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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.  

  • Alert: MTI Monitors Aftermath of Cyclone Pam

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 15, 2015


    Medical Teams International (MTI) is closely monitoring the situation in Vanuatu following the March 13 landfall of Cyclone Pam, which pummeled the archipelago nation with the force of a Category 5 hurricane. 

    The massive cyclone displaced thousands and killed at least eight people, according to early reports from the National Disaster Management Office. Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, received the brunt of the damage, with most of the buildings there now damaged or destroyed. It's currently unclear what the extent of the destruction is in Vanuatu's more rural enclaves, although U.N. officials say they fear the worst, with reports now circulating of entire villages wiped out. Officials say they expect the death toll to rise once a full assessment is made across all 83 islands that compose Vanuatu.

    MTI will continue to monitor the health needs of Vanuatu following the devastating cyclone, which has affected more than 48,000 people. What's currently known is that part of the country's main hospital, Vila Central, was damaged but remains operational. However, with more than 10,000 people currently homeless in Port Vila alone, the hospital is succumbing to overcrowding. The U.N. expects that at least 50 percent of children under 5, a figure that totals more than 17,000, will now be at risk for worsening childhood illness and nutritional status.

    As more information becomes available, keep the people of Vanuatu in your thoughts and prayers. The humanitarian needs there are high, and we need your help to provide essential services to people whose worlds have been turned upside down.

    You can make a contribution that will be used to provide life-saving care to the people of Vanuatu and nearby islands on MTI's disaster relief page. Your donation means we can respond to the devastation from the outset, when lives hang in the balance.

    In the days ahead, we will continue to keep you abreast of the situation and our disaster relief response. MTI last responded to a super storm in 2013, when Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 and injuring at least 27,000. During that response, MTI provided aid for 10,000 people in the first three months following the storm. Altogether, MTI deployed 60 volunteers and provided care for more than 20,500 patients in the aftermath of Haiyan. 

  • Liberia Update: Proper Waste Management Practices Promoted

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 12, 2015

    In Liberia, successfully keeping
    Ebola at bay means staying vigilant in the fight to maintain proper Infection Control Practices (IPC). In large part, the deadly disease spread so quickly because these protocols weren’t being followed during the initial wave of Ebola cases.

    Your thoughtful giving changed that. Because of donor support, Medical Teams International was one of the only nonprofits that stayed in Liberia, where we trained health workers and kept local clinics open during the height of the Ebola epidemic. While the disease appears to be on a downswing in the country, MTI’s mission hasn’t changed.

    Promoting professional medical waste management is one of the ways MTI is ensuring good IPC practices. Make no mistake, the lack of proper waste management procedures contributed to the deaths of many health workers, along with members of the communities they served.

    From soiled bedding and infectious syringes left lying around to Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) carelessly handled inside health facilities, the previous standards of waste management only promoted Ebola’s spread. Now, as MTI focuses on instilling high standards among health care workers, work continues toward the construction of incinerators, ash pits, and placenta pits at health facilities, used to destroy potentially contaminated medical supplies and specimens.

    Currently, MTI’s contractors have completed nine incinerators at nine health facilities. Workers at those facilities are now practicing proper waste management procedures to keep themselves and their communities safe.

    Take a look at your gifts at work. You’re helping us make amazing strides in West Africa!

    Liberia, IPC sanitation, March 2015
    Life Line Clinic

    Liberia, IPC2, March 2015
    Pool of Bethesda Medical Clinic 

    Liberia, IPC3, March 2015
    Refuge Place Maternity Clinic

  • Field Photos: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 09, 2015

    Check out these photos of your donations put into action. Medical Teams International and its partners are currently working in 25 camps in Lebanon, providing medical care to thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing conflict in their homeland.

    Through this work, MTI is able to reach 10,700 individuals. This work, helping the world's most vulnerable and frightened citizens in a time of need, would not be made possible without your generous gifts.

    Right now, more than 1 million Syrian refugees have crossed the border into Lebanon. Much of MTI's work is centered on treating non-communicable diseases among adults, in addition to providing children access to dental health care.

    Lebanon_dentist_March 2015

    Lebanon_group meets_March 2015

    Lebanon_group of kids_March 2015

    Lebanon_survey_March 2015

    We have you to thank for making our refugee relief efforts in Lebanon possible. Because of you, we're able to provide dental care, medications and peer-to-peer health care to Syrians desperately trying to stay alive. Thank you for making a difference.
  • Cambodia Success Story: Baby Born with Pneumonia Survives

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 06, 2015

    Chhook Mithona started life close to death. When the Cambodian girl was born, she had pneumonia, so her tiny lungs filled with fluid. The pneumonia led Chhook to develop a chronic cough, for which she had to take medicine every day.

    In babies, pneumonia can be deadly; and in developing countries, like Cambodia, the risks are heightened because the medicine is not as advanced or as available as it is in the states. Chhook’s mother, 23-year-old Voeth M., didn’t know what to do. For Chhook, each breath was a struggle, every new day a blessing. But in times of need, helping hands have a tendency to arrive. That was the case for baby Chhook, who was lifted up thanks to your support and amazing contributions.

    41.2 (Voeth Mang - Village 1)
    Voeth M. holds her daughter Chhook, who, when she was born, came down with pneumonia.

    In the small village in which Chhook and Voeth live, there is a Volunteer Health Support Group volunteer named Chhork M. She entered baby Chhook and Voeth’s lives and made an immediate impact, supporting and educating the mother on how to properly care for the young child. This work is tied to Medical Teams International’s Safe Motherhood program and, through it, Chhork receives continuing education in all areas of health. She uses that knowledge to educate the rest of the villagers on how to stay healthy and what to do when they're sick.

    This work shows what happens when your contributions are focused into action.

    Chhork is an extremely compassionate and caring woman. That was put on display when she helped care for baby Chhook and mother Voeth. She still goes to the health center often because of her baby’s chronic respiratory problems. But before she does, she always visits Chhork, who has become her community’s expert on infant and maternal health.

    30 (Chhork May, midwife-Kok Spean village 1)
    Volunteer Health Support Group volunteer Chhork M. monitors the health of people in her village, including babies like Chhook.

    As for Chhork, the volunteer, she said she is grateful to MTI — and to you, our supporters — for providing her with the continuing education and resources she needs to know the health of everyone in her village. She learned of the signs of pneumonia through the training she received from MTI. That training helped keep baby Chhook alive.

    Thanks so much for coming alongside our teams to help create sustainable medical care in Cambodia and keep babies like Chhook healthy! Donate to our Cambodian programs today.

  • Reports: Last Known Case of Ebola in Liberia

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 06, 2015

    A patient who had the last reported case of Ebola in Liberia has been discharged from a Chinese-run Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, according to multiple reports (including
    The New York Times and the BBC). The news is a heartening sign that the worst outbreak of the deadly disease in recorded history is waning under the pressure of a coordinated medical response.

    Medical Teams International (MTI) has been on the ground in Liberia from the start of the outbreak, working in several counties to mobilize and train health care workers and community health volunteers on infection prevention and control protocols to detect the disease and prevent further cases. During the fear and confusion of the early days of the outbreak, when health care workers were dying along with their patients, many of Liberia’s health clinics shut down.

    As the Ebola epidemic grew last summer, the Liberian Ministry of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and other NGOs requested MTI's expertise to help contain the deadly virus. Through your support, MTI worked to reestablish clinics, implement infection control measures, operate community care centers and support local health workers.

    Liberia_Putting on protective gear 4_Dec. 2014 (2)
    Workers with MTI try on protective gear that prevents the spread of Ebola.

    While this is a significant cause for celebration and a huge milestone in the fight against Ebola, time will tell whether Liberia is finally free of Ebola. Indeed, Liberia is still home to nearly 100 people who have yet to go 21 days without showing signs of the disease, after first coming into contact with someone who had it. Twenty-one days is the typical length of time a person is quarantined after potentially coming into contact with Ebola.

    There may also be “hidden cases” of the disease in the countryside. On top of that, Ebola remains active in two neighboring countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and their shared borders with Liberia are extremely porous.

    Even with the last Ebola patient being discharged in Liberia, there’s plenty of heavy lifting left in terms of fully restoring essential health services in the country. In fact, that’s one of the primary long-term goals of both the Liberia Ministry of Health and MTI. MTI will continue to work in Liberia, with a focus on implementing long-term infection prevention controls and disease surveillance and preparedness. MTI will also work with the Ministry of Health to restore essential health services throughout Liberia.

    Please visit our Ebola page to learn more about our efforts in West Africa.

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