Health and Hope for Famine Victims in East Africa

In 2011, East Africa was hit with one of the worst droughts in 60 years, which escalated into famine affecting more than 11 million people. The UN described it as the worst humanitarian crisis facing the world, and announced that if no urgent action was taken, thousands of lives would be lost.

When moments mark the difference between life and death, safety or peril, Medical Teams International knows what to do. In collaboration with field staff, partners and volunteers, we respond to natural and man-made disasters within 48 hours. When disasters strike, we are there.

In 2011, the Horn of Africa was hit with one of the worst droughts in 60 years, which escalated into famine and starvation affecting more than 11 million people. The UN described the situation as the worst humanitarian crisis facing the world, and announced that if no urgent interventions were taken, thousands, if not millions, of lives would be lost. Yet political tension and military conflict, which had kept most NGOs from working in Somalia for over two decades, remained a barrier to disaster relief interventions.

By utilizing key local partnerships, Medical Teams International rapidly implemented a program to deliver emergency medical relief to both sides of the Kenya/Somalia border. We were able to send teams of volunteer medical professionals to rural villages in Somalia where sick refugees were congregating, and where there were no health care providers to meet the demand. On the Kenyan side of the border, our teams brought medical supplies and treatment to refugees who had been walking for days in search of food and water. In conjunction with food distribution organized by a partner agency, we provided emergency medical care to the most vulnerable women, children, elderly and severe cases.

In the first nine months of our response, our volunteers treated 5,914 adults, 2,605 children, and trained 35 local health workers for a total of 8,554 individuals directly served. By providing training and support to a local Somali NGO and Kenyan Community Health Workers, the number of individuals impacted is even higher. These local partners have continuously supported villages and treated patients even when security would not allow our own volunteers to go to certain areas. An estimated 40,000 people in Kenya and Somalia were directly or indirectly impacted by this project.

By using volunteers in our work, Medical Teams International is able to leverage every dollar of funding for maximum impact. And the lives of our volunteers – who take time away from their normal jobs to serve in these crises across the globe – are transformed forever. They bring home pictures and stories containing messages of tremendous need, but also of hope. On his last day in East Africa, volunteer Dr. Paul Neumann reflected in his journal:

“My mind wanders to the humanity I’ve been treating in Africa: bright eyes, swollen livers, honest smiles, coarse wet lungs, snake bite punctures, untreatable fractures, bones worn from unendurable work, amazing infectious laughter and humor in spite of the heat, the dust and the suffering. Seeing both suffering and happiness married here makes me believe they are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps, like a good marriage, they give meaning to the other.”

More About This Charity

Region

West

Category

Disaster Relief and International Aid

Name

Medical Teams International

Mission

To demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty.

Impact

  • This Achievement alone raised $921,237
  • This charity has raised $146,091,422 in the past year
  • This Achievement alone helped 40,000 people
  • This charity has helped 2.1 million people since January 1, 2011
  • Saved/improved the lives of 40,000 people, Mobilized volunteers who served more than 4,992 hours and gave $202,910 worth of medical care

Works In

Kenya, Somalia

Learn More

www.medicalteams.org

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