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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Get the latest updates from our programs in the field internationally and here in the United States.  

  • Haiti Earthquake: Five Years Later

    by Tyler Graf | Jan 09, 2015

    On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti rumbled.

    As the Earth shook, the result of a magnitude-7 earthquake, roofs collapsed and cars careened off the road. More than 300,000 people died as a result of the massive quake, while others were grievously injured. Much of the country’s already insufficient infrastructure crumbled to the ground.

    Léogâne, a coastal town, was wiped out completely. In nearby Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, government buildings and churches caved inward, leaving few safe havens for citizens to turn. Following the quake, people were sleeping in the streets. Health centers were damaged, making it nearly impossible to provide medicine.

    Dead bodies were left in the streets, or under rubble.

    The needs were extreme. Families, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, were profoundly affected. But when help was needed the most, you answered the call. For the past five years, your generous donations have made Medical Team International’s work in Haiti possible.

    Five years after the earthquake, the country is moving beyond the crisis and has not only begun rebuilding the areas most affected by the disaster, but re-engaging other areas of the country that have typically been under developed, like Crochu. We see signs of hope as the country moves beyond disaster and continues to develop health services and infrastructure.

    Even out of the worst disasters there emerge success stories — stories like Chalumène Vernis’.

    On February 21, 2014, she delivered a beautiful baby girl in the locality of Crochu, where MTI has created a Safe Motherhood Project. Weeks before Chalumène gave birth, MTI worked with community members to develop an emergency evacuation plan for women who have complications during pregnancy.

    So when Chalumène began having difficulties with her birth — hours passed with no sign of the baby — community members executed a plan developed by MTI.

    By foot, they carried Chalumène for three hours on a handmade stretcher until they reached an area where ambulances were accessible. Chalumène was transported to a hospital, where she successfully gave birth to a healthy baby.

    Five years after the earthquake, Haiti remains a country gripped by crisis. But there are signs of improvement. There are mobile clinics in several locales that distribute medicine and other essential supplies that have gone to help mothers and babies.

    MTI staffer Joanne St. Louis, who is from Haiti, reflected on the last year, saying there's work ahead to help the people of her country.

    "There is still a lot to do. After the response to the emergency MTI transitioned to development work and went to Work in Crochu at the invitation of the ministry of health," she said. "This is a remote village with very limited resources, poor access to health care. MTI is working closely with the population and the ministry of health."

    This year, MTI will work to double its community health efforts by expanding services to a new region of Haiti. Simultaneously, MTI is working alongside the Bereca Hospital in northern Haiti to improve capacity, especially in maternity care.

    As we reflect on the five-year anniversary, take a moment to pray and remember the Haiti and the millions whose lives were changed when the Earth began rumbling beneath their feet.

  • Field Video: Traditional Birth Attendant Training in Haiti

    by Tyler Graf | Jan 06, 2015
    Haiti's mothers need access to prenatal care, better sanitation and vitamins.

    The country has among the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. Roughly 55 infants die for every 1,000 births — a rate that's 10 times worse than in the United States. While the ratio has dropped since 2010, when an earthquake demolished much of the country's infrastructure, more can be done to stem the tide of unnecessary deaths.

    In Crochu, a rural area of Haiti without primary healthcare, babies die of cholera and diarrheal diseases. After mother-to-be Berlange Ceant became sick in the remote northeastern region of the island, her body was ravaged by a high fever. She worried — about herself and her unborn baby. Doctors did too but, in the end, medical aid came too late. She lost her child.

    Early detection in the form of prenatal care visits may have prevented Ceant's loss.

    "The other women who gave birth that day got to hold their babies," Ceant said. "I never got to hold mine."

    Watch this powerful video we just received from Medical Teams International field staff in Haiti. It tells Ceant's story and how generous donors like you are helping MTI to prevent further tragedies -- thank you!

  • Compassion into action: A note from our CEO

    by Tyler Graf | Jan 01, 2015

    Dear friends and partners,

    At Medical Teams International, we are deeply humbled by your compassion and generosity to those in need. Your support is enabling profoundly positive changes in the lives of those affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.

    Your commitment to serving the world’s most vulnerable people deserves accolades. Medical Teams International’s work is only made possible through your gifts and prayers. Whether it’s fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, caring for refugees in Syria or providing dental care in the U.S., Medical Teams International depends on people like you who put their compassion into action .

    From all of us here, thank you. 

    In 2014, you have shown us truly that “your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” (Acts 10:4) As the year concludes, we will continue our efforts to build on our very important partnerships and boldly march forward to serve even more people around the globe.

    Blessings in the New Year,

    Jeff Pinneo
    President & CEO

  • Harvard Business Review acknowledges MTI's fight against Ebola

    by Kristin Simpson | Dec 31, 2014

    Harvard Business Review’s recent insightful article featured MTI’s work to “collaborate across boundaries” to stop the spread of Ebola.

    Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, when the Ebola outbreak started ravaging West Africa, MTI was already there—ready to help. After providing community health care in Liberia since 2003, we became a leader in the fight against Ebola. Responding to requests for assistance from other NGOs as well as the Liberian Ministry of Health, the CDC, and the World Health Organization, MTI expanded our community health programs to all fifteen Liberian counties--improving safety in communities, families, and health clinics through education and training.

    As the article states, “the ‘teaming of teams,’ as it were — will be essential in elevating global response and finally turning the tide against the disease.’

    Read the full article here and learn more about MTI's work in Liberia.
  • Mobile Dental Success Story: Cecilia's smile

    by Tyler Graf | Dec 29, 2014
    Medical Teams International volunteer Joy Temple brought us a success story from a recent mobile dental clinic, with photos from volunteer Doug Vorwaller.

    Fourteen-year-old Cecilia arrived to Medical Team International’s mobile dental program in anguish. 

    Cecilia bumped her teeth one day, causing her face to swell and her teeth to ache. The pain was so great that she took several days off of school to recuperate. When the pain became too extreme, Cecilia and her mom visited the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, where she was referred to MTI’s mobile dental clinic.

    It turns out Cecilia had nerve damage and an infection in one of her teeth. She would need a costly root canal in order to save the tooth. Her family did not have the money for such an operation. But a volunteer dentist was able to approve and pay for root canal surgery the following week to fix the damage and save the tooth.

    Through your generous gifts, Cecilia is no longer in pain. Her broad smile remains gap-free. Because of donations to the Mobile Dental program, MTI is able to provide free or low-cost urgent dental care services to patients who lack dental insurance or the money necessary to pay for urgent dental needs. Every dollar makes a difference.

    Cecilia is recovering and is thankful for being pain free thanks to you!

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