In Solidarity Against Racial Injustice

As today marks Juneteenth, we recognize that COVID-19 is not the only pandemic our world faces.

Like millions around the world, HPIC mourns acts of violence, racism, social injustice and the many factors that contribute to social inequities, including health.

Respect, dignity, compassion, caring, partnership and service without discrimination are some of our values, and why we are here.

Our mission is to improve health and health care worldwide.

We acknowledge that addressing racism requires from us lifelong commitment and vigilance.

HPIC continues to learn about how to advance equity in our work and in our world. We see that our goal of improving health worldwide is intrinsically dependent on dismantling racism and advancing equity and we also hope that we are part of the solution to effect transformation.

Reflections on a Healthy Day

Health is essential to life. We often take it for granted until the lack of it begins to hinder our daily activities. I enjoy working at HPIC because making medicine accessible indiscriminately gives both adults and children access to a better life. Health is essential to the well-being and growth of society which in turn creates an impact greater than anyone can imagine.

Because of the recent spread of COVID-19, I feel a deeper connection to everyone around the world, as I realize my neighbour’s health can potentially affect my own health. HPIC increases access to health care in vulnerable communities by delivering medicines and medical supplies to where they are most needed. I see medicines as not only building blocks to health, but messengers of hope and relief from the pain and discomfort sickness causes. During this pandemic, everyone, regardless of societal status, has been brought together in a mutual focus of being COVID-19 free. We have become keenly aware of the effects of our own actions, and those of our neighbours – all for the sake of our families, friends and communities. Working together and encouraging each other in every aspect of health – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – is the best way we can grow in resilience following the COVID-19 virus, despite the toll it has taken on many lives.

More than ever, we are connected in a time of uncertainty, wondering what will happen tomorrow in the midst of a swirl of unknown circumstances. Overwhelming protective health measures and fear can make it hard to see how we can act for the betterment of others. Through the experience of social distancing, I’ve observed how communication, actions and events can make a rejuvenating difference. In the absence of greeting each other through handshakes, hugs and kisses, words of kindness and encouragement can go a long way to brightening another’s perspective towards comfort, thankfulness and joy.

Through my work at HPIC, I experience firsthand how our mission of delivering not only health, but also hope, leads us toward gratitude and compassion. Instead of taking for granted activities like a daily walk, we can look around and marvel at nature, become thankful for our mobility, and increase our awareness of those who need us in our neighbourhood and around the world. People living near or far from us, whom we thought we could never reach, can be touched by a smile or heart-felt words which warm inspiration and foster a greater perspective of life. I believe we underestimate our potential for influence when we only see our own sphere of circumstances. I greatly enjoy being a part of an organization that is a catalyst for the long term change of many people in many places. There is a sense of meaning and satisfaction in knowing how the gift of medical supplies brings greater health and saves lives, as well as creates a dynamic global community through the continued steps of those touched by hope despite their surroundings.

-Sarah Weeks, Accountant, HPIC

Health & Hope Day 2020

Hi everyone,

Today we are more cognizant than ever that we are connected by health, and need hope to meet life’s challenges.

As a healthcare professional, a believer in transformation, a parent, child, leader, athlete (well sort of –I have lycra and a bike), thankfully, I survived a crash that both humbled and amazed me at the goodness of people around me.

I am proud and privileged to work at Health Partners International of Canada – to be associated with the HPIC team, our mission of increasing access to medicine and improving health in vulnerable communities around the world. I am also extremely grateful for our donors (corporate and individual), our Board of Directors, volunteers, and partners in Canada and around the world that support this critical work. Thank you for helping us help others. Here at HPIC, we are grateful to be a center point for so much humanitarian and health systems strengthening activity, connecting different ends of the health continuum, for the betterment of us all.

Now more than ever, we feel compassion and concern, and recognize we are all part of making transformation possible. We are connected by health and can be, connected by hope. Please join me online today in sharing HPIC’s message of health and hope. #connectedbyhealth.

Wishing you good health,

Marcelle McPhaden, President & CEO

P.S. Please tag @hpicanada and use the campaign hashtags #ConnectedByHealth and #HealthandHope. 

Q & A with HPIC’s Director of Programs

With the onset of COVID-19, many things have changed, however the mission to provide health and hope to vulnerable communities around the world remains the priority. HPIC’s Director of Programs, Barbara Trachsel gives an update on how HPIC has been and will continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: How has the work of HPIC changed since COVID-19 emerged?

BT:  A lot of our current projects have shifted and our focus over the last few weeks has been mainly responding to COVID-19. We have been working with our Canadian and international partners to provide much needed medicine and supplies. Many of the countries where we work already experience unreliable supplies of medicine and there are concerns that due to global disruption in production and transportation, the scale of medicine shortages will be even greater as a result of COVID-19.

Q: How has HPIC responded to the COVID-19 pandemic since it started?

BT: HPIC has done quite a lot since the pandemic began. In January, we put a call out to our healthcare industry partners for PPE to help when the situation was really bad in China before it spread across the world. We were able to send gloves, shoe covers and coveralls to the Red Cross of Tianjin.

Over the last few weeks, we shipped medicines and supplies to Eswatini, Jamaica and Malawi. We are also in the process of sending medicine and supplies to countries that were already been dealing with humanitarian crises. To help refugees and internally displaced communities who are particularly at risk during this pandemic, we will be sending medicine and supplies to Northern Iraq, Burkina Faso, Congo and Bangladesh.

Although no treatment has been identified for COVID-19, HPIC is providing medicines and supplies required to care for COVID-19 patients to treat mild symptoms. Medicine and medical supplies are also needed to maintain existing health services as facilities are forced to use their scarce resources to respond to COVID-19. This is often to the detriment of other healthcare needs.

In addition to medicine, through our local partners in Ghana and Kenya, we have been training and equipping healthcare workers, we are providing disinfecting supplies and we have installed hand washing stations at health facilities and key public places. We are also working with our partners to increase public awareness of COVID-19 through radio shows.

Q: What type of medicine and support can HPIC use right now?

BT: The demand for medicine from our partners around the world has been overwhelming. Last week, we emptied our entire Humanitarian Medical Kit inventory to send to refugee and displaced communities so there is a desperate need to replenish. We find that we are having a high demand for analgesics, anti-bacterials, antibiotics and disinfectants.

Financial support is equally needed in order for us to scale up our COVID-19 response through medicine donations and locally buying PPE and scaling up our prevention and treatment initiatives.

Q: To the people who say things are really bad in Canada, ‘why should we support people overseas when there is so many people in need here?’ What would you say to them?

BT: Even though we in Canada are feeling the strain of isolation, financial and healthcare concerns, we must remember that most people around the world do not enjoy the same access to healthcare and housing that is allowing us to keep ourselves well during this crisis. From past experiences with cholera, Ebola, HIV and tuberculosis, we know that COVID-19 will really affect the most vulnerable. It is also known from past experiences that facility and community-based solutions can minimize the death toll of epidemics and help to contain the spread of diseases.

Now more than ever, our international activities are so important. Part of Canada’s ability to protect the health and safety of Canadians is to work in solidarity across the globe.

Q: How can people support HPIC’s COVID-19 initiatives?

BT: You can join HPIC now, and help us in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in several ways. We need donations of medicine and financial support to mobilize health care.

Financial donations can be made online at www.hpicanada.ca/donate.

You can also mobilize those around you and host a fundraiser in support of this cause. Every $1 allows us to deliver $10 worth of medicine. For more information on partnerships and financial support contact Dayana Gomez, Director of Philanthropy at dgomez@hpicanada.ca

For donations of medicines or medical supplies please contact Ajoy Paul, Manager of Healthcare Industry Relations at apaul@hpicanada.ca

You can also become an HPIC ambassador. Helps us spread the word about this work and ask others to join. Please also follow us on social media and help us showcase the faces of those impacted by HPIC.

DONATE NOW

Zero Malaria Starts with HPIC

Ndeogma is 40 years old and lives in a rural community in Northern Ghana. For the past two years, she has been raising her four children by herself after her husband left them and never returned. Being a single parent is an everyday struggle and even more challenging when her children get sick. For Ndeogma to reach the nearest health facility she must walk for over two hours.

“Last Fall, my two-year-old boy, Elvis had a high temperature and loose stools. I went with him to see Mr. Joseph (one of the community-based health workers that HPIC supports) in my community. “Mr. Joseph tested Elvis and said he was suffering from malaria. He gave Elvis medicine and trained me to administer these medications at his home before leaving,” explained Ndeogma.

Community-based health workers like Mr. Joseph play a key role in preventing, detecting and treating malaria. Through HPIC’s HOPE project, these workers are nominated by their own communities to provide health care at a household level. They are trained to provide diagnosis and treatment for common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. They are also equipped with a bike and a backpack filled with supplies and life-saving medicines so they can go about their daily rounds. 

“The following day, I was relieved to see that Elvis’ temperature had reduced and he was in better spirits. Mr. Joseph continued to visit us until Elvis fully recovered,” Ndeogma expressed gratefully.

Time is of the essence in detecting and treating malaria. Rapid diagnostic tests provide quick results and are simple to perform and interpret.

Ndeogma is very thankful for the quick diagnostic test that was done by Mr. Joseph. “My son’s health insurance had expired and I didn’t have money to renew it. I could not have brought him to the health center because I didn’t have any money and the nearest health facility is more than two hours away. I wonder what would have happened to my son if I did not get this free treatment from a community-based health worker that devotes their time to help families like mine. I say thanks to HPIC and ADDRO for helping my son Elvis and all of my community.’’

HPIC works with its local partner ADDRO to bring essential health services closer to families living in rural and remote communities in the Garu district of the Upper East Region of Ghana. To do this, community-based health workers are recruited, trained and equipped to provide quality preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services to mothers, pregnant women and children under five. The persistence and commitment of these community-based health workers is saving lives and accelerating rural communities in Ghana toward a malaria-free future.

Support HPIC’s HOPE project by donating today!:  hpicanada.ca/donate

Message from our President & CEO: An Important Update on our Response to COVID-19.

Together, like never before in our lifetimes, we are witnessing that global health affects us all and now more than ever we need to work together for the benefit and safety of humanity.

At HPIC, we are reminded of the essential role we play everyday in providing health and hope to vulnerable communities around the world. Even though we in Canada might be feeling the strain of isolation and fear about our jobs and the economy, we cannot lose sight of the fact that many people around the world do not enjoy the same access to healthcare and housing that is allowing us to keep ourselves well during this crisis.

HPIC is actively working to respond to vulnerable communities with undersupplied healthcare systems that are now being further impacted and are in need of support and life-saving medicines. Our program staff are working around the clock to support our local partners by assessing the medicine and equipment needed; offering training to protect healthcare personnel; and providing prevention programs to help limit the spread of the disease. We are also working closely with our industry partners to source medicines and supplies. Last week, six skids of personal protective equipment including gloves, shoe covers, and coveralls left our distribution centre in Oakville, Ontario to help fight the COVID-19 crisis.

HPIC is also working to ensure the safety and well-being of our donors, partners, volunteers and staff. To mitigate the risk of our staff and broader community, HPIC staff continue to work but remotely and our warehouse operations continue with limitations to deliveries only at this time.

Our priority and our commitment to help individuals in need of medical products and support living in underserved communities across the world remains. To learn more about our response and ways that you can step in to help at this critical time, visit: http://www.hpicanada.ca/covid-19/

Wishing you good health during this unsettling time.

Marcelle McPhaden

President & CEO

Volunteer in Ghana

HPIC is looking for a Medical Doctor or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to volunteer in Ghana this Spring. The volunteer will support the capacity building of nurses and other health workers as part of HPIC’s maternal and child health project that is being implemented in Ghana by HPIC in partnership with the district health directorate of Amansie West and South.

Location: Amansie West and South Districts, Ashanti Region, Ghana

Start Date: May/June 2020 (flexible)

Duration: 3-4 days for planning and preparation (in Canada), and 4-5 days in Ghana

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Prepare and co-facilitate experience sharing/training sessions on Integrated Management of Newborn and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI) for nurses and other health workers who provide care for newborn and children under five.*
  • Assess current practices (both pre-service and in-service) and co-identify additional training needs and priorities.

* The training should cover topics such as bacterial infections, jaundice, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, measles, anemia and malnutrition. For teaching purposes, you may choose to present with videos or PowerPoint presentations that should be prepared prior to your arrival in Ghana. You could also bring your teaching tools (dolls, posters, handouts…etc.) with you.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • A recognized professional degree in pediatrics or pediatric nursing, and an active professional license.
  • Experience in clinical practice.
  • Experience in conducting workshops, trainings and seminars on IMNCI topics.
  • Excellent people skills and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Good interpersonal/communication skills.
  • Good knowledge of written and spoken English.
  • Flexibility.
  • Experience working or volunteering in low-resource areas or having cross-cultural experience is an asset.

Benefits:

  • This is a voluntary position. HPIC and its in-country partner will provide the following:
  • Pre-departure logistics support and preparation.
  • Flight tickets.
  • Reimbursement for medical insurance (pre-approval from HPIC is needed).
  • Pick up and drop off from Accra airport.
  • Clean, basic accommodation and meals.
  • Wireless internet (most of the time).
  • Reimbursement for visa and required vaccination fees.
  • Support from HPIC and its in-country partner throughout the stay in Ghana*.
  • A $30 stipend to offset incidental expenses for each day overseas.

*The volunteer will be accompanied by an HPIC staff member during her/his stay in Ghana.

Application Process:

Interested candidates should email a copy of their CV and details of two professional references to Catherine Sharouty (csharouty@hpicanada.ca) as soon as possible. Selected volunteer(s) will be asked to complete a detailed application and sign a waiver form.

$50,000 Grant Awarded to HPIC

HPIC is pleased to announce that beginning this month, Kenyans who have no access to medical care will be connected with general practitioners after being awarded a $50,000 grant by Stronger Together.

According to the Global Health Workforce Alliance, about one billion people today will never see a health worker in their entire lives. Patients who live in poor, remote communities often have to travel long distances to receive health services. The high cost of transportation, time required to travel to the nearest health facility, and stigma associated with certain diseases make it difficult, if not impossible to access necessary care.

Telemedicine is a new solution to some of these challenges. Telemedicine uses information and communications technology to connect community health workers and patients to skilled health professionals without the need for an in-person visit. With telemedicine, health professionals are able to evaluate, diagnose and provide clinical services to patients remotely via video/audio connections.

Thanks to the $50,000 grant from Stronger Together, HPIC will pilot a telemedicine application in Kenya. Community health workers will be equipped with a tablet and a software app that will allow them and their patients to have a live consultation with a doctor or a nurse at a health facility. With the help of a community health worker and a digital stethoscope, the virtual health provider will be able to do most of what any in-person health professional can. Equipped with the same software, the doctor or the nurse will be able to coach community health workers and advise on the treatment of their patients, helping them manage cases that are beyond their ability, as well as avoiding unnecessary referrals and reducing the burden of travel on patients and families.

The app will incorporate store-and-forward features, live consultations, image management and other features that will bring patients, community health workers and health professionals to a single platform.

Learn more about the project and the grant.

What is your hope for the holidays?

For many people around the world, hope does not reside in a season, but in the need of health.

Since the day Siliana was born, the hope of everyone around her was for Siliana to survive. Siliana was born extremely small, weighing only 1.8 pounds. She went through several traumatic incidents in the first couple of weeks of her life and nobody thought that she would make it. She was brought to House of Hope, a children’s home in Haiti where she was properly cared for – a place where she received food, shelter, clothing and an education.

Growing up at House of Hope gave Siliana the basic necessities she needed to survive. However, there was one medical issue that continued to plague her over the years. Since she was a baby, Siliana constantly battled with respiratory infections with no sign of relief. Fortunately, one of HPIC’s humanitarian partners made a visit to House of Hope and brought a Humanitarian Medical Kit to help children like Siliana living in the home. Siliana was prescribed Montelukast which cut her infections down to rare occurrences. Today, she is able to live a normal life, go to school and continue to grow into an amazing young lady.

Hope can only be ignited when sickness and suffering are eliminated. This holiday season, we are inviting you to bring health and hope to children like Siliana by shopping with HPIC’s Gifts of Hope!

A very special thank you from Omanna!

What do you do when a storm comes and you have nowhere to turn? That was the question Omanna had to ask herself last August, when she was flooded out of her home after heavy rainfalls hit the Kerala state. Faced with the worst floods in almost a century, a state of emergency was declared and the need for medicine was urgent.

HPIC responded to the crisis by airlifting two shipments of medicine to support flood victims like Omanna. Once the shipments arrived, they were distributed to multiple health care institutions to provide victims with access to medicines immediately.

Omanna is extremely thankful for the medication that she received from Canadians. Before the flood, she was a house labourer where she would go to three homes a day to help with tasks around the house. This involved cooking, cleaning and running errands for home owners.

When the heavy rainfall came and the flood waters rose, her home was completely destroyed. Having nowhere to turn, she took her two kids to the nearest government relief camp located in the City of Changanassery.

In a hurry to get somewhere safe, she forgot to take her medications with her as her priority was the safety of her family. Thankfully, HPIC was able to work with the government of Kerala to send medicine and medical supplies to camps like the one where Omanna and her children were staying. At the relief camp, she and her family got medicines for diabetes, cholesterol, fever, cough and asthma.

When she found out that many of the medicines she received during her time in the relief camp were from Canadians who donated to HPIC, she was very grateful and wanted to send a special thank you!

Snapshot of HPIC’s response to the floods in Kerala, India:

1st shipment

  • 1.5 tonnes of medicines
  • $200K worth of products
  • 75,000* treatments of analgesics, antibiotics, antihypertensives and antihyperglycemics

2nd shipment

  • 2.2 tonnes of medicines
  • $460,000 worth of products
  • 75,000* treatments of mostly antibiotics and medicines to treat non-communicable diseases
  • 30,000 patients treated in a timely manner

Thanks to the support of generous Canadians and pharmaceutical partners, the Government of Kerala was able to redirect some of the funds they received originally allocated for medicine purchases. Those funds were then used to purchase drinking water purification resources which was a major concern at the time.

This holiday season, help people like Omanna when disaster strikes. Bring health and hope to a community in crisis by giving a gift of hope to HPIC’s Emergency Relief program.

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