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Medical Teams Blog: Stories of boldly breaking barriers to health

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  • A welcome medical delivery in Cambodia!

    by Emily Crowe | Jan 26, 2017

    How big of a difference can a delivery of medical equipment make in a health clinic? For under-served clinics in an impoverished country, they make a huge difference.

    Thanks to the hard work of partners, donors & our distribution center volunteers (learn more about volunteering), our teams were able to ship a container full of medical equipment and supplies to several hospitals in regions where we work in Cambodia! These tools help local medical staff provide better care - providing exponential value for those in need.

    The shipments received a warm welcome. Check out these photos from an opening ceremony hosted by one of the hospitals that received equipment and supplies:

    Local leaders and many of the hospital staff showed up for the shipment welcoming ceremony. 

    Clean medical supplies reduce the risk of infection & death in under-served clinics.

    Donated-medical-supplies-cambodiaBoxes of medical supplies arrive at one of the clinics where we work in Cambodia. 

  • Spreading health (and smiles!) around the world.

    by Emily Crowe | Jan 23, 2017

    Reflecting over the past year - and looking forward into the new - one thing is clear: Your support makes an incredible impact.

    In 2016, you sent medical supplies to clinics in urgent need. You taught children the importance of safe hand-washing and sent hygiene kits around the world. You transported pregnant mothers to clinics for safe delivery and made sure they received follow-up care. And so much more. Best of all, your support will impact these lives for years to come.

    As we look forward to the impact we will make - together - in 2017, please take a moment to meet some of the incredible people you helped in 2016:

    Syrian refugees in Lebanon & Greece: You sent medical supplies and doctors, trained community Health Outreach Volunteers, and brought care where it is desperately needed. 

    Hurricane victims & long-term programs in Haiti: You made sure children, families and communities stayed safe in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew - and are ensuring they'll be healthy in the years to come.

    Refugees in Uganda: Violence in South Sudan and Burundi forced thousands of families to flee their homes and become refugees in Uganda - sometimes more than 6,000 per day. You're making sure our teams can meet the demand and get refugees the medical care they deserve.

    Community health in Guatemala: Your support sent volunteer teams and empowered health programs in Guatemala, making sure more children grow up healthy and strong.

  • South Sudan: "There was nothing left for me"

    by Emily Crowe | Jan 19, 2017

    This story comes directly from a refugee mother we met at one of the refugee settlements we serve in Uganda. Like too many others, she and her children had fled fight in the home, South Sudan. Thank you for bringing health care to families like hers. Please pray that she and her child will find healing and safety.

    There was nothing left for me back there; no home, no food, even one of my children was taken from me. The soldiers came and took everything. They didn’t care that my child is sick, and that another one had been killed by one of their bombs. They still come and take everything.


    [We] came because of hunger. In Nimule (South Sudan), everyone is fighting. Soldiers come to take everything.

    They didn’t care that my child is sick, and that another one had been killed by one of their bombs. They still come and take everything.

    We left home and started traveling towards the border, but we still couldn’t find food anywhere—we were starving. The road to get here was very dangerous... You have to bribe the soldiers if they find you on the road. They charge 800 SP per adult and 400 SP per child. And even if you pay them, another might come and arrest you. Some people die on the roadside because they cannot pay.

    I lost everything, I came with nothing, only the clothes on my back... We were luck to have made it.

    Thousands of women like Opia and their children have fled South Sudan as unimaginable violence has become terrifying reality. Even more heartbreaking, Opia's family was separated in the camp. Your support is critical to keep refugee families like Opia's safe. Thank you for making sure she and her children have access to safe, reliable healthcare.

  • Haiti: Small Acts of Kindness

    by Sarah Austria | Jan 13, 2017

    Medical Teams International’s Mobile Medical Units enable prompt response after a natural disaster strikes, bringing medical care when and where it’s needed most. Here is one story of how a Mobile Medical Unit made a difference after a recent disaster.

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, many clinics in Haiti were destroyed or closed. Cholera risk was extremely high, and many people suffered injuries. Especially in isolated, rural areas, locals urgently need a safe place to find help. Thanks to your quick response, Medical Teams International’s Mobile Medical Units were up and running almost immediately, providing relief and working hard to prevent a deadly cholera outbreak.

    Volunteers & staff work together to treat patients in the mobile medical unit.

    Health workers noticed a large crowd assisting an obviously injured man. The hurricane devastated the island, causing injuries and illness. What was wrong with this patient - and would they be able to help him?

    He was immediately brought in to see the physician. Jean, a 39-year-old farmer, had been working to clear hurricane debris from land. He cut his foot while using an ax. A hard-working farmer, he needed to be mobile to make a living. Without treatment, his injury could lead to serious infection. Thankfully, his fields were close to the Mobile Medical Unit and he was immediately brought for treatment. Seriously hobbled by the injury, Jean was treated by Dr. Dave, a physician. A nurse, Teryn, and Humanitarian Team Leader, Frank, both assisted in cleaning and dressing the wound.

    Nurse Teryn describes what happened next. “After dressing his wound, Jean was unable to put his sandal back on due to the bulky dressing. However, in the nature of helping one’s neighbor, Jean’s friend took off his own larger sandals and handed them over to him to use. Sometimes, even a small gesture can mean a lot to someone in times of need, and today we were blessed to witness this selfless act."

    "Sometimes, even a small gesture can mean a lot to someone in times of need, and today we were blessed to witness this selfless act."

    It can be daunting to imagine how to begin the process of rebuilding, but Jean and his friend know exactly what to do. Neighbor helping neighbor with a small, profound act of kindness is a great place to start.

    Jean was fortunate to receive medical care. According to the United Nations, Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Against that backdrop, Hurricane Matthew has only added to Haiti’s recent history of devastating natural disasters. Thanks to you, Medical Teams International is in Haiti providing expert medical care for immediate needs, as well disease prevention and control.

  • Hope Amid the Pain: Tina’s Mobile Dental Story

    by User Not Found | Jan 06, 2017

    "I hang out with the pain as long as I can take it.” This is how Tina describes her life with tooth pain. We met Tina on one of our Mobile Dental Vans, where she has become a frequent visitor. She doesn’t want to have to have all of her teeth extracted, but the pain is unbearable and the risk of infection spreading is high.


    One year ago, she had perfect teeth. After eight back surgeries from an initial ruptured disc, she has to be on pain medication to even get out of bed. A side effect of this essential medicine is dry mouth and rotting teeth. Because of the debilitating pain, there is nothing she can do about it. With ten teeth extractions so far, she said there are moments of bliss after an infected tooth is removed... but the pain-free time in her mouth doesn’t last long.

    With only one molar left, Tina cannot eat normal food. Food gets stuck in the holes where her teeth used to be, and chewing takes a lot of work. It’s all painful. Often, she doesn’t even want to eat.

    Mobile-dental-help-local-medical-reliefTina is depressed and discouraged. She used to love to shop, laugh, and smile and now she doesn’t want to be seen in public. She avoids stores and hides her mouth. She hates that this is happening to her.

    Our Mobile Dental Clinics are her last hope. She is very grateful that she has somewhere to go. On Medicare she has very limited dental insurance and it would be impossible to get all the dental work she needs. Thanks to supporters like you, Tina can get the help she needs.

    “Without this van, my quality of life would be nothing,” Tina said. She wants people to know how important these vans are for people like her, saying “I hope others appreciate it as much as I do.” People don’t realize the difficulty of rotting teeth until they go through it: horrendous pain, not being able to eat, embarrassed in public to smile.

    Tina doesn’t know where she’d be without these Mobile Dental Vans. She wants to extend a big thank you to everyone who makes these  clinics possible. Thanks to your support, we can provide relief for Tina and others like her.