(PORTLAND, Ore. - March 12, 2008) Two Oregon volunteers with Medical Teams International leave this Friday to care for thousands of traumatized families camped in emergency shelters in West Darfur, Sudan. An ongoing, bloody civil war has displaced more than a third of the region’s population.
A nurse at Portland Providence Medical Center and a nurse at Albany Regional Medical Center will provide critically needed medical care in a situation the UN calls “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
The two are among the first volunteers with Medical Teams International to serve in Darfur since August 2007 when increased violence in the region made it too dangerous to send volunteers. Veterans of nine medical missions between them, the volunteers will both serve a one-month assignment in Sudan.
In the last four years, more than 2.2 million Sudanese have fled their homes, driven from their communities by conflict that has left a swath of sexual violence, mass executions and scorched villages in its wake.
“We cannot forget the children of Darfur,” says Bas Vanderzalm, president of Medical Teams International. “It’s crucial that our volunteers help these families who have lost so much—their homes, their livelihoods, and for many of them, their loved ones.”
Media: Interviews are available with the volunteers at Portland Airport’s Northwest Airlines ticket counter from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Friday, March 14.
Medical Teams International has been working in Sudan since 2004 as part of the Global Relief Alliance, a consortium of six relief agencies providing assistance with health and medical care, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and agricultural projects. Medical Teams International’s volunteers and in-country staff operate mobile medical clinics that travel weekly to three communities in West Darfur. With few medicines and even fewer health care workers, malaria, acute respiratory infections, and severe dysentery are leading causes of death among pregnant women and children under the age of five.
In addition, Medical Teams International sponsors nutrition screening and immunization programs for children along with community health care training that equips Sudanese workers to share with their local communities, basic but lifesaving information on safe hygiene practices.
To contribute to the Darfur Disaster Relief Fund, please give online at our secure Web site or call (800) 959.4325 or mail gifts to PO Box 10, Portland, OR 97207. Donations can also be made at any US Bank office.
Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. In its 28-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,650 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries.