Organization’s Rapid Growth and Changing Global Crises Compel Portfolio Changes


(PORTLAND, OR) September 6, 2022 – Medical Teams International, the global humanitarian relief organization, is completing work in three countries while celebrating each program’s impact over many years: Lebanon, Bangladesh, and Guatemala. At the same time, we are increasing the scope of our critically needed work in four countries where we have started response programs in the past year: Ukraine, Moldova, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Medical Teams’ model is to scale up to respond to the world’s most critical crises and then scale down once we have met key milestones and goals in providing medical care and support to displaced and vulnerable communities. We monitor global crises and invest our expertise according to greatest needs, as well as access and resources available to us. As we exit the three countries, we’re working to ensure a smooth transition for our staff, beneficiaries, and partner organizations.

“In recent years, Medical Teams has been growing rapidly around the world and in the Pacific Northwest,” said Martha Holley Newsome, Medical Teams President & CEO. “We are proud of our teams, the high quality of our programs, and the real impact achieved and experienced by the people we serve. For each program we are closing, we are leaving remaining work in the trusted hands of partner organizations and/or community leaders and volunteers.”

Guatemala, Lebanon, and Bangladesh

Medical Teams began working in Guatemala in 2004 and, with partners, built a long-term program that greatly improved the health of mothers and children. Mothers received prenatal care and learned about proper nutrition for their babies and children. Medicines treated deadly childhood illnesses like diarrhea and asthma, and immunizations prevented disease. Leaders in the community were equipped to continue to promote change on their own.

In Lebanon since 2013, Medical Teams has trained hundreds of Syrian refugees as community health workers. These trusted volunteers provided health and hygiene education, medical screenings, and referrals to nearly 40,000 of their neighbors. They led monthly awareness sessions on topics like breast cancer and depression. They helped screen for and monitor chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension and referred people to ongoing care. For refugees struggling with mental health issues, staff psychologists provided group sessions and one-on-one counseling.

In 2017, Medical Teams responded to the unfolding crisis in Myanmar. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees spilled over the border into Bangladesh and needed urgent care. We quickly built and staffed health clinics. Our staff and volunteers provided life-saving treatment for illnesses and helped prevent the spread of disease. Mothers gave birth to healthy babies thanks to loving and expert medical care.

Ukraine and Moldova

When the conflict started between Ukraine and Russia, Medical Teams immediately began planning a response to address the medical needs of Ukrainian refugees, the internally displaced, and host communities. Our teams of volunteer doctors and nurses have delivered urgent medical care to refugees at border crossings in Moldova and have trained frontline staff on trauma first aid, basic life support, and psychological first aid. Medical Teams continues to provide medical care and mental health services in Moldova.

Additionally, Medical Teams has started program activities in western Ukraine, focusing on mental health support to displaced people. We are also supporting an eastern Ukraine residential psychiatric unit. Further response activities are scaling up in central and eastern Ukraine, such as the provision of medicines, plans for mental health training for clinical staff, and mental health support for volunteers and displaced people.

Ethiopia and Sudan

In November 2020, military conflicts caused widespread displacement in northern Ethiopia and an influx of refugees into eastern Sudan. This resulted in a full-scale humanitarian emergency with medical supplies to local hospitals and clinics cut off. Currently, there are more than 1.8 million people displaced in Ethiopia.

In response, Medical Teams worked with partners to ship critical medical supplies to Ethiopia. We sent assessment teams to Ethiopia and Sudan to identify specific needs in health and nutrition. Now, we have established a long-term response, focused on strengthening the health systems in Ethiopia and Sudan. We are also providing direct health services through mobile health and nutrition teams to refugees, internally displaced people, and host communities. We are facilitating childhood vaccinations, supporting maternal health, providing mental health support, performing laboratory services, and distributing prescribed medicines.

Looking Ahead

As Medical Teams celebrates work completed and looks to the future, we are mindful that our resources are entrusted to us by generous supporters. We thank them for helping us to save and improve the lives of people in crisis. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

Medical Teams appreciates the long-term partnership and generous support of Providence and its volunteers in the Guatemala program.

Providence logo

Medical Teams in partnership with Food for the Hungry formed the Joint Rohingya Response Program consortium. Medical Teams would like to acknowledge the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) for its support of our work in Bangladesh.

Funding provided by the United States Government         Food for the Hungry logo

Medical Teams is grateful to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for its ongoing support of our Bangladesh program, and Food for the Hungry as our partner in the Joint Rohingya Response Program consortium.

UNHCR logoFood for the Hungry logo

Medical Teams’ work in Lebanon was made possible through the generous support of Humedica International Aid.

German Humanitarian Assistance logo      Humedica logo


About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at and on social media using @medicalteams.

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