Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

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  • Myanmar Disaster: Deadly flooding will affect thousands

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 07, 2015

    Flooding is wreaking havoc on Myanmar. This is one of the worst disasters the country has seen since 2008, when Cyclone Nargis took over 130,000 lives. Not only are floods taking lives, but damage to farmland and livestock will have serious, long-term impact on food supply.

    Four areas- Chin, Magway, Sagaing and Rakhine- have been declared disaster zones as the country enters a state of emergency. Medical Teams International is working with a long-term, local partner to provide the essential emergency care for flood victims.

    Want to help bring relief to flood victims? Donate here to provide emergency care and long-term support for flood victims in Myanmar.

    Myanmar Flood Disaster 1

    Photos from the field: A village is forced to flee in search of safety away from deadly flooding in Myanmar.

    Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, and your support has the power to make a serious impact.

    Your support has already been saving lives in Myanmar. In a country that's struggled for decades with political and natural disasters, our Community Health programs have touched many- particularly mothers and babies- who are at high risk of preventable death due to a long-neglected health system.

    Deadly flooding will only further threaten vulnerable communities with little to no access for health services. Immediate and long-term response is critical to avoid further disaster.

    Vulnerable flood victims in Myanmar need immediate support. How can you help?

    1. Spread the word by sharing the news on Facebook or Twitter.
    2. Make a donation to support vulnerable communities in desperate need of emergency relief.
    3. Please pray that those affected will be protected from disaster and the long-term impacts of the flood.

  • The power of "a mother's touch"

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 05, 2015

    Every day, you bring life-changing care to people around the world.

    How does your support for the dental program change lives? In addition to providing relief through our U.S. mobile dental program, your support provides hands-on workshops with local elementary students so they learn habits for a lifetime of oral health.

    Dental hold hands
    At our mobile dental clinics, patients receive much-needed dental care from a compassionate, loving team.

    By donating to international programs, you also bring dental care, training and tools around the world-- like the Syrian refugee camps where we serve-- protecting children and families from years of excruciating pain from untreated

    Recently, one of our local dental doctors had a heart-warming experience while providing care to a man named Tex:

    "Tex... had a broken tooth, which had been broken for four years! He has been eating on one side for that long because he is deathly afraid of the dentist.

    He told me he was physically shaking in the truck, and Dr. Angell just held his hand. 

    'She has a mother's touch,' is what he said.

    I thought this was so special to hear... Such a special sacred space we get to be in."

    Please pray that our dental program may continue to touch lives around the world. Keep up to date on Facebook, Twitter, and over email. Consider donating or volunteering to help the program continue to make a great impact.

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  • Empowering everyday heroes in Poipet, Cambodia

    by Emily Crowe | Jul 30, 2015

    The accident looked bad. Three cars had collided, and one was completely flipped in the nearby ditch. There were three victims. Two were in obvious pain, but the third was most frightening: completely unresponsive, the crash had thrown her across the pavement like a rag doll.

    Thairy was the first emergency medical technician (EMT) on the scene. But today, instead of feeling anxious, Thairy felt confident.

    Just weeks before, this would not have been the case.

    In Cambodia, a country crippled by years of destruction from the Khmer Rouge, many emergency resources are underdeveloped. Poor resources may mean, instead of being immobilized and transported in an ambulance, a victim is strapped to the back of a motorcycle and rushed to a local hospital—risking serious, permanent damage.

    Cambodia EMS thairy

    When the accident happened, Thairy used his new training to take a leadership role and respond immediately. All three accident victims reached the hospital and recovered quickly.

    Although Thairy’s team was better equipped than many others in the area, there were still gaps in their education. Tools like spineboards were also in short supply—a shortage that kept them from providing life-saving care when it was most critical.

    Then a blessed encounter happened: Sarin, Thairy’s supervisor, attended an MTI-led EMS course hosted in his province. After just one day, he realized how much the training could improve his team’s skills—bringing a new level of safety to a community that depended on their ability to respond.

    We were thrilled and immediately arranged training for his entire team. Over two months, the team’s skills grew immensely. We were also able to give them spineboards—the very tools Thairy used only weeks later to treat victims during the crash. Now, these passionate emergency responders have the resources they need to provide the absolute best care.

    When Thairy arrived at the scene that day, he knew exactly what to do.

    Immediately, he and his teammate identified and stabilized the two victims in critical condition. Using spineboards to immobilize each patient, Thairy was able to protect the victims from further injury—and possible death—as they were rushed to the hospital for treatment. 

    Six months ago—before your support reached Thairy and his team—this story could have ended very differently.

    Because of your support, Thairy could respond during this crucial time. Instead of suffering from poor or outdated knowledge, these patients reached the hospital safely and recovered quickly.

    This training—the training you provided—put life-saving knowledge into the hands of everyday heroes like Thairy and Sarin. One EMT at a time, your support is saving precious lives.

    Be part of lifesaving change in Cambodia. Share Thairy's story on Facebook and pray that our EMS classes will continue to make a significant impact. Consider volunteering locally or abroad with MTI and donate to programs that provide health around the world. Subscribe to our emails for the most up-to-date stories and news.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: "We are Christ's hands"

    by Emily Crowe | Jul 24, 2015

    Our volunteers are at the core of everything we do. Last year, 2472 volunteers donated over 80,000 hours: packing and preparing medical supplies, supporting our programs and events, and volunteering abroad.

    Together, MTI volunteers supported 3.15 million people in 30 countries around the world.

    DC volunteer highlight Helen
    Helen: Distribution Center Volunteer

    Helen has been a dedicated MTI volunteer for over two decades. She heard about MTI on television- she liked what she heard and thought she could help. We are so blessed that she did.

    Each one of our volunteers makes such a difference- thank you for blessing us with your generosity and support. 

    Volunteering since: 1994

    What are some of the biggest changes you have seen over the years?
    The computer, before that everything was done by hand. In the old building the sorting area was the size of our current Breakdown area. We had a small crew so we did both the sorting and the packing. We sorted from boxes into boxes. The system now with the sorting bins is so refined.

    What has kept you at Medical Teams International? The mission, the love and caring that goes into what we do here. The sense of ‘family’ that has been created here, when my husband was sick I even hired someone to help so I wouldn’t miss my shift.

    What do you want the new volunteers to know? Remember that we are Christ’s hands to those most in need. This is important work.

    Do you have any favorite memories or insights about volunteering with MTI that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you! Join us on Facebook and Twitter, or send us an email. Interested in joining our volunteer team? Learn more.

  • When faith wins: Battling Cerebral Palsy in rural Haiti

    by Emily Crowe | Jul 20, 2015

    “No. You can’t.”

    These are words eight-year-old Markely heard too often while growing up. Born with cerebral palsy in rural Haiti, his protective parents struggled with his disability—and had few resources to know better.

    Markely was six years old when he first visited the clinic where we run our Advantage therapy program. Seeing such untapped potential in a bright young boy, we quickly fitted him with leg braces and prescribed a walker. Excited about the impact these basic resources would have on his life, we sent him home to practice walking.

    Walking wasn’t his only challenge, though. Without further therapy, daily activities like brushing teeth or putting on clothes were still impossible.

    Unfortunately, Markely’s home was so remote that accessing the clinic was a significant burden. Location wasn't his only barrier, though: Even though he showed strong physical and social skills, his family was protective—they worried about placing too many expectations on their little boy.

    They were also afraid—what if something was just too hard? What if he hurt himself? Without the support and resources he needed at home, Markely spent two more years hearing “no” because of his disability.

    Then an amazing thing happened.

    After attending a training at the clinic, Markely’s primary school teacher began to recognize just how much Markely’s potential was overlooked. The teacher pushed, advocating for the value of therapy and referring him to the clinic.

    Finally, Markely’s parents said yes.

    Staff at the clinic were immediately impressed by Markely’s social and physical skills—and worried about resistance from his overprotective parents.

    The clinic’s supportive environment gave Markely the push he needed to really thrive. In two weeks of
    intensive therapy, Markely learned how to brush his teeth, put on clothes, and even use a specialized, hand-peddled PET cart that greatly increased his mobility. 

    Haiti_MarkelyMarkely using a PET mobility cart. Because he can propel it with his hands instead of feet, this tool now provides Markely with mobility that was previously impossible.

    However, one of the most remarkable changes happened to Markely’s parents: after protecting him for so many years, they finally saw their son as a capable, independent person.

    After a lifetime of “no’s,” you gave Markely the ability to finally hear “YES.” Your donations brought life-changing therapy to a young boy that would have otherwise been overlooked his entire life. He is still receiving therapy at our clinic, and continues to make amazing progress.

    Not only did you change Markely’s life, but you taught an important lesson to an entire community: Faith, not fear, is the most important tool when raising a child. Markely and his family are proof that—through faith—we are all capable of incredible things.

    Take action: Share Markely's story on Facebook and pray for empowerment for those who are overlooked. Consider volunteering locally or abroad with MTI and donating to our programs that provide life-changing resources to incredible people like Markely. Learn more about our programs in Haiti.