We have just published our year in review, entitled Delivering health and hope in 2014. Flip through to see the impact of our work made possible by our partners and donors in mission. Thank you! Delivering health and hope in 2014
Member of Parliament Francis Scarpaleggia congratulated HPIC on our 25th anniversary in the House of Commons. Here is the official transcript of his Member’s Statement, delivered on Friday, February 6, 2015.
Health Partners International
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Health Partners International of Canada, an NGO headquartered in the West Island of Montreal, on 25 years of delivering essential medicines and medical supplies to vulnerable communities, particularly those in the developing world. Since 1990, it has remarkably delivered over 20 million treatments to such communities.
Health Partners collects medicines and supplies that are donated by medical suppliers, including both research-based and generic pharmaceutical companies, and creates physician travel packs, including mother-child health kits, which are then given to physicians and other volunteers travelling to areas of need abroad.
In Canada and other developed countries, we are fortunate to be able to readily access medicines, including painkillers, which we might need one day.
Thanks to its extraordinary vision and its ability to form partnerships, HPIC helps alleviate the pain of a great many people in our global village.
Even though the cases of Ebola are now starting to drop off in West Africa, many people are still becoming sick, health systems and economies have been devastated, and families are struggling.
HPIC began emergency operations for Ebola in June. Since then we have provided 5 major shipments of medical relief to three main partner organizations on the ground. A 6th shipment is slated for airlift this week to Sierra Leone.
“These shipments include 26 Physician Travel Packs, desperately needed skids of protective equipment and disinfectant supplies and bulk essential medicines,” says Alexandra Wilson, HPIC’s emergency response manager. “We have also facilitated the donation of 65 portable heart monitors to help Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health rebuild its weakened health system.”
HPIC’s latest provision of medical relief for Ebola is going to International Medical Corps (IMC), which is operating three Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leone and Liberia. These centres offer access to care for 1.5 million people.
In a report to HPIC, IMC related the story of a Liberian scrub nurse named Comfort. She became infected with the “nurse killer” at work: Phebe Hospital in Bong County, Liberia. She was terrified. Five of her fellow nurses had already died of Ebola. When she arrived at International Medical Corps’ Ebola Treatment Center, just a couple of kilometres away, Comfort was certain she too wouldn’t survive. She kept thinking, “Ebola kills and there is no medicine for it.” She was right. But Treatment Centers can save about 40% of their patients by controlling blood pressure and with hydration and nourishment. Today, Comfort is one of our many success stories. She is working for International Medical Corps as a nurse, at the Center that saved her.
To date, it is estimated that HPIC has provided almost 25,000 treatments of medicine to people like Comfort. We have also provided medical supplies to help contain the virus and limit transmission.
As of February 1, the World Health Organization reported a total of 22,479 suspected cases and 8,974 deaths, though the WHO believes that this substantially understates the magnitude of the outbreak.
“Thank you to all our partners in mission and to our donors who make it possible for HPIC to provide much needed medical relief to fight Ebola,” says Glen Shepherd, HPIC’s president. “The world has to remain vigilant in order to contain this killer. We thank all our donors who are sticking with us over many months to provide this critical support to West Africa.”
HPIC is among a select group of charities in Canada to have received accreditation from Imagine Canada’s Standards Program.
HPIC demonstrates excellence in five areas of operations: board governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management, and volunteer involvement, according to Imagine Canada.
“It’s no small feat for an organization to earn Standards Program accreditation,” says Bruce MacDonald, President and CEO of Imagine Canada. “It’s a rigorous, peer-reviewed process that is meant to build public trust and confidence in the charitable sector. These organizations take
accountability and operational transparency very seriously. We’re glad to have them on board.”
Only 126 registered charities in Canada, out of a total of more than 80,000, have met the stringent requirements. Or you could say that HPIC is among 0.16% of registered charities that have successfully implemented the 72 standards of Imagine Canada.
The Standards Program is the not-for-profit version of ISOPs for businesses. The process to implement the standards is time consuming and demands substantial efforts from many staff and board members of an organization.
“I am so proud of the board and staff of HPIC for this remarkable achievement,” says Dr. Artaj Singh, Chair of HPIC. “We are a lean and effective organization. For a charity of any size, it is a milestone to celebrate. For a small organization like HPIC, it is a testimony to the professionalism of our staff, the commitment to best practices of our board and the strength of our volunteer program and general operations.
“HPIC has always been committed to best practices, as evidenced by the confidence of the healthcare industry across Canada and our Establishment Licence from Health Canada.
“The Imagine Canada process gave us a template to follow to maintain best practices and a way to regularly re-evaluate our operations as well as stay current with new developments.”
FACT: Early supportive care for people living with Ebola improves survival. Rehydration and symptomatic treatment is saving lives.
FACT: Protecting healthcare workers reduces the spread of the virus and ensures continued care for patients.
FACT: Ebola has been successfully eradicated in Nigeria and Senegal.
Since the early days of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, HPIC has been working with partners to respond. There is reason to hope and much work to be done to fight this killer.
HPIC is currently very active on the Ebola response file. We are equipping frontline workers and helping care for infected people.
Donors have been moved by the news coverage to do fundraising to help HPIC procure the medicines and medical supplies needed to fight this deadly outbreak striking at some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. More donations are urgently needed to provide the medicines and supplies that GlobalMedic, IMC and other HPIC partners on the ground need.
We continue to work with our healthcare industry donors and our program partners to plan more shipments of relief in line with the needs expressed by the health authorities on the ground.
To date HPIC has sent a number of shipments filled with urgently needed supplies. In June, we provided $128,000 worth of antibiotics, acetaminophen, gowns and gloves to PLAN International in Guinea, ground zero of the current epidemic.
In September HPIC provided 26 customized Emergency Physician Travel Packs to GlobalMedic to help frontline workers in Liberia and Sierra Leone care for infected people. These emergency mobile medical kits have equipped doctors and nurses with up to 15,000 treatments.
In their report to HPIC, GlobalMedic said the PTPs “were well suited for case management for suspected or confirmed Ebola cases. This shipment increased access to medical care for local populations, increased the ability of SDA Cooper Hospital and the Liberian MOH to manage suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, and increased incentive for local populations to seek medical assistance when presenting symptoms of Ebola.”
In addition HPIC sent 2,500 canisters of powerful disinfectant wipes donated by Virox Technologies to Liberia in October. This donation will allow hospitals to kill the virus on surfaces and prevent further infections.
Help us continue to respond by donating today.
Comfort was visiting from Ghana in the early 2000s when Dr. Neal Stretch and his wife Aggie met her.
The couple who live in Walkerton, Ontario were involved with helping adult survivors of sexual abuse at the time in addition to family medicine and teaching.
“We met this lady who was full of energy, hope and passion for the Trokosi women in Ghana,” Dr. Stretch remembered. Something about her really resonated with the couple who had been thinking about doing medical mission work. Trokosi girls and women are modern slaves. The practice calls for virgin girls to be sent to the shrines of fetish gods to pay for crimes committed by one of their relatives. They become living sacrifices, protecting their families from the gods’ wrath. Some stay at the shrines for a few years; others for life.
In 2002 Neal and Aggie set out with their son, who was 12 at the time, for Ghana. There they met Walter Pimpang, who is the head of International Needs Ghana, the lead NGO in Ghana advocating for an end to the Trokosi practice.
“Walter brought us to a school and we examined 100 kids there and he suggested we come back the following year and start something,” Neal recalled. The project began with Neal assembling a small team and seeing students as well as newly released women and girls.
“We built partnerships with the hospital and the project grew and grew,” he said. Every year they have brought teams. “People were so generous with their time and money.”
Over the course of the project, which lasted for 10 years, Neal and Aggie saw beautiful results: the Trokosi slaves have largely been liberated and the medical care has been taken over by Ghanaian doctors who Canadians have sponsored through medical school.
Every year Neal brought Physician Travel Packs provided by HPIC. Each PTP is a standard assortment of essential medicines and medical supplies that can provide up to 600 treatments.
“We wouldn’t have gone without HPIC,” says Neal. “Having a safe and dependable supply of medicine is vital. I know the medicines in the PTP are good and safe and I know how to use them.”
On the last trip to Ghana in 2013 the team brought 2 Physician Travel Packs and set up a mobile unit in a school. They saw more than 3,500 children and women in eight villages. Now Neal and Aggie are hoping to start something similar in Zambia, where they are headed in November.
Ely Singh, a 12-year-old Grade 8 student from Niagara Falls, has raised over $12,000 to send emergency medical relief for people living with Ebola and those caring for them in West Africa.
“I am glad to report that all of the donations have been processed and a cheque for $11,188.09 has been couriered to you today,” Ely wrote in an email message to HPIC Oct. 10. In addition to the money collected by Ely, HPIC raised $845 on a webpage to support Ely’s efforts.
Ely started her bicycle Ride for Ebola Aug. 25 with the goal of biking 500 kms by Oct. 31 and raising $8,000 in sponsorships to do so.
“I am inspired by what Ely has done and am grateful for all the support that has been generated in Canada for Ebola relief,” said Glen Shepherd, President of HPIC. “We already have a program partner on the ground and will be working now on building a shipment thanks to the support raised by Ely.”
Donations are still welcome for this project. Please go to www.hpicanada.ca/elysrideforebola to donate any amount.
Grade 8 student Ely Singh has biked about 180 kms to date toward her goal of biking 500 kms by Oct. 31.
Almost every morning since Aug. 25 the 12-year-old is on the road by 5:30 a.m. along with her dad, Dr. Artaj Singh, who is accompanying her on her Ride for Ebola. The Niagara Falls, Ontario father-daughter bike-riding duo are adding about 12 kms toward their goal every weekday morning.
“I started thinking about what I could do for my Grade 8 Community Service Project with my parents a few months ago,” Ely says. “Over the summer I heard the news about the Ebola outbreak and wanted to help. We are riding 500 kms and asking people to sponsor our ride so we can raise money to send needed medicines and supplies through HPIC to West Africa.”
HPIC has already provided a shipment of masks and gowns to Guinea and 26 Physician Travel Packs (customized for Ebola) with GlobalMedic teams from Canada to Liberia.
When Ely started her project, she hoped to raise $600 for one Physician Travel Pack. Her Dad promised to raise another $600 for a second PTP. Then a corporate sponsor pledged to match the $1,200.
Momentum has been building and more sponsors are coming on board. To date, Ely has raised $7,300 and is expecting to raise more than $8,000.
“We are inspired by what Ely has been able to do,” says Glen Shepherd, President of HPIC. “We would like to challenge the Canadian public to match Ely’s contributions and donate another $8,000 to get a shipment of much needed medicines and medical supplies to the Ebola-struck region.”
Ely has been following the Ebola news closely. “Though no definite treatment is available for Ebola, patients who receive supportive treatment early have a 50% better chance of survival,” Ely reports. “The medical systems and health workers in the affected areas are pushed to their limits and severely stressed at many levels.”
“Based on need, I want to send supplies such as antibiotics, supportive medications, and hydration supplies to help reduce the death rate from the Ebola infection, as well as gowns and masks to help decrease the spread of the disease in the communities.”
“I am asking everyone to donate $50, which works out to be 10 cents for every km I ride,” says Ely. “However, any amount will help us fight Ebola.” Donations can be made online to support Ely’s Ride for Ebola.
The summer of 2014 is a season of crisis around the world. Our newscasts and news feeds are full of desperate situations and humanitarian emergencies.
“HPIC and our partners have been on the frontlines helping respond to the major health threats that come as a result of conflict and poverty,” said Glen Shepherd, President of HPIC.
With your support, HPIC is sending essential medicines and supplies to help vulnerable communities through our partners in Africa, Gaza and Iraq, who are responding to the Ebola outbreak, the conflict in the Middle East, and the Iraqi and Syrian refugee crisis.
HPIC is currently building shipments for health workers fighting the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, and for hospitals and clinics in Gaza.
In addition, HPIC is working through connections on the ground in Iraq to find ways to respond to the rapidly increasing numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country and Syrian refugees.
“Our partners in Northern Iraq are overwhelmed with the plight of Christian and Yazidi IDPs who have fled from their home with little or no possessions. We are actively seeking ways to send medicines to aid them in their efforts,” said Maryanne Mutch, Executive Director of Programs at HPIC.
“The needs are great, the health threats are serious, but we can make a difference with timely deliveries of medicine and supplies that bring health and hope,” said Glen Shepherd. “For example, patients living with Ebola who receive early access to care and treatment have a more than 50 per cent chance of surviving and being welcomed back into the community, back to life.”
Every $1 donated to HPIC will provide at least $10 of essential medicine and supplies. Please give to our Emergency Response Fund today.
What can a team of 20 volunteers, all doctors or nurses, accomplish in five days with 10 Physician Travel Packs provided by HPIC?
“Over 1,900 patients were triaged,” reported Dr. Duncan Miller in his report to HPIC. “Of these, 1,608 were assessed in the general medicine clinic; 506 were seen by a dentist and 767 patients were treated in optometry. All of these patients were prescribed medication and/or vitamins.”
Dr. Miller’s team was assembled by the Ascenta Foundation from St. Paul’s and B.C. Children’s Hospitals in British Columbia and Hinton Hospital in Alberta. They provided care to the mainly indigenous community of Cotabambas in the Andes mountains in Peru.
“The overall sentiment was one of absolute gratitude. The local community expressed their thanks with their words, but also with their smiles, hugs, tears, and often, with a courteous tip of the hat,” Dr. Miller reported. “They hosted a beautiful closing ceremony for the whole team, attended by government officials from all over the region. Children from the local elementary school performed traditional Quechuan poems and dances originating from the 16th century.”
Most patients complained of parasites and body pain. “The greatest need was for vitamins to assist with malnutrition. Domestic abuse was widespread and the need for psychotropic medication was high. Patients also presented a great need for dental care,” wrote Dr. Miller.
There is a small hospital in the town but it doesn’t always have the medication required. That means that a patient would have to make a treacherous four-hour journey on a winding mountain road to the bigger centre of Cuzco.
“Some of our first patients were a mother and her three children,” Dr. Miller recalled. “All three kids were under 10 years old and had spent the afternoon in the dental clinic. I believe this may have been their first visit to a dentist. I had seen this family earlier and the eldest of the three boys was quite scared. He was crying, which had upset his siblings.
“When the family arrived at the pharmacy to collect their pain medications, antibiotics and vitamins, I gave each of the kids an Izzy Doll (knitted by volunteers across Canada and included in all PTPs). The children were mesmerized, they stopped crying and embraced their new toys. Their mother was so touched, her arms full of medications, her children happy and healthy, she became overwhelmed by tears of gratitude and hugged me.”