Category Archives: Cambodia

An AmeriCares Sample Pack

After a week of my internship at AmeriCares, I found myself swimming in a pile of papers, project proposals, and pamphlets. I had abandoned taking notes almost entirely—there was too much cool stuff to write down anyway. With 3,000 local partners worldwide in 90 countries, the global reach of Americares is both interesting and complex.

So, for you, I have compiled the “AmeriCares 7-Dose Sample Pack” — small doses from the AmeriCares portfolio that provide a wider insight into the complexity of the work we do.

Dose 1: Constantly Truckin’ Along

AmeriCares sends an average of 10 aid shipments each day by air, sea and road – and each year our warehouse in Stamford, CT turns over 9 times. This means the warehouse, which is 51,800 square feet, is filled with completely new medications and supplies 9 times a year. To give some perspective, this warehouse is larger than an NFL football field, which is only 43,560 square feet!

Dose 2: Affordable Health Care on the Homefront

AmeriCares operates 3 free clinics across the state of Connecticut, and will soon open a fourth – bringing quality, compassionate health care services to the uninsured and underinsured in AmeriCares home state. The clinics have permanent locations in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Danbury; the new clinic will be located in Stamford, CT. Simple impact math: each DOLLAR given to the clinics provides FOUR DOLLARS worth of medical care.

Dose 3: A Primary Care Hub in India

At 12 locations over 15-day cycles, families living in the congested slums of Mumbai receive a unique opportunity—an opportunity to receive quality health care and free medication from mobile medical clinics run by the AmeriCares India team. In the most recent year of operation, the clinics provided care to 36,000 patients. But, this is only a small fraction of our work in country. Across India AmeriCares serves an estimated 10 million people in 21 Indian states with the help of 55 partner organizations. From the mobile clinics in Mumbai to disaster relief in Uttarakhand, Americares is there ready to support health care in India.

Dose 4: Combating Cancer in Cambodia

Through a partnership with AstraZeneca, AmeriCares is working in Cambodia to combat breast cancer — the leading cancer killer of women worldwide. At the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE in Phnom Penh, breast cancer treatment is coupled with caregiver training and patient education programs. The comprehensive initiative aims to raise awareness, improve early detection, and increase survival rates. In Cambodia, where an alarming number of women die each year as a result of breast cancer, often due to lack of awareness and high cost of treatment – this program makes a lifesaving difference.

Dose 5: Famines, Floods, and Cholera

Disaster—the word is both ambiguous and broad. But, when famine was declared in the Horn of Africa, AmeriCares was there with enough crucial medicines, supplies, and water purification to reach 180,000 people. When catastrophic flooding struck Pakistan, displacing more than 2 million people, we delivered more than $6 million in emergency aid. As cholera outbreaks occur across the globe, we combat the disease, which spreads rapidly in crowded camps after disaster strikes, by delivering treatments and supporting prevention training in Haiti, the Horn of Africa, Sierra Leone and worldwide.

Dose 6: Healthy Steps with TOMS Shoes

Health goes beyond taking the right medications and making the right appointments. For the children coming to the AmeriCares family clinic in El Salvador, good health continues with a new pair of TOMS Shoes. Since 2010, AmeriCares has worked with TOMS to deliver new shoes to impoverished children in several countries around the world — including Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Armenia, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Through its socially conscious One for One® model, the new TOMS Shoes these children receive will be replaced as they grow, to protect them from cuts, infections and soil-transmitted ailments like hookworms. Today, the children can tread softly and more safely toward better health.

Dose 7: When the Pain Doesn’t Wash Away, AmeriCares is There

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast —but just because the storm has passed does not mean that the devastation is over in the hearts and minds of survivors.

“Mental health services are often one of the most significant unmet needs after a disaster of this magnitude,” explained Garrett Ingoglia, AmeriCares vice president of Emergency Response. We’ve supported several programs that address this need – including counseling programs run by the YMCA in two-hard hit areas to help children cope with anxiety and trauma. Similar programs continue in Japan, to promote the mental well-being of survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. These programs are a crucial part of the recovery after the initial emergency response.

#FirstWorldProblems vs. #RealWorldProblems

#FirstWorldProblems: This popular Twitter hashtag highlights the most pressing problems faced by society today. Or does it?

The hashtag appears in up to 6 tweets per second and approximately 518,000 out of the estimated 400 million tweets per day. The nationality with the greatest number of people using this hashtag: American.

For most people, #FirstWorldProblems expresses the ironically “devastating” problems that users in the developed world face on a daily basis. Others don’t realize the irony of their words. For example:

“#FirstWorldProblems: I get over allergy season only to get a sinus infection.”

“#FirstWorldProblems: Oops forgot the hashtag for my possibly fractured toe!”

But to those who claim to be fully aware that what they’re saying is not a pressing issue and merely humor, the real question is: why waste time tweeting about a non-important issue when there are so many real problems in the world?

Health

#RealWorldProblems: More than 1/3 of the poorest people in El Salvador lack access to both public and private medical care.

Here at AmeriCares, I learned that medicine prices in El Salvador are some of the highest in the region. Worse yet, the leading health problems and causes of death in the country are conditions like heart disease, respiratory infections, cancers, HIV/AIDS and digestive disease – conditions that require medications that are too expensive for most people. The AmeriCares Family Clinic is committed to providing quality primary health care to El Salvadorians who cannot afford it. The clinic, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, provides quality primary care to more than 3,000 patients each month.

Disaster

#RealWorldProblems arise even here in the United States. In May 2013, tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma, killing 48 people and leaving thousands homeless and at risk for diseases like tetanus. AmeriCares was there the very next day, assessing what medicines and supplies were needed and connecting with partner organizations in the area. In the first month after the disaster, AmeriCares delivered $3.5 million in aid — enough to reach 20,000 people in need.

 Hunger

“#FirstWorldProblems: My food gets cold so fast when the AC is on.”

“#FirstWorldProblems: We always get fat free and skim milk at our house, that 2% tastes funny.”

#RealWorldProblems: In Cambodia, 44% of children under the age 5 suffer from stunted growth due to poor nutrition.

 

In nearly half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year, poor nutrition is a factor. In Cambodia, child malnutrition rates are among the world’s highest. Malnourished children have a reduced ability to resist infection, making them less likely to survive common diseases including pneumonia, malaria, measles and diarrhea.

AmeriCares works with partners around the world to supply fortified, high-calorie meal packs to support programs that help thousands of patients achieve major reversals in malnutrition. In Cambodia, the body mass index (BMI) of 9 out of 10 children in the program improved enough to no longer be classified as underweight.

Poverty

“#FirstWorldProblems: Trying to find a $5 bill but can only find $10s $20s $50s and $100s.”

“#FirstWorldProblems: Lol I randomly find $20 bills in my room but I just put them back bc I have nothing to do with them.”

#RealWorldProblems: Over 75% of Ethiopians live on less than $2 a day.

How can families in developing countries like Ethiopia stay healthy and well-nourished on such a meager income?  In my work here at AmeriCares, I’ve learned a lot about the #RealWorldProblems brought on by poverty, hunger, disaster and inadequate access to basic medical care. From Asia to Africa to South America, there are real problems everywhere, problems that AmeriCares is working to address to help people in El Salvador, Cambodia, Ethiopia, the U.S., and in all corners of the world.

Helping HIV and AIDS Patients in Cambodia

AmeriCares relief worker Kat Rady was recently in the slums outside Phnom Penh where AmeriCares supports Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE’s home-based care program for HIV and AIDS patients as well as a mobile clinic that treats many AIDS patients.

AmeriCares is the largest supplier of donated medicines for the charity hospital delivering over $124 million in medicines and supplies for Cambodia’s poor since 1997.


Every day before sunrise, elderly men and women in wheelchairs and patients wearing surgical masks line up outside the hospital waiting for it to open. About 80 percent of the patients come from the outlying provinces and many travel great distances at great expense to be treated here. They come with every ailment and health condition imaginable. Some HIV and AIDS patients too sick to make the journey are treated in their homes through the hospital’s home-based care program.

 

Help AmeriCares provide medicines and humanitarian relief to people in desperate need around the world »

On the day I visited, we made our way through a poor squatter community outside of Phnom Penh where stagnant rain puddles are a breeding ground for disease and there’s so much trash that you cannot escape the smell of garbage and sewage. AmeriCares sends antibiotics and topical solutions to fight infections common here because of the poor sanitation. HIV and AIDS patients with compromised immune systems are among the most vulnerable.

The mobile clinic offers primary care, while the home-based care program visits patients to provide medicines, hygiene items, referrals and education. More than 2,200 HIV and AIDS patients get their antiretroviral drugs through Sihanouk – some from mobile teams like the one I was accompanying. The doctors and nurses are out visiting patients five days a week, traveling in a vehicle purchased with a grant from AmeriCares.

For many of the HIV and AIDS patients we visited, the mobile clinic is the only way they can get medicines. For them, a simple infection we cure with antibiotics that are given out for free in supermarkets in the United States can be deadly.

In some cases, the teams treat many members of the same family infected with HIV. During one of our stops, we delivered medication as well as food to a woman with two small children who had been too sick to work and provide for her family. Without the mobile clinic, the family could not afford medical treatment. Many Khmer families are in the same unfortunate position. Over one-third of the country’s population earns less than $1 a day.

Although my visit was brief, it was uplifting to meet face-to-face with the patients AmeriCares is helping in Cambodia. I am proud to be part of the team that brings the gift of health and hope to so many.