Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

Sign up to receive the blog directly to your email inbox

  • Humbling moments with Syrian refugees

    by Emily Crowe | Nov 23, 2015

    Syrian_refugee_mother_children_GreeceHeartbreaking violence has forced millions of innocent Syrians to flee for safety-- countless homes and families have been destroyed. Your support is on the ground-- providing medical care and supplies for families simply trying to survive.

    This week, Medical Teams International's President & CEO Jeff Pinneo is visiting Greece & Lebanon to assess refugee families' needs-- and is witnessing the amazing ways your gifts are making an impact.

    In Greece, resilient refugee families prove that overcrowded camps and a lost homeland aren't enough to break the human spirit-- many have risked their lives crossings seas and facing freezing winter temperatures in a desperate search for safer lives.

    Follow Jeff's journey-- and see the people and places where you are making a crucial impact and bringing care and support where it's so desperately needed.

    "Some images from my day with hundreds of Syrian families who've fled their war torn homeland for safety and freedom, often risking their lives in the crossing to Greece. Inspired that MTI & our Greek partners are able to bring some light into their day and outlook--thankful for the many supporters and friends who make it possible."

    MTI's Trina meets with a refugee mother and her child. In spite of losing their home and homeland, the sweet innocence of a child is a reminder of God's love and peace.

    With meager accommodations, many refugees are forced to wait outside, exposed to cold winter temperatures and with no way to buy food or winter clothes.
    Families wait near the sea they risked their lives to cross. It's a dangerous, deadly journey that has taken many lives.

    Join the conversation & get the latest updates: Follow Medical Teams International on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates from the field. Want to help? Send a Refugee Care Kit to provide hygiene supplies for a family or infant. Help us reach 10,000 families-- share the word on social media by using #MTIkits! 
  • World Toilet Day: How do toilets battle poverty?

    by Emily Crowe | Nov 19, 2015

    Today is an unusual day: World Toilet Day. Created in 2013 United Nations General Assembly, it's a day entirely to an often-overlooked tool in the fight against poverty: toilets.

    Compared to more "glamorous" health tools like new clinics or innovative food programs, a toilet may not seem like the most exciting way to save lives. In reality, this couldn't be any further from the truth.

    Why is a toilet an important tool to end poverty? This year's theme focuses on one of the big ways toilets (and safe drinking water) hurt developing communities: Better sanitation for better nutrition.

    Without a safe toilet, it's easy for water sources to become contaminated by human waste-- causing diseases like repeated diarrhea and intestinal worm infection-- both of which produce roughly 50% of all malnutrition cases around the world. Nearly 1000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases linked to a lack of safe water and sanitation.

    So, in honor of World Toilet Day, we're sharing snapshots of some of the many ways your support is at work around the world, from Cambodia to Latin America-- bringing safer sanitation to children and communities and bringing these deadly statistics down.

    latrine guatemala
    GUATEMALA: Volunteers & locals install a latrine, as well as hand washing stations, in a rural village in Guatemala. Learn more about our health projects in Guatemala.

    CAMBODIA: Children practice proper handwashing with their mother, who was trained at local Community Health meeting led by MTI. Learn more about how you can help families in Cambodia.

    Handwashing Nepal
    NEPAL: Local women are taught about the importance and basics of handwashing at a post-earthquake clinic led by MTI. Learn more about our work in Nepal.

    Want to join us on World Toilet Day and use your voice to save lives everywhere? Here are ways you can help:

    1. Use #WeCantWait on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to join the conversation and raise global awareness!
    2. Have you volunteered with a latrine-building Community Health team with MTI? Share photos and memories from your trip!
    3. Finally, donate to "Help a Malnourished Child" or "Where Needed Most" on our Holiday Catalog and bring safer lives to children and families for years to come.

  • An early Christmas gift brightens Edena's smile

    by Tyler Graf | Nov 17, 2015

    The holidays seem to come sooner and sooner each year, a fact not lost on Edena, a Native American woman who lives a humble life in the American Southwest on a reservation.

    Edena grew up during World War II, a time of rationing and food shortages for her family. All they had were each other during Christmas, but that was plenty. On Christmas day, they gathered friends and family and gave out handmade crafts and baked goods.

    Edena said she wished people still focused on being with their families on holidays instead of shopping. People should still make things for each other, she said.

    Edena reflected on the nature of giving at a community health screening held at the reservation. The event had a Christmas theme tied to "giving." 

    Shipping, Edena in the SW, 2015
    Edena opens her early Christmas stocking and is happy to find health supplies and assorted gifts.

    At the screening health workers were able to give Edena a stocking filled with health supplies-- a gift that you provided. Some of the gifts were hard-to-come-by dental supplies, much needed in a region with some of the highest instances of tooth decay and gum disease in the country.

    The stocking included top-of-the-line toothbrushes and other important hygiene and health supplies. Among the elderly population of the reservation, poor dental health is a major cause of other health problems down the road, such as heart disease and pneumonia. 

    Edena was so thankful for what you provided. It reminded her of the useful gifts she used to receive as a child, and embodied the spirit of Christmas "giving" she truly treasures.

    Thanks to your gift, Edna is better protected from these preventable diseases-- this holiday season and for years to come.

    Your donations ship health supplies all over the world, to communities in need. Just $40 sends $5,000 worth of lifesaving, life-enriching medicines and medical supplies. Learn more today about how you can make an impact in someone’s life.

  • Cambia Team Leaves Uganda With a Prototype App in Hand

    by Emily Crowe | Nov 09, 2015

    This post originally appeared on Cambia Health Solution's blog, The Pulse. Cambia has been our partner for many years, providing valuable support for our mobile dental program. We are thrilled with this new opportunity: working together to design a system that will help our Uganda clinics provide better care than ever before-- potentially saving many more lives.

    Check out the most recent updates from the field, and follow #techpossible on FacebookTwitter or Instagram for updates.

    Cambia MTI Uganda 2015 012

    By Lisa Honebrink, Strategic Communications

    It’s our fourth and final day on the ground in Uganda. While we wake to the sound of a hard rain, spirits aren’t damp but buoyant. That’s because, after spending all of yesterday hunkered down inside the hotel, Cambia’s IT team has developed a prototype app. And they’re eager to use this last day here to get it into the hands of Medical Teams International doctors and see what happens.

    After testing the app with three doctors and a data clerk, the reaction was unanimous: an enthusiastic thumbs up.

    “We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the week,” said Project Manager Mark Wyman. As much as that statement applies to the work accomplished during the discovery trip, it also applies to the life-changing perspective and experiences the team gained this week.

    As we pack our bags for the 20 hours of travel back to the U.S., we’re sad to leave the warm, welcoming people of Uganda and the hospitality and comradery of the Medical Teams staff.

    While we will never forget the faces and stories of the refugees we met, we also witnessed Medical Teams staff and volunteers doing all they can to help those who have lost everything. That inspires us to do all we can, through our work skills and through our hearts, to ensure the best possible care is delivered to those who need it most – down the street or across the world.

    It also reminds us of the value of combining knowledge and resources when trying to solve complex problems.

    “This project involves the UN, the government of Uganda, Medical Teams and Cambia Health Solutions,” said Doug Fountain, Medical Teams VP of Operations. “Without that partnership, this all wouldn’t be possible. With this partnership, it is possible.”

    Next: The group returns to Portland for a hackathon with four more Cambia IT team members, to continue to build the prototype app out to completion.

    Visit our Oct. 28 blog post, Cambia Technology Experts Travel to Uganda to Aid Health Refugee Clinics, and visit our Facebook photo album for new trip photos.

    Photo by Johnny Miller for Cambia

  • Liberia's Dental Crisis: 10 dentists, 4+ million in need

    by Emily Crowe | Nov 06, 2015

    How important is access to good dental care? In Liberia, dental care is a scarce commodity-- so scarce, in fact, that the lack of access sometimes results in deadly consequences. Matt Stiller, Director of Dental Programs at Medical Teams International, reports from the field in Liberia:

    In a country of 4 million+ with less than 10 dentists, dental treatment is simply not an option available to 99% of citizens. In three days of dental related meetings, I heard of three separate recent deaths from dental infections. Health officials recognize the need but do not have the capacity to improve conditions. MTI dental teams can save lives now- we need volunteer dental professionals to lead the charge!

    It is heartbreaking to witness the immense need for dental care in Liberia. Our hearts go out to these vulnerable families and communities-- We cannot wait to see the truly life-saving impact your support will have on these families.

    Dental_liberia_mattWant to get involved? Tell your dentist about the opportunity to volunteer locally or abroad with Medical Teams International, or sign up yourself (dental professionals/students). Donate to our international programs, Share the need on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram,