Lessons learned in Guatemala help students become better nurses and paramedics in Canada

Humber College believes that a project in its third year for students in nursing and paramedics can transform their students’ perspectives on providing care for diverse and multicultural communities in Canada.

This February a team of students will once again leave for Guatemala. Equipped with their training and with four Humanitarian Medical Kits from Health Partners International of Canada, they will bring health care to children and adults who have very little access.

A major goal of the project is to learn “cultural humility”. The college produced a great documentary video of last year’s trip that is recommended viewing for anyone planning a medical mission trip. In the video they describe the concept as fostering “a commitment to listening, observing and learning with the understanding that I do not know everything from the perspective of an individual or a culture.”

The students will provide health assessments for all children living at Valle de los Angeles, a boarding school for kids aged 6-16 years old from impoverished areas around Guatemala City.

Bringing health to slums and schools 

They will also visit two schools in the slums to set up a clinic as well as at a church in the rural area of Solola.

“This is such a beautiful gift to us,” says the school’s director Franciscan priest Michael Della Penna. “This (project) gives us the opportunity to identify the problems.”

One of the places they visited in 2016 was the Guatemala City dump, the largest in Central America and home to 3,000 families and many children with sad stories.

Anyone can be taught how to take vitals and do assessments, but nothing prepares you to meet these children, one student said.

Courtesy: Humber College

Courtesy: Humber College

Another said she just wanted to do as much as she could to help. And a paramedic student said he was inspired by the positivity and tenacity exhibited by these children.

In all, 216 children were treated last year at the school and hundreds more at the other clinics- some communities had never had access to care prior to the team’s visit.

“Without the medications (from HPIC), we would not be able to deliver comprehensive care,” wrote Professor Frankie Burg-Feret, the organizer, in her report to HPIC. “The families living in under-resourced areas would not be able to afford to purchase medication or vitamins.”

This extraordinary experience at the beginning of their careers taught them to be open to learning from people they are working with so they can give the best care.

“If I don’t, who will?” 

In the Humber video it was noted that: 17,000 children under five years old die every day due to poverty and they die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. (UNICEF Progress of Nations report 2013).

These Humber students feel they are helping to make a difference even if it is limited. “If we don’t help, who will?” one student said.

Many children will lead healthier lives after receiving preventive care and being introduced to some basic healthcare, such as brushing teeth.

Humber College is sending another team Feb. 14-27.

Last year the Humber students brought four Humanitarian Medical Kits, including Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic donated by Bayer Inc. Bayer has been supporting the work of HPIC with donations of funding and requested products since 1995. In 2016 Bayer was a significant sponsor of our mission. It is estimated that over 800,000 people have been treated with medicine donated by Bayer to HPIC over the course of the partnership.

Documentary video of 2016 trip to Guatemala

 

 

 

 

Delivering health where no cars can take you

This area in the mountains near Cap Haitien had never had a visit from a medical team.

Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) partner Becky Munnings and part of the team of 11 healthcare workers from Harvest Bible Chapel in Oakville had quite a journey to get to this village.

“We drove as far as we could and two doctors, a nurse, a pharmacist and translators hiked in another half mile. The rain was constant and water rose as we crossed over three rivers. Despite the weather, people waited for seven hours to be seen. 175 people were seen that day. A return visit was needed as we couldn’t see everyone who came. A total of 1,200 people were seen during our mission. Many thanks to HPIC for your help.”

It is suggested that 71% of people in this area live on $2 a day and that 47% lack health care.

The team put together a slideshow video to put faces to the people they treated at various clinics in and around Cap Haitien in November 2016. They were equipped with $60,000 worth of medicine packed into Humanitarian Medical Kits from HPIC.

Watch video here 

 

 

A dentist’s career highlight in Haiti

When Dr. Carrie Hui met Nelson in 2014 during a dental mission trip to Haiti, he was 11 years old and had two badly decayed teeth that needed to be extracted.

“We had a very difficult time with him as he was uncooperative and cried the entire time we were working on extracting a molar,” Dr. Hui recalled in her report to HPIC. “Once we successfully extracted the first molar, we were ready to dismiss him as we didn’t want to proceed with the second molar. However, he tapped me on the arm and pointed to the other side. He likely realized that if he didn’t have the infected tooth extracted, he would have to live with the pain and discomfort until another dental mission visited the area.”

Nelson after being treated by Dr. Hui in 2014

Nelson after being treated by Dr. Hui in 2014

Impact on Nelson
When she returned in 2015, Nelson remembered them but did not interact much with Dr. Hui and her team. On the last trip in 2016, he was able to speak French and so could speak to them and accompanied the team for much of their mission this past year.

Nelson shared that he was brushing his teeth twice a day and taking good care of them and he revealed his dream to become a dentist one day. Nelson helped them by reassuring patients.

One of the most touching moments of Dr. Hui’s career came when Nelson helped to cover the eyes of a patient receiving anesthetic. “It was touching to see that he appreciated and remembered what we did for him two years ago, and here he was reassuring other patients!” she wrote in her report to HPIC.

nelson-with-dr-hui
Nelson helps Dr. Hui with a patient undergoing a procedure with anesthetic

Dr. Hui brought 2 Humanitarian Medical Kits for dental care provided by Health Partners International of Canada to Haiti in 2016 to provide dental care to a community that has a chronic lack of access. She and her team treated 200 patients.

Tremendous relief 
Most of these patients experienced tremendous relief when she extracted teeth that had become infected. Others had preventive work done. An additional 500 children under the age of 14 years old received preventive treatment, including scaling to remove calculus build up, prophylaxis, application of topical fluoride varnish and oral hygiene instruction.

Dr. Hui would like to relay her thanks to HPIC’s donors, especially Patterson Dental, a donor that makes the dental care kits possible:

“Thank you for your continued support and generosity. It is only with your contributions that we are able to carry out dental and medical missions. Your donations allow us to provide much needed care to patients around the world who are not as fortunate as we are and have little access to these services. The patients are grateful and appreciative for what we are able to bring to them. You can only imagine living with a toothache and not having anyone and anywhere to go for it. Thank you very much.”

Dr. Hui leaves for Haiti again this week with a team and a Humanitarian Medical Kit for dental care.

How a man named “Rubbish” encouraged us

Sometimes we hit obstacles when planning a project that make us wonder if we are ever going to be able to pull it off.

When HPIC’s Pamoja project for Mothers and Children in Kenya was in the concept stage, our Kenyan partner sent us the most moving email message to encourage us:

Why the project matters in our partner’s words
“The Lord God will provide the funds,” wrote Rev. Philip Makokha, a priest who was the assistant to the Anglican Primate of Kenya at the time. “This project will save the lives of mothers and children.

“My parents lost many children before and after I was born. At birth I was thrown on a foot path and picked up by an old woman. The woman gave me back to my mother and named me MAKOKHA meaning rubbish* so that I could survive!

“When I bury babies and mothers who die in childbirth, I pray to God to help the remaining mothers and babies. You are on the right course.”

First shipment arrived
We remember these words and his determination that it would work out and give thanks for the first provision of medicines and supplies for the Pamoja project that arrived in Nairobi, Kenya in November.

“Thank you for this precious support for the women and children and the community in general,” wrote local project co-ordinator Bwibo Adieri. “To all who worked so hard to make this come true, I say Asante (thank you).”

This shipment of medicines and supplies is providing treatment for an estimated 9,000 women and children. The first community to benefit was the Kibera slum in Nairobi, home to about 1 million people living in extreme poverty.

Backgrounder on the project
Pamoja, which means together in Swahili, is a project that was requested by the Anglican Primate of Kenya (most senior leader of the church in the country) in 2015 and is implemented in partnership with Anglican Development Services Kenya and the Anglican Church of Kenya. Kenya, like many African nations, relies on health services provided by churches to care for more than 60 per cent of the population.

Many women and children around the world still have little or no access to essential medicines or other basic health services.

Every year Kenya loses 8,000 mothers and over 7 million young children under 5 years old. Most of these deaths can be prevented. HPIC’s Pamoja project aims to be part of the solution.

More mothers and kids will live  in five targeted communities 
The project will provide shipments of essential medicines and medical supplies to five of the Anglican health facilities: Holy Trinity Clinic in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Butonge Dispensary in Bungoma County, Maseno Mission Hospital in Kakamega County, Mount Kenya Hospital in Kirinyaga County and St Luke’s Hospital Kaloleni in Kilifi County.

Increasing the availability of medicines and supplies means that more mothers and children will receive quality healthcare during pregnancy and after childbirth. Over time, this will encourage more women to attend the clinics. In the targeted communities, mothers will be alive to care for their kids and young children will grow up.

The prayers of many are being answered, just as our partner assured us.

*Note about Kenyan naming practices:

When parents produce children who die immediately after birth, a ceremony known as ‘khuboelela’ is carried out to stop evil spirits from killing babies. It is carried out after parents have lost hope after so many children have died at a very tender age.

Immediately after giving birth, the baby is neatly dressed and taken to a path/ road side near the home. A humble blameless old woman is instructed to go and pick up the baby from the road side and bring it to its parents.  On reception of the baby, the parents will pretend the baby is not theirs but they are just to take care of it. Names given to a baby girl after this ceremony include Nabangala, Nang’unda, and boys names are Kundu, Kuloba, Makokha, Namunyu and Wenani.

Sometimes, if a child is born and dies and it is believed in that family that the death was caused by the spirits, in order to deceive them, a newborn child is given a name that is supposed to deceive or scare the spirits. 

Donkeys help increase access to medicine in Haiti

How does your doctor get to the clinic in the morning?

A safe bet would be to say a car. Perhaps a bicycle for the health conscious doctor or public transit for the urban doctor.

In Haiti this past November, a mobile medical team from B.C. with Heart to Heart Haiti used 22 motorcycles and four donkeys to get to their patients.

Now that paints a picture of how hard it is to access medicine for some rural populations.

“We did some serious off-roading as we climbed the mountain,” wrote Rebecca, the organizer.

The path had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October making it even worse than usual. On the day of the clinic in Tetbef, the donkeys were packed at 4:30 a.m. and ready to take the supplies, including three Humanitarian Medical Kits ( 2 for primary care and one Mother-Child Health Kit) provided by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC).

When the team arrived later in the morning, there were more people than they expected. In total 150 people were seen on this one day. Malaria, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and joint pain were mostly what brought them.

Seven more clinics were held like this one and a total 1,396 patients were seen- more than half were children and the elderly.

“In Canada we can comfort our children and elderly with fever and pain management,” said Lauren Rose, a nurse on the team who submitted a report to HPIC. “This is not an option for 99% of the people we see here in Haiti.”

In each clinic they saw a lot of patients with fever. “We treated these patients and it is probable that death by sepsis, malaria or typhoid was prevented,” she reported to HPIC.

The Humanitarian Medical Kits are always “an essential core item” for their trips to Haiti.

 

 

Top 5 reasons to donate to HPIC as a Christmas gift

1. Easy and convenient
Browse HPIC’s gift catalogue, donate and check off everyone on your gift list from the comfort of your home. No line-ups, no traffic, no crowds.

Beautiful woman at home at the warmth of the fireplace, shopping online

2. Mobilize your Christmas gift giving budget to deliver health and hope
Imagine using the money you might spend on presents that are not wanted or needed and instead make a real impact in honour of someone special.

Every $1 donated to HPIC delivers at least $10 of essential medicine. This is a gift that will be appreciated and make a lasting impact. No complaints or returns –guaranteed!

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Honour someone special and deliver health and hope

3. A donation of $1.20 is enough to provide 1 treatment

A $15 donation provides 12 courses of medical treatment

A $30 donation provides over 25 courses of medical treatment

a-15-donation-delivers12-treatmentshelping-an-estimated-5-people

4. Your gift will benefit several people:

  • The person you wish to honour
  • The person or community who will receive medical treatment they need thanks to you
  • You- you will feel the joy of giving and you will get a tax receipt for income tax purposes
benefitting-many-people

5. Delegate your Christmas card to HPIC when you donate through the gift catalogue.
All you have to do is:

  • Check the box that reads: I would like to honour someone with this gift. Please send a card on my behalf.
  • Fill out the required fields
writing-a-christmas-card

 HPIC will write and post a card on your behalf.  Deadline for Christmas mail delivery in Canada: Dec. 20. However, HPIC’s office will be open until Dec. 23 so you can continue to send your card requests. Donations can be processed online 24/7.

Gift catalogue

You can “shop” for the right donation by looking through our online gift catalogue. It is like a traditional retail Christmas catalogue but features various donation options.

Airlifted medicines being distributed in Haiti

Potentially more people could die in Haiti from cholera than the deadly hurricane that struck the Caribbean nation on Oct. 4 of this year.

On Nov. 15 a plane donated by Air Transat arrived delivering health and hope.

Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) helped fill the plane along with partner Food For The Poor Canada.

“It is so important for us to receive medicines and medical supplies,” Bishop Oge Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor Haiti, told HPIC staff when they arrived with the medical relief. “You must understand that there is very little access to any medicine for most Haitians.”

The medicines were donated by 19 healthcare companies in Canada in response to needs identified by Food For The Poor, including cholera treatment and primary care medicines.

To see the arrival of the 16 skids of medicine and hear from HPIC’s Haitian partner, watch this 2.5 minute video.

HPIC staff saw some of the unloading of the plane and then went to Food For The Poor Haiti to meet staff and see the warehouse.

The warehouse contains a variety of goods, all well organized and properly inventoried.

“Nothing lasts more than about 5 days in here, it is in and out,” Beauvoir explained.

“The facility was spic and span,” said HPIC’s President Denis St-Amour. “It would compare with similar facilities in Canada. I was impressed by the professionalism of the staff and how the facility is managed.”

The medicines are being distributed into Food For The Poor Haiti’s national distribution network of schools, orphanages, clinics, hospitals, churches and community groups.

“We represented so many people in Canada who made this relief possible,” said Denis St-Amour. “It was our honour to represent the people of the 19 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies that donated high-quality long dated medicines. There is so much appreciation in Haiti for your gift. You truly delivered health and hope to Haiti last week.”

 

Airlift for Haiti leaves Nov. 15 with medicine to treat 50,000 people and water purification tablets to provide 12 million litres of clean water

MONTREAL (Nov. 14, 2016) – 16 skids of medicine and 2.8 million water purification tablets leave for Haiti tomorrow Nov. 15. Air Transat offered an airplane to Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) to fill with emergency supplies. FFPC worked with Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) to procure medicines to treat cholera and other diseases. HPIC mobilized Canada’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, which responded with enough medicine to treat 50,000 people.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES NOV. 15-16:

1.     Tuesday: 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. at the Air Transat counter at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Dorval (or up to 7:30 a.m. for telephone interviews)

2.     Tuesday: tentatively between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. upon arrival

3.     Wednesday: At HPIC’s office in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec or by telephone (see contact below)

“We would like to thank HPIC and the Canadian pharmaceutical industry for such an excellent response to our needs list for Haiti,” said Samantha Mahfood, Executive Director of FFPC. “We would also like to thank the Air Transat team for their incredible efforts to prevent further spread of cholera.”

HPIC communicated the needs from Haiti to our national network of donors in the generic, innovative and self-care industries in Canada and received donations from 19 companies. The donations totalled $2 million Canadian fair market value and $1.3 million will be on the plane. HPIC is also equipping other partners, including mobile teams, who are working in Haiti.

“We are so grateful to our pharmaceutical donors who have made this possible, and also for the gift from Air Transat and the strong partnership with Food For The Poor Canada,” said Denis St-Amour, HPIC’s President.

The flight will be seen off in Montreal by the Ambassador of Haiti to Canada, Frantz Liautaud, and Jean-François Lemay, President of Air Transat. Denis St-Amour and Samantha Mahfood will be flying down on the plane. The plane will be welcomed in Port-au-Prince by the Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Paula Caldwell St-Onge, along with Bishop Oge Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor Haiti.

What is on board?

  1. 16 skids of medicine = medical treatment for 50,000 Haitians (provided by HPIC and donated by 19 companies)
  • Antibiotics
  • Analgesics
  • Oral rehydration
  • Other requested medication
  • Supplies (e.g. gloves)
  1. 2.8 million water purification tablets = 12 million litres of clean water (purchased with funds donated by Canadians to FFPC)

Donor companies of medicine and medical supplies:
Apotex, AstraZeneca, Fresenius Kabi Canada Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, Henry Schein, Johnson & Johnson, LEO Pharma Canada, Odan, Paladin, Patterson Dental,  Pediapharm, Pfizer, Pharmascience, Sanofi, Sun Pharma, Taro, Teligent, Teva Canada Limited, Vita Health.

About Health Partners International of Canada
Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) is a Montreal-based charity dedicated to increasing access to medicine for the most vulnerable people in the world. The only organization of its kind in Canada, HPIC is the charity of choice for gift-in-kind donations from Canada’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. HPIC equips volunteers, medical mission teams and humanitarian organizations with Humanitarian Medical Kits and large provisions of medicine and medical supplies for medical missions and health projects. Working with our Canadian and global network of implementing partners, HPIC provides medical relief, responds to emergencies and builds capacity. Every year HPIC provides medical treatment to 1 million people in over 50 countries. www.hpicanada.ca

For more information, please contact:

Christina Parsons
Director of communications
Health Partners International of Canada
514-949-9183
cparsons@hpicanada.ca

About Food For The Poor Canada

Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) empowers communities in Haiti and Jamaica through five areas of programming: food, housing, education, health and livelihood. Through basic aid and sustainable development, FFPC responds to urgent needs while building community and social infrastructure.

For more information, please contact:

Samantha Mahfood
Executive Director
Food For The Poor Canada
647.350.7269
SamanthaM@FoodForThePoor.com

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50,000 Haitians to be treated thanks to Canada’s healthcare industry

Senior executives and representatives of Canada’s healthcare and pharmaceutical industry came to HPIC’s distribution centre yesterday to see 16 skids of medicines and supplies all packed and ready for airlift to Haiti. The Canadian fair market value of this relief, donated by 18 companies, is $1.3 million.

“We estimate that 50,000 people will get treated thanks to this shipment,” HPIC’s Linda Campbell told the donors of medicines. “Thank you.”

Linda’s personal story (Watch her 2-minute speech on HPIC’s youtube channel: https://youtu.be/BiCOxCh_eZo)

Linda told a personal story that showed the value of having access to donated medicines. “About 3 weeks ago, my husband had to go the emergency department at our local hospital because of what turned out to be kidney stones.

“There was a little girl about 2 years old, about the same age as our granddaughter, and clearly she was in pain and she was crying,” Linda recounted.

Everyone in the waiting room was anxious for this little girl to be treated. It is just heartbreaking to hear a child crying and whimpering, Linda said.

Eventually, the little girl was seen and we know that since she lives in Canada, she would be diagnosed and soon get the care and treatment she needed to get better.

Linda thinks about all the other children like this little one at the ER and her little granddaughter who don’t get treated because there is no care and there is certainly no medicine. Thousands of Haitian children will get treatment thanks to this mobilizing effort of the industry in Canada.

What’s going to Haiti?

HPIC sends what is needed and requested by partners on the ground. HPIC’s partner in Haiti for the airlifted medicines is Food For The Poor. They have a national distribution network and will ensure that people in need get the medicine they have been waiting for to get better.

Medicines and medical supplies in the airlift include antibiotics, analgesics, oral rehydration, gloves, medicine for skin infections, ulcers, diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.

“The medicines we put together for this particular project are for primary care use and to help address the cholera epidemic,” Linda said.

Continuing to work in Haiti

In total, HPIC received close to $2 million worth of medicines and supplies for Haiti relief following Hurricane Matthew. HPIC is also working to equip volunteers, healthcare professionals and medical teams who are travelling to Haiti. Next year, HPIC will begin a multi-year government–funded project in Haiti in partnership with Plan Canada called SHOW (Strengthening Health Outcomes for Women).

Companies that gave to Haiti relief

Apotex
AstraZeneca
Fresenius Kabi Canada Ltd.
GlaxoSmithKline
Henry Schein
Johnson & Johnson
LEO Pharma Canada
Odan
Paladin
Patterson Dental
Pediapharm
Pfizer
Pharmascience
Sanofi
Sun Pharma
Taro
Teligent
Teva Canada Limited
Vita Health

Apotex donations for Haiti arrive

This week Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) received a very large donation from Apotex in two different shipments.

The medicines were donated to HPIC for our Haiti emergency medical relief project.

“We are very grateful for the 7 skids of assorted medicines,” says Denis St-Amour, HPIC’s President. “This is the largest donation we have received for Haiti.”

The donation was an assortment of long-dated medicines specifically requested by HPIC’s on-the-ground partner Food For The Poor Haiti. It includes medicines for treating cholera and a host of other health issues Haitians face since Hurricane Matthew struck on Oct. 4, 2016.

Elie Betito of Apotex visited HPIC’s distribution centre in Oakville today to see the medicines being prepared for airlift.