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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.  

  • World Humanitarian Day: Not easy, but worth it

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 17, 2015

    hu·man·i·tar·i·an
    noun

    a person who seeks to promote human welfare or relieve suffering

    synonyms: social reformer, good Samaritan, philanthropist

    August 19, 2015 is World Humanitarian Day-- a day to remember and celebrate "humanitarian heroes." Meet some of the incredible people at Medical Teams International who work hard to bring much-needed relief around the world.

    Humanitarian Spotlight: Sharon

    Nurse & long-time volunteer with Medical Teams International

    Andrew in his office

    When Nurse Sharon heard about the devastating 7.8-magnitude Nepal earthquake, she began gathering as much information as she could about the disaster.

    A 16-year volunteer with Medical Teams International, Tissell has a heart for humanitarian work and the desire to drop everything to help those in need. She loves it. Humanitarian work is fulfilling, she said. And that’s why when she hears about a disaster, she all but has her bags packed.t

    “For anyone who has a heart for humanitarian work, once a disaster is on the news, it’s on your radar screen,” she said.

    For Tissell it’s simple: People with a passion for humanitarian aid want to serve. “You can imagine the shock people are going through,” she added. “To me, it’s very logical.”

    In Nepal, Tissell hiked through the mountains in search of people with medical needs, conducted health assessments and treated a few patients. While this is all commonplace in disaster response scenarios, Tissell called the Nepal mission atypical – different from the others she’s been on. While she hasn’t seen as many patients as in past missions, she has been very active conducting health needs assessments throughout villages that dot Nepal’s hilly landscape.

    As she crisscrosses the country, the most striking thing for her is the level of destruction. Some villages have been completely obliterated. In the rural village of Choku, near the Chinese border, only one of the several hundred structures there is inhabitable. There’s been untold disruption to electricity, water and food.

    “It’s devastating that for many, they have to rebuild more than what they can actually do,” Tissell said.

    She heard anecdotally that 32 people died in the village. Everybody there seemed to have a story, she said.

    “In every community, people are touched by the deaths,” she said.

    Disaster response volunteers like Tissell hope to help those with the most serious medical needs. But it’s rarely as simple as getting off the plane and treating patients. Particularly in Nepal, the rugged terrain poses challenges. High in the mountains, there are questions awaiting answers.

    It’s not easy, but Tissell said she wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Relief efforts in Nepal highlight how volunteers have to search high and low for people with the most need. That search is fulfilling, Tissell said, especially when that moment comes when volunteers know they’ve made a difference in somebody’s life.

    “We want to help anyway we can,” she said. “Sometimes, if we can’t do the most critical needs, we fill in wherever we can. It’s about coming alongside.”

    Want to take part in World Humanitarian Day? "Donate your social media feed" for a day to honor an inspiring aid worker. Volunteer or donate with Medical Teams International to help bring life-saving help to those who need it most. Spread the word & show your support on Facebook & Twitter.

  • Disaster Update: Providing relief for Myanmar

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 17, 2015

    Myanmar is still recovering from flooding that submerged entire regions as dams collapse from dangerously heavy rainfall. With no personal belongings, no food, and destroyed farmlands, relief for flood victims in this vulnerable country is critical. Your support is making a difference.

    Our local partner is providing emergency and long-term relief for those affected by flooding. Want to help bring relief to flood victims? Donate here to provide emergency care and long-term support for flood victims in Myanmar.

    Here are some of the most recent photo updates from the field:

    Come across flooded water for his child treatment
    A father carries his son through deep floodwater to seek out medical care for his son.

    Myanmar Care and Counseling Department team providing medical mobile care
    Our partner's Care & Counseling Department team wades through flood water to provide mobile medical care to flood victims.

    Distributing clean water for flood victims
    Distributing clean drinking water for flood victims who have been left with water sources contaminated by flooding.


    Want to do more? Learn more about our work in Myanmar. Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Make a donation to support vulnerable communities in desperate need of emergency relief. Pray that those affected will be protected from disaster and the long-term impacts of the flood.

  • World Humanitarian Day: "I wanted to work to help people"

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 15, 2015

    hu·man·i·tar·i·an
    noun

    a person who seeks to promote human welfare or relieve suffering

    synonyms: social reformer, good Samaritan, philanthropist

    August 19, 2015 is World Humanitarian Day-- a day to remember and celebrate "humanitarian heroes." Meet some of the incredible people at Medical Teams International who work hard to bring much-needed relief around the world.

    Humanitarian Spotlight: Joanne

    Haiti Country Director at Medical Teams International

    Haiti JoanneJoanne's story: "Since I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor to take care of people. While I was growing up I find in my heart that I did not want to be working in a clinic to treat people but I wanted to work to help people to not get sick. At that time, I did not know anything about public health. 

    "Shortly after my entry in medical school I heard about public health and I knew I wanted to work in this field but it was not clear how I would do that. After my initial training as a general physician, I spent one year in the country to work in a clinic at an episcopal mission in the south of Haiti. The doctor in charge of the district told me that only few people were visiting the clinic and that it is important to organize community health activities to increase the number of visits. This was my first year of experience with community health.

    "I worked with the community, the health workers and by the end of the year, more people were visiting the clinic, there was immunization service available, the health committee was reinvigorated, the TB program was successful.

    "After this time, I moved to the north-east for family purpose and I volunteered in a health center and mostly supported their outreach program and prevention services. Day after day I felt more passionate about preventive medicine and I make the decision that I would study public health.

    "In 2007, I worked with a humanitarian organization as a technical advisor for their program. Since then I have worked with 4 humanitarian organizations including MTI."

    What's the most difficult part of your work? "It is hard to see so many needs and have limited capacity to respond or even bring a contribution to solve the problem."

    What's the most rewarding part of your work? "It is hard to say. My motivation is to make a difference and I am happy when I see the change happening and people dignity being restored. The amazing thing is that I am being transformed myself. I see life differently and I am more thankful for all that God gave me."

    Want to take part in World Humanitarian Day? "Donate your social media feed" for a day to honor an inspiring aid worker. Volunteer or donate with Medical Teams International to help bring life-saving help to those who need it most. Spread the word & show your support on Facebook & Twitter.

  • World Humanitarian Day: From Peace Corps to Sahara nomad

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 13, 2015

    hu·man·i·tar·i·an
    noun

    a person who seeks to promote human welfare or relieve suffering

    synonyms: social reformer, good Samaritan, philanthropist

    August 19, 2015 is World Humanitarian Day-- a day to remember and celebrate "humanitarian heroes." Meet some of the incredible people at Medical Teams International who work hard to bring much-needed relief around the world.

    Humanitarian Spotlight: Andrew

    Liberia Country Director at Medical Teams International
    Andrew in his office

    What drew you to humanitarian aid work? Right out of college I joined the Peace Corps. I wanted an adventure, to experience something totally different. I was sent to Niger, West Africa for two years and my view of the world was changed. I developed a passion for working with the poor and never looked back.  

    What’s the most rewarding part of your job? The people I work with. This is more than just a job. I get to work with a team that really wants to see change in their community.  They believe in what they are doing and that attitude rubs off on everyone. I love it.

    What’s the most difficult part of your job? Prioritizing. The needs are so big that I constantly try to weigh the important vs. the urgent.

    What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had as a humanitarian aid worker? I had the opportunity to live with a nomadic Tuareg family in the Sahara dessert. At the time I was working on a program to eradicate Guinea Worm, a parasite that is found in standing water and then grows into a worm up to four feet long. I followed them in a tent, ate what they ate, and drank tea with them every evening. We were able to make sure that the Guinea worm stopped spreading and was eventually eradicated in that district of Mali.  

    Want to take part in World Humanitarian Day? "Donate your social media feed" for a day to honor an inspiring aid worker. Volunteer or donate with Medical Teams International to help bring life-saving help to those who need it most. Spread the word & show your support on Facebook & Twitter.

  • Disaster Update: Myanmar field photos

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 11, 2015

    Flooding has wreaked havoc on Myanmar, submerging entire regions as dams collapse from dangerously heavy rainfall. In some areas, flooding has completely engulfed single-story homes and washed away all personal belongings, food, and access to safe drinking water.

    With no personal belongings, no food, and destroyed farmlands, support is critical to ensure this vulnerable situation is handled in a way that allows Myanmar to continue its path to development. Your support is making a difference.

    Our local partner is providing emergency and long-term relief for those affected by flooding. Want to help bring relief to flood victims? Donate here to provide emergency care and long-term support for flood victims in Myanmar.

    Here are some photo updates from the field:


    Living conditions in temporary shelter
    Living conditions in temporary shelter set up for displaced flood victims.

    Deep flooding in Myanmar
    Homes and farmland are destroyed by deadly floodwaters.

    Myanmar flood victim
    A man wades through flood water in a partially-submerged village in the Bago West Region of Myanmar. 


    Flood situation in Thone Sae Township
    Widespread destruction from flooding in Thone Sae township.

    Medical care by Township
    Medical care for flood victims. Snake bites, diarrhea, and exposure are serious threats during this type of disaster.


    Want to do more? Learn more about our work in Myanmar. Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Make a donation to support vulnerable communities in desperate need of emergency relief. Pray that those affected will be protected from disaster and the long-term impacts of the flood.


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