As some of you may know, GivingTuesday is a recent phenomenon that occurs the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday is a campaign that was founded in 2012 and is supported by the United Nations. Its goal is to bring together charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit this upcoming Tuesday, December 2nd.
The goal of Giving Tuesday is to bring people together to give back to those less fortunate. We have a day of thanks (Thanksgiving), 2 days of deals (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) and now we have a day to give back. Giving back can mean many things, whether by giving your time to volunteer, giving your support by spreading the word, or by giving monetarily, either big or small, Click here to find out more about Giving Tuesday. We hope you’ll join us in taking a moment (or many moments) on Tuesday, December 2nd to give thanks and give back.
Its been awhile since we shared an update on the Nutrition Center so we wanted to let you know how things are going. In August the center treated a total of 7 patients and rehabilitated 4! During the month of September, the nutrition center admitted 4 new patients and again rehabilitated 4 children from malnutrition! We’re excited to see the nutrition center continue to help children recover from malnutrition and to report on two tools that will greatly help the nutrition center accurately treat these children. Due to the generous donation of Rob and Lilly Nix, the nutrition center is now in possession of a laptop and digital camera! The laptop will ensure that patient records are accurate and easily accessible and the camera is critical to help properly document the children’s recovery. We are so grateful to our generous donors for their support! Ms. Gaa, the Nutrition Officer who is in charge of the daily operations of the center, told us that she is very appreciative of the donation and has been using the laptop and camera extensively already!
Ms. Gaa using the laptop computer recently donated to the Lawra Nutrition Center
iGive is donating an extra $5 to ever new member who joins to support MedPLUS Connect and tries the iGive Button through 1/15/15! iGive is a search engine that that allows you to earn money for your chosen cause simply by searching and shopping on the internet. And its completely free to sign up! iGive helps make shopping a form of giving and makes every purchase count. Use this link to sign up and try it out: http://www.iGive.com/medplusconnect
And for all of our supporters on iGive, you can help spread the word about iGive and help MedPLUS Connect even more! iGive is doing a contest where the member who invites the most people who join iGive and try the iGive Button will win $1,000 for his or her cause! Second and third place winners mean $500 for their causes! This is a pretty quick and easy way to help MedPLUS earn more funds towards lifesaving shipments! Just go to the page below and use the personalized Tell A Friend link to invite friends to join iGive. If a supporter isn’t already a member of iGive, they can join (and earn MedPLUS Connect $5 when they try the iGive Button):
Thanks as always for your continued support!
West Africa is currently undergoing the worst outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first seen in 1976. Ebola is a virus that causes an acute, serious illness and is often fatal if untreated. It can be spread through human contact with an infected animal and can then be spread through human to human transmission based on contact with infected bodily fluids. The first case of this outbreak was in Guinea and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal. As of September 10th, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia continue to report new cases of the virus. Nigeria and Senegal have not reported any new confirmed case since September 5th and August 29th respectively. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is also suffering an outbreak of Ebola, although one of a different strain.
The first cases of Ebola related to the current outbreak were reported as early as March and as of September 12th, there have been 4,784 reported cases. However, there are many unreported cases and so the actual number of people infected with Ebola is thought to be significantly higher. This virus is severe with no known proven treatment and no vaccine. This severity is highlighted by the number of deaths due to Ebola, totaling 2,400 since September 12th.
The situation occurring in West Africa is heartbreaking, with an approximate case fatality rate of 52%. US scientists currently predict the outbreak will last 12-18 months with the WHO estimating 20,000 cases of Ebola before the virus is contained (however long-term predictions like this are extremely variable and subject to change). Some of the main barriers to containing the outbreak include limited beds and difficulty in establishing treatment centers. In addition, many health workers have become infected themselves due to a lack of infection prevention protocol in place. There is also significant stigma surrounding the virus and community resistance poses a threat to containment.
There are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ghana and the country remains hopeful it will stay free of the outbreak. We recently spoke with the Regional Medical Director of the Northern Region, Dr. Twumasi, who reported he had just come from weeks of meetings in Accra discussing the Ebola outbreak and prevention methods. We continue to hope for the best for all of those affected by this outbreak and that it will be resolved sooner than predicted.
Read more here:
Honorable Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Ghana’s minister of health, and Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health, jointly announced that the Ministry of Health and Sanford have joined together in a public-private partnership to increase access to healthcare throughout Ghana. This partnership will allow Sanford International Clinics to open over 300 clinics throughout Ghana by the year 2020, during which they expect to serve 4.5 million patients each year.
This partnership is intended to improve maternal health throughout Ghana and help reduce the infant mortality rate. The clinics will be opened in “peri-urban” and rural areas, allowing more people to access primary care services. Kojo Taylor, president of Sanford International Clinic-Ghana, is looking forward to the impact these clinics will create.
‘”Much of the rural population in Ghana does not have access to basic care,” said Taylor. “The addition of these clinics will greatly change the scope of health care across the nation. Thousands of families will no longer be forced to travel for basic services.”‘
Sanford Health is headquartered in the US and the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation. Additionally, Sanford is creating international clinics in Ghana, Israel, Mexico and China. Sanford International Clinics first opened a clinic in Cape Coast in January of 2012. They have since opened four additional clinics and treated more than 180,000 patients in Ghana. This large partnership with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health holds much potential for improving health care throughout Ghana and we look forward to seeing their progress over the next several years!
The Lawra Nutrition Center had 7 new patients during the month of July in addition to 3 children who were still receiving treatment from June. We are very excited to report that the nutrition center helped 6 of these children recover enough to be discharged! The 4 remaining children continue to be treated and we hope that they will also recover and be discharged by the end of this month. We are excited to watch the nutrition center continue to help combat the high rates of malnutrition in children in the Lawra District in the upcoming months.
A child being treated at the nutrition center
This year marks the fifth year since we’ve been incorporated. In the past 5 years we have shipped 273,605 pounds of medical supplies worth over 2 million dollars, beginning with our first shipment of medical supplies to the Lawra District Hospital in 2008. After winning first prize and the people’s choice award in the Carolina Challenge in 2009, we were able to fully incorporate and send our first full 40ft container. In total we have now sent 16 shipments of recovered medical supplies to Ghana!
Of our 16 total shipments, 10 were hospital specific containers. In 2011 we expanded to sending regional shipments, where the supplies in each container are distributed among a range of hospitals and health centers throughout the recipient region. In total, these regional containers have reached 17 hospitals and 60 health centers throughout the Upper East and Northern Regions, most of which are located in highly rural areas.
In total, these shipments have contained 252 hospital & examination beds, 1,699,894 exam & surgical gloves, and 215 pieces of medical equipment. We have been able to send high-end pieces of equipment such as anesthesia machines, ultrasounds, and autoclaves in addition to hundreds of crutches, wheelchairs, and IV poles as well as over a million consumable supplies such as syringes, needles, bandages and gloves. One of the most touching stories we’ve heard is from Dr. Abraham at the Karaga Polyclinic, a health center in the Northern Region that had recently upgraded to a hospital. As part of a regional shipment, the Karaga Polyclinic received an oxygen concentrator. Before this shipment, Dr. Abraham had never seen an oxygen concentrator in person. In writing to us after receiving the machine, he told us that it had arrived just in time to save a patient’s life who was suffering from a severe chest infection.
In the 5 years since our incorporation we have also undertaken several valuable projects in addition to sending shipments of vital medical supplies. We saw the Lawra Nutrition Rehabilitation Center evolve from its inception in 2009 to the completion of construction in 2013. In 2010 we also partnered with a Ghanaian-based NGO called EVCO Africa to establish a computer library at Weichau Health Center. Our latest undertaking is establishing the first cervical cancer screening and treatment program in the Upper West Region of Ghana. We are excited to look back on what we have accomplished so far and also to look forward to the future as we continue bringing healthcare to underserved areas of Ghana in the next 5 years.
A girl in Lawra, Ghana watches as supplies from a shipment are unloaded and taken to the Lawra District Hospital
We just wanted to remind everyone of two easy ways to support MedPLUS Connect while you shop online!AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same selection of products and low prices as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you use AmazonSmile, the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the total of each qualifying purchase to MedPLUS. If you are someone who shops mostly through Amazon, you can give your purchases a philanthropic benefit by choosing MedPLUS Connect as your beneficiary on Amazon Smile and help us earn 0.5% of every purchase you make! You can follow this link to help MedPLUS Connect earn money while you shop through Amazon: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/87-0790691. All you have to do is keep MedPLUS Connect selected as your charity of choice.
Many of you also know (and have signed up with) the internet search engine called iGive. It’s free to join and earns money for MedPLUS Connect every time you search or shop on the internet at stores such as BestBuy, Staples, and many more. Each time you make a purchase a portion is automatically donated to MedPLUS Connect, at no extra cost to you! Follow this link to check it out: http://www.igive.com/medplusconnect It may seem small, but the proceeds from each purchase adds up over time and can potentially help MedPLUS earn up to a couple hundred dollars- an amount that can help us purchase therapeutic food for the nutrition center or extra value added supplies for future containers. Thank you for all you do to help support MedPLUS Connect!
We have another exciting update on the nutrition center to share. The center treated 9 new patients and rehabilitated 7 children during the month of June! The nutrition center continues to make a great impact throughout the Lawra District and help reduce malnutrition. We’re also happy to report that a new shipment of CMV from Nutriset is on its way to the nutrition center and should arrive next week. CMV is a special vitamin and mineral mix and the critical ingredient in preparing the rehabilitative food for the children treated at the nutrition center. It provides the correct balance of the vitamins and minerals needed to help children suffering from malnutrition recover. We’re so glad that a new supply of CMV will soon be at the Lawra Nutrition Center to treat any new and continuing patients during the coming months.
Trainees at the recent malnutrition training at the Lawra District Hospital learning how to prepare therapeutic food
Ingredients for preparing therapeutic food at the Lawra Nutrition Center
We are excited to announce that our next Matching Day with Global Giving is this week, on Wednesday July 16th! Matching starts at 9am and all donations, until matching funds run out, will be matched at 30%. That means if you donate $100, Global Giving will give MedPLUS Connect $130! We are continuing to fundraise for the cost of the supplies and equipment to establish the first cervical cancer and screening program in the Upper West Region of Ghana. As you know, the women in the Upper West Region currently have no access to cervical care and must travel up to 700km to receive treatment. Our cervical cancer program is partnering with an OBGYN in Ghana to integrate early screening into the existing healthcare structure and to establish a treatment center for cervical cancer at the Wa Regional Hospital, centrally located in the capital of the Upper West Region.
Unfortunately, Dr. Fofie, the dedicated physician whom we were partnering with to help establish the cervical cancer program, suffered a car accident a few months ago that left his eyesight hindered. He is still undergoing surgeries but continues to steadily recover and remains very excited about the program. However, while Dr. Fofie recovers, the Wa Regional Hospital has been searching for a new OBGYN. We are so glad that the hospital recently hired a new physician and he is expected to begin work very soon! We hope that once he is officially in Wa, we can purchase and deliver the first set of supplies for the cervical cancer program soon after.
So far we have made significant progress towards raising the funds necessary to purchase the supplies and equipment to establish the first cervical cancer screening and treatment program in the Upper West Region. However, there is still more to be done. We just need two more donations to improve our ranking on Global Giving’s website which will increase the visibility of our project on their website and help us gain new donors! So even a small donation will be a huge help this matching day! Please consider sharing our project with your friends, family, and colleagues. Just $28 provides cryotherapy treatment of precancerous lesions for one woman, $50 purchases a tenaculum to screen and treat women for cervical cancer, or $100 provides screening to detect cervical cancer for 16 women.
Follow this link directly to our project page to find out more and make a donation on Wednesday or share it with your network: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/prevent-cancer-for-women-in-ghana/