It’s easy to take simple medical supplies for granted. Things like cough syrup, bandages and crutches can be the critical ingredient to giving a child with asthma their breath back, healing a baby’s infection or helping a man walk again. Unfortunately, too many people in crisis suffer unnecessarily or die from preventable causes.
Medical Teams International staff and volunteers are working to change that by bringing basic but life-saving medical care to people around the world. For preventable illnesses like pneumonia and malaria, we work to help stop the spread of disease in refugee camps and help heal those who are sick and hurting.
Mass displacement of people is at a record high – estimated at 82.4 million. These are people forced from their homes due to war, conflict or persecution. In Uganda, Medical Teams is recognized by the United Nations for the quality of our work to make sure refugees have access to life-saving medical care; we have been the chosen partner for providing refugee healthcare in Uganda by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) since 2009. In Bangladesh, we work as part of the Joint Rohingya Response Program to serve Rohingya refugees that fled persecution in Myanmar.
Since 1979, we’ve provided life-saving medical care for people in crisis, including survivors of the Rwandan genocide, the South Asia tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. With our history and experience, we’ve grown into our role as experts in disaster response – disasters that are both natural and manmade. Right now, we’re responding on many fronts to the largest refugee crisis the world has ever known.
Our staff and volunteers care for the hurting in front-line clinics, refugee camps and remote villages. In places where mothers and babies are dying. Where outbreaks threaten to overtake entire communities. Where local health systems are overwhelmed or non-existent.
We are a highly-regarded humanitarian relief agency – known internationally and locally for our expertise in refugee health care and disaster relief.
Harun faced immense trauma as a young boy. In his hometown, armed men forced him to line up on the ground with other members of his village. Harun laid and waited. He was certain he had only minutes to live. One by one, machetes came down on the necks of his neighbors. The killing stopped right before it reached Harun and his family. Out of 600 people in the village, only six survived.
After fleeing to a refugee camp in Bangladesh, Harun became sick and faced death once again. A Community Health Worker, a volunteer trained to identify illnesses, visited Harun’s tent. She saw that his symptoms could be a sign of something more serious, so she took him to a nearby Medical Teams clinic. There he was diagnosed with a chest infection, and immediately given medicine to treat his illness. Within days, Harun’s sore throat and cough had disappeared.
After frequent clinic visits with coughing and a sore throat, our team of doctors discovered that Harun suffers from asthma. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Harun can come to a clinic that is always stocked with medicines and cough syrup that he needs to ease his symptoms.
Many people suffered during Guatemala’s brutal civil war, which ended just 22 years ago. One of those people is Don Esteban, who lost a leg during the conflict. For nearly three decades, Esteban suffered without a pair of proper crutches. As a 74-year-old amputee, he was forced to hobble and limp through his rural community in the foothills of Guatemala. Esteban would fashion his own crutches out of tree limbs and has relied on the support of his friends and neighbors. Because of his disability, he didn’t have the money to buy his own crutches. And the local hospital, around 30 miles away, didn’t have any in stock to give him. That is, until a shipment of medical supplies arrived. For the first time in three decades, Esteban is fully mobile. After nearly 30 years of significantly limited mobility, Esteban can now walk again.
14-month-old Asma was brought to our clinic in Bangladesh for treatment of an abscess on her head. The infection had started out small a month earlier, but got bigger and bigger. Her mother, Shomsum, was worried and brought Asma to a nearby Medical Teams clinic. Asma received medicine and bandages, and now her abscess is healing!
Shomsum learned from the nurses and doctors about how to prevent future infections. She plans on sharing what she learned with her neighbors who have babies that often get similar illnesses. “This is a good, caring clinic, so when anyone in my family has a problem, we will come here,” Shomsum said.
In Bangladesh, refugee children like Asma have a reliable place to receive the medical care they need. Medical Teams is committed to keeping health clinics like this one running and stocked with the necessary supplies like medication and bandages.
Access to essential medical supplies means the difference between agony and health for so many around the world. At Medical Teams International we are committed to going to the hard-to-reach places, to ease the suffering of those devastated by crises. We mobilize staff and volunteers quickly – entering places of turmoil, disease and natural disaster – to save lives and leave communities healthier. We deliver supplies and medicines to the places they’re needed most.
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