A Gift of Health For A Gifted Student

Dulce Maria is an excellent student. She never misses school and at just 10 years old, she is mature beyond her years.

That’s why it surprised her teacher when she had a hard time paying attention in class and began to rest her head on her desk. Soon it became apparent that Dulce Maria was very ill.

“I touched her forehead and she was hot to the touch. She said her head and throat hurt,” said her teacher, Edna Galicia. “But despite her illness, she did not want to miss school.”

Dulce Maria lives in a rural area of the Guatemalan municipality of San Cristóbal Acasaguastlán.

During the week, her mother works in a nearby town processing sugar cane, so she lives with her grandmother. But her grandmother has no cell phone and the nearest clinic is a three-hour walk away. Her grandmother watched her growing more and more ill, but there was nothing she could do.

Finally, her teacher alerted Dr. Mayra Franco at the town clinic about Dulce Maria’s condition. Dr. Mayra, as she prefers to be called, spends most mornings in the clinic and then makes “house calls” during the afternoons to the citizens living in outlying rural areas. So Dr. Mayra made the long journey to check on Dulce Maria.

“When I examined her, it was clear she was very, very sick,” says Dr. Mayra. “She had a severe case of strep throat that had gone untreated for quite a while.”

Without treatment, strep can turn into rheumatic fever, causing long-term damage to a child’s heart and lungs. It is the leading cause of heart damage for children in developing countries.

Fortunately, Dr. Mayra had recently received pediatric antibiotics from MAP International, in partnership with Food for the Poor. The antibiotics were exactly what she needed to help treat Dulce Maria’s condition.

“She started to feel better in just a few days,” says her grandmother. “I am so very grateful to God and those who made it possible for Dulce Maria to receive this free medicine,” she says.

“Many of us here are very poor,” she continued. “But we love our children and want the best lives for them. I am so glad that Dulce Marie feels better and can study again. She loves school.”

Recently Mayor Jeaneth Ordonoz visited Dulce Maria’s school. When the children were asked, “Who wants to be mayor one day?”Dulce Maria’s hand shot up and her eyes sparkled.

Thanks to the antibiotics you helped MAP supply, Dulce Maria may one day make her dream come true. 

Topics: Medicine for the World Pediatric Antibiotics

Steve's Notes From The Field: Liberia

As I conclude my travels in Liberia this week before heading to Cote d'Ivorie, I want to share first-hand how your support has provided hope for so many.

This week I met with Liberia's Minister of Health, Dr. Francis Kateh. He shared with me the success of our partnership with the Carter Center in providing medicines for mental health clinicians to use in caring for their patients. To date, the Carter Center has trained 230 mental health clinicians.

Sadly, a decade of civil conflict and the outbreak of Ebola have created a mental health crisis in Liberia that has been intensified by misconceptions, stigma, and the resulting discrimination surrounding mental illnesses. Medicines from MAP will help reduce suffering and increase the quality of life for those living with mental illnesses. 

Dr. Kateh also shared with me that in one local village, 45 percent of the people who have epilepsy are now being treated successfully with the medicines you helped provide.

Topics: Liberia steve stirling The Carter Center Epilepsy

What Happens When Medicine Isn't Available

This piece originally appeared in Physician Family magazine, Summer 2018

We hardly give it a second thought. A cut finger and we grab a bandage from the first aid kit. A slight fever and we run to the medicine cabinet for Ibuprofen. Something more serious and our physician calls in a prescription which we pick up at the nearby pharmacy.

But for millions of people living in poor countries, there are no first aid kits or medicine cabinets. Pharmacies, often a day’s journey or more away, stock medicine far too expensive for the average person—or worse, pills made of useless or toxic materials.

So cuts go untreated and uncovered—often resulting in major infections. Fevers continue to rise and diseases go untreated. And chronic conditions that could be easily managed become an early death sentence.

Topics: Haiti life-changing medicines

God Will Find a Way - Beatrice's Story

For 48 years, Beatrice was unable to look people in the eye. Born in Rwanda with chronic foot deformities, she had crawled her entire life and could not stand.

Flip-flops protected Beatrice's hands as she moved around; she was forced to view the world from the ground up.   

Her parents were desperate to help her.

Life in their remote village in southwest Rwanda offered limited medical assistance beyond traditional healers. Her community ridiculed and marginalized the disabled. Beatrice and her family turned God for help; they believed He would find a way.

Topics: sutures health supplies rwanda

Helping Girls Growing Up in Refugee Camps

The MAP Disaster Health Kit is a simple, yet dramatic product for people living in the most desperate of conditions. 

Described as a perfect 'measure of dignity' by people who have lost everything in natural disasters, MAP's signature Disaster Health Kits (DHK) contain antiseptic wipes, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other essential items. 

MAP's partner ANERA, the American Near East Refugee Aid organization, has found another creative use for the disaster health kit. ANERA recently shared the following story about how women and girls living in refugee camps are being trained in disease prevention and hygiene awareness

In the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon lies Burj El Barajneh; the most overpopulated Palestinian refugee camp in the city and home to more than 17,000 registered refugees; all living within a mere 1 square kilometer area…

Topics: disaster health kits lebanon

Showing Love with Medicine

People began to line up just as the sun was rising. By 8 am, the line circled the entire block with the small church in the center.

We had come from the US to the Dominican Republic to help a small church with a building project and their Vacation Bible School. But when the pastor found out we could bring medicine and medical supplies, he was thrilled. “We’ll host a pop up clinic!” he told us in English.

The concept sounded oddly trendy in the dusty community just outside Santo Domingo, but we were happy to follow the pastor’s lead. He arranged for three local doctors and a med student to volunteer and the night before the clinic, we all sorted the medicine and vitamins we had brought from MAP and made a list of what was available.

Topics: Medicines Dominican Republic medical missions

Lessons of Faith in the Midst of Disaster

As parishioners filed out of the morning church service in Escuintla, Guatemala, on a warm June day, some were complaining. Why did they have to keep sitting on plastic chairs?

Topics: disaster health kits volcano guatemala

Behind the Scenes: Rose's Resilience

After I introduced myself to Rose, the first words I remember her saying were, “Lespwa fè viv.”

My translator, Florence, said it means “hope makes one live.” Florence then shared with me; however, “When you hear Rose’s story, you will know that this means so much more for her.” I looked at my translator quizzically.

Florence responded, “Rose says that ‘if I am breathing, then I am alive. And if I am alive, then I have hope.”

Rose told us her story. Our video crew, translator, and I listened intently. Even in the stifling heat of an August Haitian afternoon, you can’t help but hear the lyrical cadence of Rose’s Creole, even if only a few words are understood.

Jonny, our videographer, sat closest to Rose asking her to talk about her family, her life, and her experiences. Ben, his assistant, donning a well-worn Titletist golf cap and cotton shirt, pointed his camera to capture the scene. Behind Ben, I took notes as Florence translated.

Before January 10, 2010, Rose gave hope to others. Read more about how her life changed...

Topics: disaster relief earthquakes Haiti

Getting Ahead of the Storm: How MAP Plans for Disasters

One year ago today, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key, Florida as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. As it barreled across the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico, residents fled Irma's dangerous path before it once again made landfall on Marco Island. Homes were destroyed, and millions were left without power as the hurricane continued up the state and into Georgia.

MAP provided thousands of its signature Disaster Health Kits (DHK) to affected residents in both states. DHKs provide essential items to help prevent the spread of disease. Each kit is designed to help meet the needs of one person residing in a shelter for one week.

Senior Partnership Development Officer, Kipp Branch was on the ground one year ago assisting families affected by Irma.

In this interview, Kipp describes how MAP prepares in advance for disasters and then acts immediately to help people in need.

Topics: disaster relief hurricane hurricane irma disaster health kits

Before, During, and Now After Hurricane Florence

On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's devastating landfall in Puerto Rico, MAP International’s Disaster Response Team was once again helping people in need following a hurricane. The significance of the moment was not lost on the team as they delivered over 2,000 Disaster Health Kits (DHK) and other health supplies to people in need in Lumberton, NC.

Many of the lessons MAP learned from our work for Hurricane Maria have been applied to our response to Florence: 

Topics: disaster relief hurricane disaster health kits hurricane florence

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