HPIC Welcomes A New President: Marcelle McPhaden

Health Partners International Canada (HPIC) is pleased to announce the appointment of its new President, Marcelle McPhaden.

Marcelle has a significant history with HPIC, initially volunteering after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, quickly onboarding as staff, and eventually serving as the organization’s Director, Product Planning until 2009. Returning in 2017, Marcelle has taken on increasing responsibilities, most recently as the Senior Director, Healthcare Relations and Programs.

This year Marcelle steered the organization’s successful development through formulating HPIC’s 2019-2021 strategic plan, securing a historic financial donation to initiate implementation of the plan, and by building strong relationships with external stakeholders, as well as the HPIC Board of Directors and staff. These initiatives have enabled HPIC to continue the delivery of medicines, healthcare supplies and healthcare capacity building programs to impoverished communities in over 50 developing countries and to plan for future growth and development.

Marcelle’s expertise in healthcare development stems from her time as a clinician and hospital manager and in working at Accreditation Canada and the Canadian Medical Association. In these roles she has driven forward organizational missions, created operational efficiencies and implemented innovative programs.  She also worked in the US pharmaceutical industry in product development and clinical research. These insights provide a strong foundation for her successful relationships with healthcare industry partners.

Marcelle has engaged with international Ministries of Health in strengthening national health standards and has facilitated the assessment of health care organizations and health professional training programs, collaborating with national and provincial associations and regulators.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy, a Master of Health Administration and serves as a board member on two not-for-profit health and social service agencies.

Marcelle’s leadership, work ethic and communication skills have proven her to be an integral asset to HPIC. The Board of Directors and staff are pleased to welcome her into her new role as CEO and President.   

2nd Annual Health and Hope Day Raises Awareness and Funds for Health Relief Efforts.

Every humanitarian medical shipment sent by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) is enabled thanks to the combined generosity of individual donors, volunteers and Canadian companies who regularly provide HPIC with the products needed to save lives.

Every kit has enough medicine to treat over 300 patients and is hand-packed to meet the needs of the individual communities they serve.

Medical products are donated by Canadian pharmaceutical and medical device companies who also volunteer regularly to help pack HPIC’s array of health kits.

“We are able to respond promptly and effectively thanks to generosity of these corporations,” says Denis St. Amour, President of HPIC. “Their support is vital to the work we do.”

“We rely on the generosity of Canadians who donate and enable us to help those in need,” says Mr. St. Amour. “For the next six months every dollar you give will be doubled thanks to the Perfect Match Campaign and the generous donor who offered to match every gift you make up to $75,000.”

“By supporting the Perfect Match Campaign your gift of $20 becomes $400 dollars of medicine on the ground.”

Celebrate Health and Hope and change a life by contributing to the Perfect Match Campaign today.



Thanks to the generosity of Canadian drug and medical supplies manufacturers, and its financial donors and volunteers, Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) is mobilizing medical relief for those affected by Cyclone Idai in southeastern Africa. The massive storm tore through the region two weeks ago, leaving more than 800 confirmed dead so far and millions suffering in unsanitary conditions without adequate healthcare.

An initial shipment of primary care medicines is being finalized for airlift by HPIC directly from its warehouse in Oakville, Ontario, to Harare, Zimbabwe, for distribution by the Salvation Army of Zimbabwe to rural hospitals affected by the cyclone.

This shipment includes a broad array of essential medicines donated by Canadian companies that regularly provide requested products in advance for HPIC to utilize in its humanitarian medical programs, enabling this prompt response to this devastating humanitarian and medical crisis.

This first shipment consists of 20 Humanitarian Medical Kits which, thanks to its regular corporate donors, HPIC has on hand. Regular Humanitarian Medical Kit contributors include: Allergan, Apotex, AstraZeneca Canada, Bayer, Becton, Dickinson & Company, GlaxoSmithKline Inc., Johnson & Johnson Inc., Merck Canada, Paladin Laboratories, Pfizer, Pharmascience, Teva and Vita Health Products, and others that contribute when possible.

The kits are crucial in a circumstance such as this they meet immediate and varied needs and are easily transportable for distribution to a variety of centers. Each kit generally provides enough treatment for more than 300 patients, meaning this initial shipment will help meet the medical needs of some 6,000 cyclone victims, or several large villages.

“HPIC is very pleased to be able to quickly provide this initial donated Canadian medical aid to the people of Zimbabwe who have been affected by this disastrous and unprecedented cyclone,” said Denis St. Amour, President of HPIC. “We are in contact with partners working in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi who are ascertaining immediate and emerging health needs and we are confident our generous Canadian corporate and individual donors will rise to the occasion so we will be able to answer their further needs, which we know will be great.”

Along with the Salvation Army, HPIC is in direct contact with the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe and is planning for further shipments there and to Mozambique, and is in communication with partners in Malawi. 

HPIC receives donations from companies in Canada’s four major medical and medicinal supply industries: Innovative Medicines Canada, the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the Consumer Health Products Canada and MEDEC, the medical technology industry in Canada, and from independent companies and financial supporters.

HPIC is continuing its appeal to the industry and the Canadian community to respond to this crisis and looks forward to sending further much-needed aid in the coming weeks.

To consider any type of medical product donation please contact:

Marcelle McPhaden, Senior Director, Healthcare Relations and Programs, Health Partners International of Canada, Tel: 514-822-1112, ext. 130 / Cell: 514-815-1875, Email: mmcphaden@hpicanada.ca

To contribute financially to this response please donate here: https://www.hpicanada.ca/donate/



Providing medicine to the world’s biggest family

HPIC Project Partner Profile on Mully Children’s Family Canada

By Alicia Kolenda

Dr. Charles Mulli often gets up in the middle of the night and goes driving to rescue children in need.

An abandoned child himself, Dr. Mulli has made it his life’s mission to rescue children from the streets of Kenya. He worked his way up from a very humble labourer to become a millionaire, with a monopoly in Kenya’s oil industry. After an encounter with a child on the street, he decided to sell everything and never work for money again. He took in his first orphan shortly after. Over the past 27 years, Mully Children’s Family has become huge — the largest family in the world.  More than 23,000 children have found a home with Mully Children’s Family (MCF).

Currently, there are 3,500 children living at MCF at six different sites, five in Kenya and one in Tanzania. Many of the children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, are abandoned, or come out of abusive situations like child labour or the sex trade. At MCF, every child is given enough love and family to make up for their neglect. They are taught how to tell their story, and are provided nutrition, clean water, healthcare and education.

MCF is also committed to supporting the community surrounding each of their sites, hiring their neighbours to work in their agricultural programs. A water tower sits immediately outside the main entrance to MCF’s largest site in Ndalani, supplying the entire area with fresh drinking water every day.

Canada supports MCF by sending their only volunteer medical teams to the permanent clinic in Ndalani. These teams hold two-week clinics several times a year, and provide additional outreach to the community around MCF.

Dr. Karen Ling, a Canadian family physician in Markham, Ontario and a member of the largest medical team sent to MCF, says, “It is a place where the norm for these children was immense poverty of basic necessities, both material, like food, water and shelter, and intangible but no less a necessity, love, hope and purpose. In spite of this, one family built a place that shows the power of restoration in a broken life.”

Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) has supported each and every Canadian medical team with donated medicines, sending almost $105,000 worth of medicine last year in the form of Humanitarian Medical Kits for primary care and special requests. This medicine was used to treat thousands of patients, and keep the MCF pharmacy well stocked for additional support between clinic teams.

When Dr. Mulli began taking children off the streets one by one, he had no idea he would see so many come through his home. These children have gone to university and trade schools, all paid for by MCF. Not only has Mully Children’s Family changed those children’s lives, but through their outreach programs, including medical clinics, they have changed entire communities.

HPIC is pleased to support Mully Children’s Family. With your support, we will continue to work with MCF, ensuring every child and member of the Mully Children’s Family community has access to medicine when needed.

To support HPIC’s work with other great partners like Mully Children’s Family, visit our donate page.


Hamilton mobilization for Rohingya refugees

Just back from Bangladesh, Noor Nizam described to Health Partners International of Canada the dire situation of the Rohingya refugees who live in camps in Cox’s Bazaar.

“These 900,000 people are living in totally unacceptable conditions,” he related to HPIC in a telephone interview. “It is monsoon season now and there is mud and water everywhere. They have no drinking water and no food and their shelters will not stand the wrath of the monsoon. The world has turned its back on them.”

Noor was moved to find out more about the Rohingya refugee crisis in the fall of 2017. It is the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.

“The more I dug into the story, the more I felt compelled to do something to help these people,” he said. “We wanted to be their voice in Canada.” The Hamilton mobilization includes 6 mosques, the United Church of Canada, the City of Hamilton, the local communities of Hamilton and Dundas, and the Bangladeshi community of Canada.

Through their efforts they have been able to raise public awareness in Ontario about the plight of the Rohingya and raise funds to get emergency medical relief to them.

In June, Noor brought eight Humanitarian Medical Kits comprising 16 boxes of medicines from HPIC with his friend Rahim Chowdhury to provide medical treatment for an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 children and adults.

“Malnutrition is rampant. The children are weak and vulnerable to sickness. They get diarrhea, stomach problems, malaria and more. Drinking water is very scarce. The health workers cannot do much without medicines,” Noor said.

The medicines they brought to their on-the-ground partner, the Red Crescent Society of Bangladesh, could fill the pharmacy at the camp. “The field staff at the camp hospital really appreciated the donated medicines from Canada and expressed a desire for more.”

Noor is continuing to mobilize support for the Rohingya refugees and is planning more medical relief in partnership with HPIC.

Team makes it through sand and soaring temperatures to deliver care and medicines

The town of Yola in northeastern Nigeria has become a temporary home to hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who are living like refugees in their own country.

Their situation is not well known although many people know about the school girls who were kidnapped from their classrooms, another incident that happened during this conflict.

There are now more than 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria. The country in sub-Saharan Africa is the most populous on the continent and while technically it has the biggest economy in Africa, it also has the world’s greatest number of extremely impoverished people.

These IDPs are mostly children and women and they are living in very difficult circumstances.

This month Health Partners International of Canada, in partnership with Food For The Hungry Canada, airlifted 7 skids of medicine to Dr. Khalid Ataelmannan, a general surgeon from Canada, who is working in Nigeria with the Health and Gender Initiative Organization to distribute medical relief.

The skids contained an assortment of medicines requested by Khalid’s partner organization, including several kinds of antibiotics, cholesterol lowering medicine, treatment for ulcers and reflux, osteoporosis medication, antidepressants and more. The total value of these medicines is $1.48 million Canadian fair market value.

“Schools and clinics are among the major challenges these people face,” Khalid wrote in a report to HPIC about the last provision of medical relief when he brought 5 Humanitarian Medical Kits and 5 Mother-Child Health Kits this past spring. “

“The amount of medicines we gave them this spring is the most they had ever received,” Khalid reported. “They were very encouraged and told us that they would be able to carry out all their scheduled medical outreach programs.”

Khalid went out on an outreach day to a village with a mobile team.

“The road is not paved, the terrain is uneven and in some places sandy. We almost got stuck in the sand, which would have meant another 30 minutes to an hour trying to get out of the sand trap. Fortunately that did not happen. However, with the temperature soaring above 45oC, I cannot tell you how excited I was when the village was finally in sight,” he recalled.

The people were waiting in the nearby school waiting for Khalid and the team. They were overjoyed to see them and especially grateful for the medicines from Canada.

Khalid described the scene: “There were elderly men and women, children, young adults and pregnant and lactating teenage girls. The numbers continued to grow as the day went on with people having left home early in the morning arriving around noon after two or three hours of walking.”

“The school, which served as the venue, was in very bad shape,” Khalid said. “You can tell there is no one coming there. With the chairs wrecked, windows broken and no electricity, it was not possible to sit in the rooms when it was above 45oC outside.

“The medical outreach team is used to this. They arranged their registration, consulting and dispensing tables one after the other in the school corridor. The officer in charge of deworming the children stood under a shady tree and gave the medicine to the children. In less than 10 minutes, everything was set up, and we got going. All patients were entered into a register. The patients were then seen and received a prescription. This was taken to the pharmacy technician, who handed out the medication. It was simple and efficient and I could not help feeling very impressed with the way the team adapted to the difficult circumstances.”

The community is used to deworming programs every 6 months or so but they were so relieved to hear of the team coming with medicines. “The numbers were much greater than usual and the news had spread further,” Khalid said.

The team worked in challenging conditions but delivered health and hope to 300 people in one day!


Thank you to all our volunteers!

On the occasion of National Volunteer Week 2018, we would like to say a warm thank you to our hundreds of volunteers from across Canada, from our network of donor healthcare companies, our movement of Izzy Doll knitters and those who crochet, our individual volunteers who offer professional services, our faithful “regulars” in the Oakville-Mississauga area.

Health Partners International of Canada and those we serve in communities in crisis and the developing world are so grateful. This unique Canadian movement to deliver health and hope runs on volunteer power.

“In 2017 we estimate that volunteer packing teams contributed more than 1,500 hours at our DC,” says Nancy McGuire, HPIC’s director who oversees the volunteer program. “This estimate is only packing though- we have people leaving every week as volunteers from across Canada to bring care and treatment to communities in great need around the world. And we have an awesome team of professionals and companies that offer their services and expertise to advance our mission.

On behalf of all those we serve, we want to thank all of you who serve HPIC!”



Nursing students travel to Malawi to develop intercultural competence as they gain hands-on experience

In today’s clinic and hospital setting in Canada, the pace is fast and the focus is on technology.

So how do nursing colleges develop their students to foster understanding, empathy and the ability to provide culturally sensitive care?

“What really struck me when I went to Malawi was that nobody complained. And I met nurses who were caring for 100 patients,” she said.

Melodie has been bringing a select group of final year nursing students to Malawi every year since 2011. “It is a rite of passage for them. They are very young and often lack life experience. I want them to experience what it is to be a minority and I want them to develop an interest in who that person in the bed is.”

“I wasn’t taught how to tailor my care for someone from a different cultural background…we have an objective to graduate nurses who are culturally competent, but how do you do that?”

Participating students are required to provide 160 hours of clinical nursing, during their seven weeks abroad, to meet the course competencies and fulfill the requirements of their Nursing DEC.

They gain hands-on experience teaching and screening for illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS at St. Andrews Mission Hospital, a small rural hospital, and at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, a more urban medical institution. They usually travel during the peak of malaria season when extra health personnel is most useful.

The students are guests of the Kamuzu College of Nursing at the University of Malawi where they attend classes. Nursing students from Kamuzu College of Nursing also attend Vanier College as the reciprocal part of this exchange.

When the students travel to Malawi, Melodie insists that they each bring a Humanitarian Medical Kit from Health Partners International of Canada. “This allows the students to have the tools to offer treatment that otherwise might not be available. It is also a way for the students to give something back in exchange for the valuable learning experiences,” she says.

A Malawian couple who are both doctors work for a partner organization called K2 Taso, funded by the Canadian K2 Foundation and also a partner of Health Partners International of Canada. Dr. Peter and Jacqueline Minjale act as local coordinators –and teachers- of the rural outreach care the Vanier student nurses provide.

HPIC provides shipments of bulk medicines to the Minjales and their team at K2. “These medicines may seem cheap to you. For us, they are both expensive and scarce. Even basic medicines, like painkillers, are not available at government facilities.”

K2 uses the medicine to provide treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, for palliative care patients and for mobile clinics offered to remote villages.

HIV/AIDS has been devastating in Malawi. “It has claimed the lives of productive people: leaders, teachers, parents, workers,” he said.

However, there is much hope with the approach of many partners working together to address the HIV/AIDS crisis. Peter believes that they will reach the goal of preventing transmission from mother to child by 2030 to have an HIV/AIDS free generation. “Today there are 31 clinics for ARV (anti-retroviral therapy) care in our district. In 2007, there was only 1 and people would walk great distances to access the drugs available there.”

The HIV/AIDS prevalence in that corresponding period has dropped from 14.6% of the population to 8.7%.

While the numbers are trending down, there are still many people impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Peter showed a photo of a 16-month-old baby being cared for by his aunt. He is an HIV/AIDS orphan.

Out of the 3,883 patients in their care, 152 are teenagers and 403 are in elementary school. “Our mandate is to take care of them,” he says. And through the amazing work that his team does with limited resources, Peter and Jacquie and their team are making a lasting impression on the young Canadians.

Students at Vanier College are beginning to meet Melodie and planning the next trip to Malawi in March 2018.

Link to Vanier Nursing Malawi Exchange blog www.malawinursingexchange.wordpress.com

The end of the road

Where the road ends, there is a footpath that leads to an isolated community in Ghana.

There are people who live there. They live in remote and rural communities and are some of the estimated 2 billion people lacking access to medicine. HPIC and our partners want to do more to help them.

In November HPIC’s Catherine Sharouty travelled to Ghana and visited two regions: Ashanti and the Volta. Some clinics and health facilities are tucked far away and the people who depend on them can feel forgotten. Catherine and a local partner had to get out of their car and walk in to the community by a narrow dirt path to reach one facility.

“I grew up on this continent and I have seen poverty, but there were many firsts for me on this trip,” she said. “Daily life is very tough here. Seeing how they live and how they cook- wow. Kids walk for 1 hour or more to get to school and when school is over, they sell fruit.”

Added to the difficult conditions is the fact that it is very hot and humid. “Where I visited was mountainous and very green- quite beautiful actually. You see a lot of plantations growing crops like plantains. The roads are red dirt, like in Prince Edward Island, and there are a lot of holes. Most people do not drive and some have motorcycles. In fact, for the pregnant women or anyone who needs to get to a hospital, travelling by motorcycle is often the best – and sometimes the only – option. People living in the remote areas are living mostly from subsistence farming and there are many artisans and seamstresses.

And yet everyone has a phone and they get their news via Facebook and social media. From one region to another, people may not understand each other because there are many local languages and dialects. Only those who have gone further in school speak English.

And yet, Catherine found much reason to hope and enjoyed meeting the local partners and people. The Ghanaian nurses and midwives are very impressive too. “They wear these pressed and perfectly clean green and white uniforms and they arrive at work on time, with a smile and a positive attitude. And yet when I see their workload, the number of patients and the lack of equipment and medicines to do their job, I am impressed by their motivation and perseverance to do the best for their patients.”

Catherine undertook a needs assessment of the maternal and child health services in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti region. “The needs are huge…infrastructure, supply chain and training needs… Yet, all health facility staffs were enthusiastic about and supportive of any program that will enhance their performance and build up their capacity.”

Catherine also visited HPIC MamaCare project partner in the Volta region. “Together, we will be training and equipping 50 community midwives and community nurses, who are of vital importance to remote rural communities in Ghana.

The community midwives get paid with gifts or services. “They are mostly providing the service as a good deed for their neighbours. But they are present and they have experience and with some training and knowledge about when to call for more experienced help, we can save mothers and babies.”

HPIC will be sending staff to Ghana again in 2018 to initiate other health projects.

“There are so many needs- the shelves are mostly bare and the pharmacies can use help to sort and manage the stock that they have. There is much work to be done and we are grateful to the partners who have committed to do this important work.”



How do you spell HOPE in the Dominican Republic? CANADA.

Canada is the name of the street where partner agency ADESJO has an office in San Jose de Ocoa in the Dominican Republic.

For the past 7 years, ADESJO and Canadian partner HOPE International Development Agency have been working with Health Partners International of Canada to increase access to medicine for the most vulnerable people served by their network of 33 clinics across the country. Another key player from Canada is the Scarboro Foreign Missions Society, which sowed these connections years ago and has been a long-time support to the community.

The friendship and support of individuals and charitable organizations from Canada is so valued that the street was named “Canada” as a gesture of appreciation.

In May 2017, HPIC sent staff member Raini Aquino to meet the partners and learn more about this long-term health project. When Raini, a pharmacist originally from the Dominican Republic, visited the local clinic in San Jose de Ocoa, she met a nurse, Zoraida, who had benefitted from a 20-foot container of medicines delivered late last year. Zoraida has been working at the clinic for the last 6 years.

“She was so incredibly grateful for the medicine,” Raini recalled. “She had to come over and thank me for the asthma medication that was donated by Teva Canada Limited.”

Zoraida lives in this town and so this is the clinic that she uses as a patient. “The town is in the mountains, which trap the pollution and causes many people who live there to suffer from asthma,” Raini explained. The dramatic change in temperature from the hot and humid conditions during the day to cold nights also contributes to problems for asthma patients.

Teva-Montelukast is an effective treatment that is taken when needed to control the symptoms of asthma such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness and cough.

“Zoraida’s doctor had recommended this treatment but she could not afford it. Even if she could, the medicine is probably not even available in her town but only in a large city,” Raini explained.

“When the HOPE shipment arrived, Zoraida was one of an estimated 100 patients to benefit from this gift by Teva Canada Limited.

“When you treat the healthcare workers, you are also ensuring that more people can access care and treatment,” Raini explained.

Partner highlight: Teva Canada Limited has been a partner of HPIC since 2003. Lifetime giving of medicine through HPIC is now over $50 million. In 2016, Teva Canada Limited was a top donor of medicine and they also provide annual general funding.