It's more than a year since the World Health Organization was told of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City. A regional outbreak turned into a pandemic and the virus has swept the globe, causing death, destroying livelihoods, exacerbating crises and making it harder for people to get the medicine they need.
As health budgets are squeezed, we have scaled up our work to meet increasing need. We sent 18 Essential Health Packs to the Panzi Hospital in Democratic Republic of Congo, so it could continue to treat patients. “In regular times, it is difficult to get the medicines we need,” says Marissa Pledger, Panzi’s project manager. Border closures and a decrease in flights mean “all supplies in Eastern Congo – from medical supplies to regular food – are significantly diminished”.
In 2020 we shipped 5.8 million treatments, and in 2021 this figure is set to grow. By reducing costs for our in-country partners, we can also free up their resources to spend on other forms of support for those in need. Click below to find out more about our work during COVID-19.
Partner Spotlight: Inter Care
Inter Care provides medical aid for Africa, and works in Ghana, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zambia, and has been an IHP partner since 2017. Since then, we've sent 11 shipments to equip health facilities, infirmaries, a hospice, centres for orphaned and vulnerable children, a fistula centre, and prisons. In all, we’ve sent 224,000 treatments including antibiotics, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, topical creams and health supplies such as ear thermometers.
Back in October 2019, members of the IHP team visited Inter Care’s programme in Malawi, to see first-hand how donations were being used. All six of the facilities visited, were facing significant shortages of even basic medicines, which has a huge impact on the ability to provide effective care for patients. In many cases, the IHP medicines donated through Inter Care, were the only donated product on the shelves. This shows the importance of the partnership, and how it provides a lifeline to the most vulnerable members of the served communities.
In 2020, Inter Care “started the year strongly with high shipment levels to restore much needed supplies to our African partners,” says Alan Mellor, Inter Care’s chair of trustees. COVID-19 interrupted plans, but “one benefit of being a smaller-sized charity is that we are able to make management decisions quickly and take action to adapt processes.” For the first time in its history, Inter Care sent supplies within the UK, distributing PPE to care homes and surgeries. This year, Inter Care will continue to focus on sending regular consignments of vital medical aid to rural health units across sub-Saharan Africa; and IHP will continue to support this work through shipments of much-needed medical donations. Find out more about Inter Care.
Beirut: Six months on
It’s now six months since the enormous explosion in Beirut, on August 4, killed hundreds of people, and destroyed or damaged 200,000 homes. This explosion has deprived about 70,000 people of their jobs, with rising poverty driving a new wave of homelessness. A recent survey by the Norwegian Refugee Council found that of those affected by the August explosion, 42% of people with chronic medical conditions could not continue their treatment, mostly because they cannot now afford the costs of buying medicine.
With your help, since August 4, we have sent 10 shipments to Lebanon to equip health facilities and other hubs that offer medical relief and treatment. With our in-country partners Anera and International Medical Corps, we have supplied antibiotics, painkillers and medications for chronic conditions – in all, we’ve supplied over 500,000 treatments, helping approximately 175,000 people in need.
Saint George Hospital is one of Anera’s partners receiving medical aid through IHP. Aleyna is a 57-year-old Lebanese patient and one of the many who depend on the hospital’s pharmacy to get medication. "I am still in shock. It destroyed my city and left so many injured, especially in my neighbourhood," she says. She is anxious about how she will get by. "I am running low on money, and the situation is difficult. I purchase some of my medication from the pharmacy. Of course I’ve had to cut down on many of them, because prices have increased." Thankfully, the hospital ensures that at least she doesn’t have to worry about some of her most important medications. "I get my diabetes medicine from the Saint George Hospital pharmacy [free of charge]".
This year, we will continue to help as those in Lebanon as they struggle with the ongoing situation, working with our partners to get medicine to where it is needed most. But we still need your help. Please consider donating to our Lebanon response today. Click here to find out more.
In other news
- Last week we marked World NTD Day. Affecting over 1.7 billion globally, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are responsible for thousands of preventable deaths each year. IHP is committed to helping improve the control of these easily preventable and treatable diseases. Soil transmitted helminths are intestinal worms that stunt physical and mental development in children. They are a neglected tropical disease which, despite being easily preventable and treatable, the WHO report more than 880 million children globally are in need of treatment. Last year, IHP sent over 2.5 million treatments for soil transmitted helminths. With your help, we can continue to support the future of children in Ethiopia, Zambia and DRC by bringing NTDs like this under control. Watch this video to learn more about NTDs
- Today is World Cancer Day. As resources continue to be focused on treatment for COVID-19 and health budgets are squeezed as a result, many more people are likely to die or suffer as a result of reduced access to oncology medicines. Last year, IHP supported our in-country partner Anera, by supplying vials of the anti-cancer medication Bortezomib to Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex and central hospital in the Gaza Strip. Oncology treatments are desperately needed here. Sabbah, a cancer nurse at Shifa Hospital spoke of how vital this supply of medicine is to her and her patients:
Amazon Smile is now available through the Amazon app
Did you know your everyday purchases could help provide medicines to disaster-hit and vulnerable communities? You can now make International Health Partners your favourite charity on AmazonSmile. Free and easy to use, Amazon donate to your chosen charity every time you shop through them, all at no extra cost to you. Now, you can link your AmazonSmile account to the Amazon app so it's even easier to give health and hope while you shop!
Thank you for standing with us to help those in desperate need around the world. We rely on generous supporters like yourself to keep our operation going and enable access to medicines for vulnerable people. Thank you.