, but hopefully rewarding, year.

If you have made it this far in my first post, I applaud you. Now comes the fun part. I need to figure out a name for said blog. So start suggesting!!

I will try to do my best to keep this updated as my departure date gets closer and I make the transition to Peruvian life.