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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

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  • Food Carts in Cambodia: Nutrition on the Go

    by Sarah Austria | Jun 16, 2016

    Every day, Chort sees happy, smiling faces from her food cart. But these aren’t just any food cart customers - these are the faces of hungry children looking for a nourishing meal to start their day. These are children whose parents struggle to provide a nutrient-rich breakfast- children who might otherwise go hungry.

    Chort is a 59-year-old housewife and mother living in Oddar Meanchey, a rural province in northwestern Cambodia. She is one of the first operators of Medical Teams International’s food cart program - an initiative launched in 2015 to battle childhood malnutrition in rural Cambodia.

    Chort_Cambodia_Foodcart

    Many parents in the rural provinces of Cambodia must work hard to care for their families. Often, husbands and fathers have to travel-within Cambodia or abroad-to find work. In addition to caring for the family, some mothers must also work full days in order to survive. Busy mothers want to feed their children nutritious meals - but time and resources are scarce.

    Thanks to you, there is now a fast, healthy option for these families. The need is great- many of Cambodia’s rural communities suffer high rates of malnutrition. Roughly 32 percent of children in Cambodia have stunted growth; more than half are anemic. Nutritional deficiencies put children at an increased risk of serious illness and disease. Medical Teams International’s Food Cart Program operates in more than a dozen communities within Cambodia.

    Busy mothers want to feed their children nutritious meals - but time and resources are scarce.

    The last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, Oddar Meanchey lags behind other provinces in development. Without other options, hard-working mothers often turn to convenience foods to feed their children. Unfortunately, convenient often means unhealthy - many children in Chort’s village weren’t getting enough vitamin and nutrient-rich foods essential for healthy growth.

    Chort heard about the food cart project through a community awareness campaign in her village- she seemed like a good fit. Once identified as a potential food vendor, she and her husband attended a five-day training session conducted by Medical Teams International.

    She learned how to cook nutritious snacks and meals; most importantly, Borbor, a rice porridge of fish or pork with herbs and other fresh ingredients - a perfect food for young children. Building her skills as an entrepreneur, she also received training on hygiene and business management of the food cart. Afterwards, Chort signed an agreement with Medical Teams International and received her fully-stocked food cart. She was open for business.

    Now, in addition to selling her delicious and nourishing Borbor, Chort provides mothers with information on childhood nutrition. A taped, pro-nutrition message sounds from the speakers on her food cart. After months of selling Borbor and other homemade snacks, her daily sales have increased and she’s excited to see it keep growing.

    “I will continue selling nutritious, healthy food with my food cart, and advise mothers and caretakers of children on the benefits (of) ...good hygiene,” she said.

    This is more than just a business venture for the busy wife and mother. It’s a way of helping the children in her community have access to fresh, healthy food - her food cart is keeping her community strong.

    Thanks to you, Chort knows how to provide nutritious porridge and homemade snacks to hungry children in rural Cambodia. Along with satisfying growing bodies, your support grows healthy communities.

    Please consider donating to help children in rural Cambodia have access to fresh, nutritious food. On behalf of Chort, thank you for enabling women like her to care for her community. Please share her story on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Thank you!

  • 15th Annual Field of Dreams Event Raises $1.6M

    by Hannah Beighle | Jun 09, 2016

    On June 4th, 2016, nearly 800 guests and 150 volunteers gathered at Safeco Field for the Field of Dreams dinner and auction to celebrate and support Medical Teams International's mission to impact and bring healing to vulnerable families and communities across the globe. The evening brought an outpouring of support from Medical Teams supporters and donors, raising $1.6 million for life-saving relief efforts that will bring healthcare to millions of afflicted people around the world. See highlights of the night captured on camera.

    Field_of_Dreams_Dinner_Auction_John_Curly

    The event gave guests an in-depth look at the mission of  Medical Teams International while inspiring them to make a difference. The dynamic evening featured auctioneer John Curley, a football toss by Jim Zorn, and a number of prominent Seattle Seahawks and Sounders players hand-delivering desserts to guests. One special guest was Ron Post, who founded Medical Teams International in 1979 after bringing medical supplies and volunteers to the Thai border to support Cambodian refugees.

    We loved returning to one of our FAVORITE fundraisers... The personal face they brought to us last night was very powerful. We were the lucky ones."

    The event not only touched the lives of those across the globe supported by the funds raised, but also made a lasting impact on the generous guests who attended the event.

    Field_of_Dreams_Fundraiser_Auction

    A note written by two guests read, "We loved returning to one of our FAVORITE fundraisers. MTI is a world-class group of servants going to the deepest needs of our broken world. The personal face they brought to us last night was very powerful. We were the lucky ones."

    On behalf of all we serve: We are so thankful for everyone who made this event a success: not only to our donors and volunteers, but also our co-chairs Lindsey and Steven Hauschka, Howard Wright and Kate Janeway, honorary chairs Steve and Sharon Raible, and our sponsors, including special sponsors Alaska Airlines and Regence Blue Shield.

  • Welcome to our new President & CEO!

    by Emily Crowe | Jun 06, 2016

    We are excited to announce that Martha Newsome has been appointed the new President and CEO of Medical Teams International! Martha will join the team on September 1st, 2016 as Medical Teams' fourth president.

    A BIT ABOUT MARTHA NEWSOME... Martha's passion has taken her from the front line realities in the field of local community health - where her heart and passion remain - to senior leadership roles where she brings an incredible ability to strategize and execute life-changing initiatives.

    Martha has spent the last 30 years addressing international health needs including her current position leading World Vision International’s Global Sustainable Health team which includes their global programs in food, health and nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene and represents global teams of over 3000 employees. We are confident she will lead our organization to have an even greater impact on the lives of people around the world in great need.

    “The mission of Medical Teams International resonates with my own lifelong sense of personal calling to bring healing and wholeness to a hurting world. I am eager to join the staff, board, and you in this important mission and to lead Medical Teams forward in the vision, direction, and expanded role that God has planned for this incredible organization!” 

    -Martha Newsome

    FROM MARK DODSON, BOARD CHAIR OF MEDICAL TEAMS INTERNATIONAL “We are thrilled to have Martha as our next CEO. Martha has a wonderful, joyful spirit rooted in her sincere faith. She has dedicated her life to serving the health needs of others, and has become an authoritative global leader in sustainable health solutions. We are blessed to have her join us.”

    Learn more about Martha >>
  • Saving Loeui's son

    by Julia Stiller | Jun 03, 2016

    Loeui was afraid. Her four-month-old son, Kolsokchen, was sick. She had seen so many other children in the village become sick-- what if he died, too?

    "I was afraid the child would die and pass away."

    Life in their Cambodian village was hard. Many husbands traveled across the border to find work in Thailand. Without adequate resources, mothers struggled to prepare enough food and keep their children healthy. Many of the children were malnourished-- making them easy targets for illness.

    Loeui_Cambodia_healthy_women_medical_teams_internationalLoeui’s son was one of these children. Sick with a fever and a terrible cough, she knew she had to do something. “I was afraid the child would die and pass away,” she said.

    Worried, Loeui decided to take him to the local health clinic. It was so expensive-- but she was afraid he wouldn’t survive without it. She was anxious for her son all the while he was in the clinic.

    Thankfully, Kolsokchen survived. But Loeui was still afraid-- What if another bad illness came along to threaten her cherished son’s life again? Loeui didn’t know how to stop him from getting sick again-- and what if he didn’t recover next time, or what if she couldn’t afford it?

    Finally, Loeui has the tools she needs to keep her son healthy.

    Then, Loeui got something priceless. Medical Teams International volunteers were starting education sessions for moms just like her-- sessions that would teach her about how to protect Kolsokchen from further illness. These dedicated volunteers went through the village, urging local mothers to attend a Medical Teams International-run mothers support group that would teach them important practices and tools to keep their children healthy, monitor their children’s growth, and cook nutritious community meals. Loeui and Kolsokchen have attended several sessions-- and she is already seeing progress in her now 1-year-old son! Finally, Loeui has the tools she needs to keep her son healthy.

    These mother and infant health educational sessions are only possible thanks to the donation, time, and prayers of all those who support our mission-- you are truly demonstrating the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. Thank you!

  • Aid for The Injured: Shipment Bound for Ukraine

    by Tyler Graf | May 31, 2016

    A few months ago, we told you about a little Ukrainian boy named Klym.

    A preschool-aged child living in war-torn Kramatorsk, Klym was caught in an explosion near his school a year ago. He lost his mother that day when she leaped on top of her boy to shield him from the blast. Neighbors found the boy still clinging to his mother. He was badly injured but alive.

    Doctors were able to treat Klym’s trauma at a local hospital, in large part due to a shipment of medical supplies from Medical Teams International.

    Klym, Ukrainian boy, from Facebook, 2015
    Young Klym was saved during a bomb explosion in the Ukraine when his mother jumped on top of him. Though badly injured, he was successfully treated at local hospitals as a result of your donations.

    The supplies were a lifesaver for Klym. He was not alone. They helped others like him, people stuck in the crossfire of the ongoing strife in Eastern Ukraine. Because of the conflict, people are being injured, losing limbs and dying. This surgical equipment ensures that hospitals can treat people suffering from the most serious injuries.

    Nearly 10,000 people have been killed and another 20,000 wounded since the Ukraine conflict began two years ago, according to The New York Times.

    Hospitals in this war-torn region will soon be receiving another shipment of supplies, which will go toward helping people just like Klym. In partnership with U.S.-based, Ukrainian-American nonprofits and your generous support, a fresh shipment of medical supplies and surgical equipment is on its way to Kiev, the Ukraine capital, before it makes its way to locations farther east.

    Ukraine, shipment 1, may 2016
    A volunteer pulls a pallet of medical supplies bound for the Ukraine. Once the entire shipment arrives, it will be dispersed among roughly 80 hospitals.

    Katya Sedova, Head of Humanitarian Affairs for the Ukrainian Association of Washington State, said the supplies will be dispersed among 80 hospitals and health facilities located in the hardest-hit regions.

    “These supplies are vital,” she said. “Some of these are not available.”

    She added: “We have people wounded, killed almost every day. They need these supplies right now.”

    Amputations in particular are now sadly all too common in the Ukraine. There are shortages of high-quality sutures that can stop bleeding and stem trauma. The shipment contains all manner of medical supplies, from the high-quality sutures to bandages and surgical masks.

    Your support in sending these valuable supplies is saving lives. And because of your support, and the help of partners, Medical Teams was able to send this most recent shipment, valued at $962,409.


    Take action to save and improve the lives of people around the world. It's simple. Consider making a donation, volunteering or praying for those affected by disaster, conflict and extreme poverty. Thank you for your continued support.