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

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

Behind the Scenes: Mellisia & Frankie's Story

We found no shelter from the heat underneath the seven-foot boxwood. Though the trees dotted the rural landscape in Haiti, if you rated an SPF factor for them, I doubt it would fare any better than a thin coat of vegetable oil in blocking the sun.  Worse, when the air moved, it felt like a convection oven fan blowing hot air over the warm air. 

I was in Haiti as part of a production crew to capture the story of how MAP International's medicines made a difference in the lives of people who had none.  Three days into a busy video production project, the day moved oh-so-slowly. That was the only pace the heat would allow.

Topics: Haiti life-changing medicines matching gift

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