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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

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  • Warm Welcomes in Uganda as Cambia Prepares for 'Discovery' Phase

    by Emily Crowe | Nov 02, 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 Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for updates.


    Cambia MTI Uganda 2015 003

    By Lisa Honebrink, Strategic Communications

    It’s our first day on the ground in Uganda.

    The landscape is lush, the air moist. We find the Ugandan people to be gentle and soft-spoken, ready with big smiles and warm welcomes.

    Before our first visit to the refugee settlement health clinics, in keeping with government protocol, we make “courtesy calls” to each of our hosts. Stop number one is the MTI office, where Felix Omodi, MTI Uganda Country Director, and Dr. Patrick Okello, SW Program Manager Uganda, introduce us to their full staff.

    “We are very happy you are here. We are very optimistic about your project to help ease the work we do, especially in data collection,” said Dr. Okello.

    After a one-hour drive, the next courtesy call is to the Uganda Ministry of Health office, followed by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission Refugee) office, both on the refugee settlement property. Every member of the Cambia and MTI teams is invited to introduce themselves and sign a guest registry.

    Finally, we leave the administrative area and turn into the gates of the first health clinic we’ll visit this week. We’re ready to begin seeing for ourselves MTI’s health care work here and to get the “discovery” part of this discovery mission started.

    Visit our Oct. 28 blog post to learn more about our trip to Uganda, visit our Facebook photo album for trip photos, and stay tuned for more blog posts from Uganda.


  • Cambia IT Employees Share Motivations to Help in Uganda

    by Emily Crowe | Nov 02, 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. Meet the team members from Cambia who are on the ground making this project happen.


    If you had the opportunity to volunteer in a remote area of the world to solve a problem for many others, would you?

    Seven Cambia IT employees said ‘yes’ to an invitation to apply their work skills in a volunteer setting in a Ugandan refugee settlement. Our blog post, Cambia Technology Experts Travel to Uganda to Aid Health Refugee Clinics, highlights how the trip came together and what the team is planning to accomplish next week in Uganda. But our employees’ motivation for volunteering is best expressed in their own words.

     

    Mary M Cambia 

    “Being from a family that were refugees during the Vietnam War, I can understand and appreciate what these efforts mean to people in need. From this perspective, I considering volunteering as an exchange. My family has experienced and benefitted from these types of organizations since coming here to the United States. That same kindness extended to my family in our time of need should be extended back to others who need help as well.” -Mary M.

     Mark W Cambia

    “I’ve never been involved in a humanitarian effort like this and this seems like a great opportunity to make an impact applying my experiences. I’m hoping to gain as much as I give in this process. So far, working as part of this team has been amazing. Each person is involved for similar reasons and wants to give as much as they can for its success.” - Mark W.

     Angie E Cambia

    “This is such a unique opportunity to use my IT skills as part of a team to make an impact in the lives of refugees. I am excited to meet the people living and working in a refugee settlement to work through how we can help bridge the technical gap to allow more quality, patient focused care.” - Angie E.

     Heidi B Cambia

    “I enjoy working in challenging situations with talented individuals – growth from opportunities such as this continues long after the original effort is complete. I have volunteered in multiple capacities, but nothing quite like this. This MTI/Cambia partnership is the first opportunity that has presented itself where I could combine my career skillset with a humanitarian effort – and that intrigues me tremendously.” - Heidi B.

     Mick M Cambia

    “My parents raised me to care about the planet, and I’ve studied numerous religions and philosophies that have enhanced my perspective on how important it is to try to help people. I believe we have a chance to make a better planet, but we have to work at it. I think that bringing technology and improved medical aid to Africa could set the stage for some great cultural improvements in the future, and these improvements could potentially impact the world.” - Mick M.

     Jason D Cambia

    “I have always enjoyed helping people whenever and however I can. I was immediately intrigued by this opportunity to take what I do as a day-to-day job and turn it into something positive for someone in need. I believe what we are doing is the first step in providing real-time data updates to the UN and Ugandan Ministry of Health which will in turn can help provide better, more timely care to those that need it most.” - Jason D.

     Lorraine F Cambia

    “From the moment I read the description of the joint effort with MTI, I knew I had to go.  I have thought for years about how to do volunteer work, particularly in Africa, to help people in such dire need and who have suffered tremendously. As many have said on our team, it’s difficult to imagine how to take on such volunteerism while having technical skills instead of medical skills. This is it.” - Lorraine F.

     

    This innovative partnership with MTI aligns with Cambia’s efforts to be a catalyst for transforming health care, to pioneer a unique project that represents the next generation of corporate volunteerism, and to serve immediate needs in our global health care community. Stay tuned for additional Uganda communications about these volunteers’ experience.

     

  • Great Adventure 2015: An Evening of Impact

    by User Not Found | Nov 02, 2015
    GA-2015-prayer

    A pulse of energy and enthusiasm surged through the Medical Teams International headquarters last weekend, as hundreds gathered for an impactful evening of fellowship, learning, giving, and hope: Great Adventure 2015. Almost 150 volunteers helped make the evening possible—donating invaluable time and energy for weeks leading up to the event. Together, generous attendees donated nearly $1.2 million to provide lifesaving care for those facing disaster, conflict, and poverty across the globe!

    GA-2015-speech

    GA-2015-live-auction

    During the year, the distribution center houses millions of dollars’ worth of medical supplies that are packaged and shipped all over the world. Tonight, it held something even more priceless: generous spirits and compassionate hearts. 

    We are grateful for the sponsors, donors, and volunteers who made this event a great success! Attendees walked through exhibits depicting Medical Teams International’s work addressing the global refugee crisis, maternal and reproductive health, and Ebola, as well as the Mobile Dental program. Their donations will strengthen and enable these programs in the coming year.

    GA-2015-laughingThe silent auction shared beautiful artwork from the countries we serve around the world: colorful hand-woven bags from Guatemala, lustrous beaded bracelets from Myanmar, and handsome wood-carved figurines from Liberia. Smiling volunteers dawning red Medical Teams International t-shirts roamed with hors d’oeuvres, as attendees placed their bids to transform their dollars into medical care and support for the vulnerable communities around the world.

    GA-2015-mobile-dental-van

    GA-2015-moment-on-stage

    Bid cards soared in the air, as auctioneer John Curley bounded across the stage. Kindness and generosity reverberated throughout the crowd, and the collective passion and spirit of giving electrified the room. The Change-a-Life paddle raise brought the evening to an inspirational close. Attendees selflessly donated thousands of dollars, illuminating their great desire to provide lifesaving care at home and abroad.

    GA-2015-checking-inWhat a phenomenal evening! The $1.2 million dollars raised at the 2015 Great Adventure dinner and auction tangibly demonstrates Christ’s love to our brothers and sisters in need. It will impact thousands around the world in the coming year. We are incredibly grateful for the partnership and support from both attendees and volunteers! Without you, this work is impossible. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

    Photos courtesy of Doug Vorwaller
  • Cambia technology experts travel to Uganda to aid refugee health clinics

    by Emily Crowe | Oct 30, 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. 


    Cambia has partnered with MTI for years, providing support for their mobile dental vans in Oregon and Washington.  Expanding on this partnership, Cambia’s CEO Mark Ganz and MTI’s CEO Jeff Pinneo saw an opportunity to do something more significant.

    Uganda-childrenAs a health solutions company with a footprint that is increasingly expanding, we consistently seek innovative partners and initiatives to drive impactful change through our health care system. Sometimes those partnerships take an unexpected – and imaginative turn. One that gives us the opportunity to reimagine possibilities on a more global scale, to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone to provide better health for some of the world’s most vulnerable.

    Almost daily we are struck by images and stories that showcase the increasing refugee crisis. The pictures of people lost, of children separated from their parents and of the makeshift shelters spreading as far as the eye can see. The grief stricken expressions on their faces are seared in our minds.

    Uganda is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, and has received a flood of nearly 500,000 refugees fleeing from bordering war-torn countries. The majority of refugees are women and children in dire need of medical attention.

    Medical Teams International (MTI), a humanitarian organization also based in Portland Ore., provides 24/7 health care to these refugees as well as Ugandan nationals, a total of nearly one million people. MTI’s clinicians treat acute and critical pediatric and medical illnesses, perform minor surgery, conduct obstetrical assessments, provide HIV testing/counseling and give much needed immunizations.

    Uganda-medicine-for-childrenIt currently takes up to a month to manually collect, enter and transmit critical data from MTI’s health clinics to the United Nations (UN). This delay severely limits coordination of patient care and the UN’s ability to transmit alerts about contagious disease outbreaks. To improve this process, Cambia is sending the first ever IT team with MTI to a Ugandan refugee settlement to develop a pilot technology solution. In this one settlement alone that’s refuge to 75,000 people, MTI oversees eight clinics that treat more than 8,000 patients a month. Once an IT solution is developed, the goal is to expand its use to humanitarian-aid clinics worldwide.

    Cambia has partnered with MTI for years, providing support for their mobile dental vans in Oregon and Washington. Expanding on this partnership, Cambia’s CEO Mark Ganz and MTI’s CEO Jeff Pinneo saw an opportunity to do something more significant. Leveraging our resources and innovative expertise to develop this technical solution will hopefully not only benefit Uganda, but also other countries and humanitarian organizations.  

    Cambia-team2
    Ready to make a difference: The Cambia team on their way to Uganda. 

    Cambia leadership and the IT participants see us getting as much out of this effort as we’re giving. This trip will help inform our own thinking about what we can do here in Portland and in local communities, to ensure the best possible care is delivered to those who need it most – down the street or across the globe.

    Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation comes at the intersection of technology and humanity.” This effort represents that combination, providing the right technology to innovate a solution for the good of humanity. It’s also about coming together for a greater cause, because it’s simply the right thing to do.

  • Reflections: Earthquakes & Refugees in rural Afghanistan, 2000

    by Emily Crowe | Oct 26, 2015

    Dr. Henry, a pediatrician, began serving with Medical Teams International during the Kosovo War in 1999. Since then, he's served on four continents and impacted many lives. His upcoming book, Seasons and Sojourners, shares his insights and experiences. We're honored to share his experiences here-- volunteers like Henry make such an incredible impact on vulnerable lives around the world.

    The following story describes his time serving with Medical Teams International near the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan in the early 2000's, after an 8.5 earthquake and the Taliban wreaked deadly havoc on local communities. Read the entire post here.


    We pass a small caravan of cows, donkeys, and camels, herded along by boys who would be in primary school in other parts of the world. Abdul, our driver, remarks camels always appear to be smiling. He adds, Muslim legend has it the camel smiles because he knows the one hundredth name of God. 

    Camels-Henry-Reitzug-Afghanistan

    I ask him, "What is the one hundredth name of God?"

    “We don’t know,” he answers. “Camels don’t talk.” Intriguing, but logical.

    Without missing a beat, Dag offers,

    “We know the one hundredth name of God. It is Father.”

    Abdul ponders that for a while, keeping further thoughts close to his vest. Intermittently he will engage with us about our faith. He has no problem with the God of Abraham; Jesus represents the continental divide for him, as he does for most Muslims.

    Our destination, the village of Ghrange, is spectacularly set at the base of snow-capped mountains. It is also spectacularly poor. An 8.5 magnitude earthquake two years earlier rattled flimsy homes, fissured fields, and claimed countless lives. Clothing, shoes, and grain are in critically short supply. Three years of drought have not helped.

    Henry-Reitzug-Afghanistan-Blog

    In a hut with a panoramic view of the village, we negotiate with the mayor and the elders of Ghrange about upcoming distributions of shoes and warm clothing. It is vital no one is left out, or afflicted with shoes too small. Frustrations don’t play well in this country. Neither do negotiations when freebies are involved. The sun is already dipping behind the mountains when we finally finish. Keep Reading >>