Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Another Haiti is Possible"

Today the Project HOPE and The Humanitarian Network team began putting together the dorm building that will house volunteers who come to Haiti to help with HOPE’s physical rehabilitation program. The building is going up next to a small tent “town.”

I had the opportunity to speak to Joseph Charles, 21, a Haitian who has been working on the building site as an interpreter and site manager. I asked Joseph what it has meant to him to work on this project.

“I can't wait to get up in the morning to get to the site,” he told me. “Sometimes I wake up at midnight and look at the clock wishing it was time to start working.”

Working on the building team is helping him see a path to Haiti’s recovery. “I realize that you [Mike, Ron, Bonnie] really, really care about what you are doing. Most NGOs just come and spend money, but not work on projects,” he says. “Maybe you are all sons of God. You are all blessed and you do things differently. I keep thinking about [how you make] every detail very important. It is very rare to find people like this and I will do my best to be part of the team.”

You see, Joseph wants to make a difference in his native land. “I want to help as much as possible to make a new Haiti,” he says. With a lot of hard work, and a little help from others, Joseph is confident, “another Haiti is possible.”

Story and photos by Bonnie Hudlet, HOPE photographer.

Groundbreaking for Pediatric Oncology Tower

Rain could not dampen the spirits of the hundreds who gathered today at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center to witness the ground breaking for a new 148-bed Oncology Tower.

The lifesaving care and resources the new tower will bring are greatly needed. Last year, the doctors and nurses at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center admitted and cared for more than 2,400 children with cancer. In addition, another 21,285 children with cancer were treated through the hospital on an outpatient basis.

The new seven-story Oncology Tower more than doubles the number of beds the Medical Center currently dedicates to cancer patients. Also, the new tower, which will be completed by 2012, will house research facilities to investigate new treatments and processes for improving care to children.

And thanks to a $1 million grant from Project HOPE partner Hospira, health professional training and the development of a palliative care program will begin immediately. A relatively new concept in China, palliative care will bring much needed physical and emotional support to children and their families addressing the tough challenges associated with cancer and its treatments.

Stuart Myers, Senior Vice President for Global Health at Project HOPE, said it best, “Despite the rain today, this is a bright day for the children of China.”

Story and photos by Rand Walton, HOPE's Director of Strategic Communications, now in China for the groundbreaking of the new Oncology Tower at Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Life, Death, Education and Thanksgiving in Haiti

Team Saves More Lives, Witnesses Death and Provides Lifesaving Education

The ICDDR,B and Project HOPE team spent a long evening and into the night helping the local Haitian staff here in Milot care for the most critically ill cholera patients. Late in the evening the team was called to the cholera unit to help start an IV on a young child and they were successful. While there on the unit they did rounds on some of other critically ill patients only to realize an older gentleman had died due to cholera complications just prior to their arrival. Another patient while being rapidly rehydrated was diagnosed as having complications due to hypoglycemia. The team flew into action. Another American nurse volunteering here at Hôpital Sacre Coeur was able to find a glucometer to test the blood and indeed the patient was severely hypoglycemic. One of the nurses from the ICDDR.B team, Catherine Costa BSN, MPH, had thought to bring dextrose solution with her on the long journey from Bangladesh – a precious resource here in Haiti. She was able to infuse this life saving treatment and the patient is now doing well. One of the other patients the team intervened with was not so lucky and died early the following morning.

After this long evening of hands on care the team split into three groups. One group went a short distance to Cap Haitien to meet with the medical director there. Another group went to Hôpital Sacre Coeur to help with ten recent cholera admissions to the hospital. And yet another went to a nearby church to do a training session with several local schools.

The new admissions at the hospital included ten developmentally disabled children and one disabled adult from the Missionaries of the Poor orphanage and home in Cap Haitien. The Missionaries of the Poor is a Catholic organization that runs homes throughout the world for the poor and for orphaned disabled children, adults and the elderly. Brother Henry, one of the brothers from the Missionaries of the Poor who had accompanied the sick children from the orphanage was able to have a portion of the ICDDR,B team visit the orphanage to try to diagnose the source of the cholera outbreak. One of the critically ill children from the home who had been suffering from cholera related diarrhea for just three hours came into the cholera ward at the brink of death. IV lines were started and the life saving IV solution was pushed by force into the young girl’s IV line. She became pulse-less and was not breathing. Chest compressions were started but to no avail she was too far along in the cholera cycle and died there in the unit. An all too common outcome for the poorest of Haitians who lack quick access to much needed care.

The team responsible for the training of local school children had an audience of 170 students ranging in age from 4th grade to 11th grade. They were all looking sharp in their colorful Haitian school uniforms, a hallmark of Haitian school children. They were engaging and interested in the discussion. Of all of the audiences thus far the students, particularly the high school students, asked some insightful and touch questions. Reaching this audience is all too important as these children return home from school to share the messages about the prevention and treatment of cholera to their friends, families and communities. Spreading the word is an important piece of the overall cholera education plan the ICDDR,B came here to implement.

Photos and story submitted by HOPE volunteer, Carrie Alexander, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Johns Hopkins MPH student.

Rehab Building Continues to Progress as Volunteers Experience Thanksgiving in Haiti

The team got in later than usual today, and we didn't have much of a meal ready, so Ron White, Managing Director, The Humanitarian Network, broke out the freeze-dried backpacking stuff and it was a feast!

Everyone should spend at least one Thanksgiving helping others... Instead of Thanksgiving football, I got to play soccer in the parking lot with a few kids. No ball, but a water bottle instead. Sigh.

Buildings are coming along slower than we would like to see. Haitians do like to discuss every point, so it takes longer. When something isn't working quite right, they all have to throw in their ideas. It is kind of fun to watch. Enjoy these photos in and around the rehab building site on Thanksgiving Day.

Story and photos by Bonnie Hudlet, HOPE photographer.

Oncology Tower Groundbreaking in China

It is about the children.

Today, there are more than 300 million children in China. Sadly, experts estimate that more than 45,000 children in China are diagnosed with cancer each year. At this rate, there are simply not enough resources on hand in China to meet the physical and emotional needs of children, and their families, suffering with cancer.

Fortunately, Project HOPE and long-time partner, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, as well as Hospira, a global specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company, have the children’s best interests at heart.

Tomorrow, the three partners, the Shanghai City Government and other Chinese health institutions will break ground on a new Oncology Tower at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. The new tower will deliver many of the technologies, services and health professionals required to address this serious situation.

Just as Project HOPE assembled the right mix of dedicated volunteer doctors, nurses and corporate partners to establish and develop the world’s leading hospital in pediatric cardiac surgery (surgeons at SCMC performed more than 3,000 open-heart surgeries on children last year), HOPE and partners plan and expect to do the same to address childhood cancer in China.
The Shanghai Children’s Medical Center is already a leader in China in the care of children with cancer. More than 15,000 children went to the Medical Center for cancer treatment last year.

The new Oncology Tower will expand the Medical Center’s capabilities to meet the growing demand for care.

It is always about the children. I am proud of Project HOPE’s commitment to children around the world.
And while you cannot be with me tomorrow for the ground breaking in Shanghai, I will share with you the events of the day and give you an insider’s look into the much-needed Oncology Tower.

Story by Rand Walton, HOPE's Director of Strategic Communications, now in China for the groundbreaking of the new Oncology Tower at Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Volunteers Continue Cholera Education As New Clinic Building Nears Completion

Cholera: A Disease of Contrasts

When the combined ICDDR,B and Project HOPE team received word late Saturday evening that the airport in Cap Haitien, one of Haiti’s Northern coastal towns hardest hit by cholera, had reopened after it had been closed due to riots, they drove through the night back to Port Au Prince to catch the first morning flight to Cap Haitian. At 6:00 am Sunday morning, the team departed for Cap Haitien.

Upon arrival they moved due south to Hôpital Sacre Coeur (HSC) in Milot where many cholera patients have sought treatment. Here, in addition to training and assessment, one of the ICDDR,B’s two microbiologists, Dr. Zahid Hayat Mahmud, will collect samples from patients to test for culture and sensitivity to see which antibiotic the cholera bacteria in this region is sensitive to. The cholera bacteria can have different sensitivities to different antibiotics regionally in the same outbreak, necessitating the need to take several samples in all regions where outbreaks of cholera have occurred. These samples will be sent back to the National Lab in Port Au Prince where ICDDR,B team member and microbiologist Dr. Sirajul Islam is standing by to test the samples. Dr. Mahmud and other team members have reported that in their home country of Bangladesh they see more than 30,000 cholera patients a month and can treat as many as 1,000 per day. They have two cholera epidemics per year, pre monsoon and post monsoon, giving them the hands-on practical experience and knowledge base it requires to help Haiti learn about cholera.

HSC in Milot has seen more than 220 cholera patients and 12 cholera related deaths. On the first day of training a comprehensive plan was put in place to reach staff at all levels of the hospital from cleaning staff and security personnel to sanitation workers and clinical staff. Three classes took place at the hospital training over 150 personnel and an additional class took place at a church to more than 130 members of a local Haitian youth group and congregants.

HSC and their treatment of cholera patients is in stark contrast to the hospital the team had visited two days prior in Les Cayes. In Les Cayes fear of contracting cholera kept some local staff from touching or even come near cholera patients. In addition, lack of staffing and resources left their system poorly organized to be able to appropriately manage the numbers of cholera patients they were being asked to treat.

Although HSC is also burdened by supply issues they are much better staffed and have the resources to organize a system wide plan. The fear of cholera here has taken on a different form. Staff is digging in, treating and touching their patients, but they have adopted habits that will use valuable fiscal resources such as donning masks, full gowns, rubber boots and surgical hats. These habits are some of the things that the team hopes they can change with the education and training they have to offer. Cholera is a disease that can only be contracted through contaminated water or food. Trying to dispel the myths about contracting cholera from all sorts of other means is proving harder than the team had thought. This being Haiti’s first ever cholera outbreak, it is no wonder there is so much fear and misunderstanding and for this reason the team is hoping a little education goes a long way.

Photos and story submitted by HOPE volunteer, Carrie Alexander, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Johns Hopkins MPH student.

Buildings Go Up and HOPE Grows

Today the HOPE team continued to develop. The roof on the clinic building is almost finished and we will put the metal on it tomorrow. We will also have another team start on building 2, the ward.

Many people visit the site each day and watch and ask questions. Most know someone who need the services and treatment that Project HOPE and its partners will provide here.

The local Haitian team members are most interesting. All just want an opportunity to help rebuild Haiti and to help someone, so we are looking for ways to assist them.

We are helping our two interpreters set up a new business to work with NGOs and companies that need their language skills and they already have their first client...a company building 2400 homes.

Both the interpreters were volunteers at the Adventist Hospital in Diquini for several months after the earthquake. They helped volunteer doctors and nurses communicate and calm those needing surgery. They spent many hours in the operating room and remember many of those that are coming back to the hospital to receive treatment.

We also have found possible opportunities for the local people helping on the team to continue working once our three buildings are complete building houses. We will also use the workers we have trained on future clinics.

Then there is Samuel, a mechanical engineer by degree and a maintenance person at the hospital. He has become a great asset. He helps with the construction coordination and he lets us use some of his tools, such as much need drill bits.

We are looking for ways for him to use his degree and work in some of the many communities being rebuilt.

These are great people who care...and who want to really make a difference in the lives of their fellow countrymen. It is a wonderful to be associated and part of the HOPE team.

Story by Ron White, Managing Director, The Humanitarian Network. Photos by Bonnie Hudlet, HOPE photographer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cholera Team Saves Lives, Rehab Facility Progresses and Critically Needed Medicines Delivered

Cholera Team Saves Lives

The ICDDR,B team in Les Cayes spent morning at the Immaculate Conception of Les Cayes Hospital. The team trained 37 nurses and two physicians, a standing room only event.

The team later toured the hospital's cholera ward and resuscitated two patients in stage three of severe dehydration (no pulse, shallow respiration, and sunken eyes … no response to external stimuli.) They were within an hour of death. With consent of local staff, our team inserted an IV into the patient's collapsed veins and started a 3-liter bottle of Ringers lactate. Within minutes the patient revived and became responsive. In four hours, the patient was smiling and talking. Later a nonresponsive 3 year old was brought to the ward. Two IV attempts were unsuccessful because of severe dehydration; the third attempt was successful and within one hour, the patient was sitting up drinking Oral Rehydration Salts and laughing.

We spent the remaining portion of day caring for patients and engaging in bedside hands-on training with local nurses. There's a lot to teach and the Haitians are eager to learn.

The team is deploying to Cap Haitien on Sunday November 21 to continue training.

Story and photos by Fred Gerber, Project HOPE's Special Projects Director.

Rehab Facility Progresses

Shortly after the January earthquake, Project HOPE sent a team of experts from Mass General Hospital to evaluate how to best contribute to rebuilding health capacity in Haiti. They advised us to focus on rehabilitation needs for survivors near the quake’s epicenter. Since then, HOPE has been working to build a comprehensive Rehabilitation Center at the Adventist Hospital (HAH), together with partners Christian Blind Mission and Prosthetika.

Rehab activities have been going on for months without a dedicated space to offer services. HOPE now has a team of U.S. volunteers assembling three modular buildings at HAH – including a 24 x 40 ft Rehab Center, housing for international medical volunteers and housing for patients being fitted for prosthetic limbs.

In coordination with our partner, Humanitarian Network (HN) , the construction team is hiring local Haitians, teaching them how to assemble the structures. All local trainees will receive training certificates, providing short term income and, hopefully, longer term employment opportunities as rebuilding efforts grow.

From the first day containers of building materials arrived at the Hospital, area residents have come forth to help. A local French teacher is now serving as translator for the crew, as well as site administrator. Another man, at the hospital with his wife – an amputee receiving therapy – joined the construction crew. As HN leader Ron White reports, “we showed up and so did they – we share the same mission.”

Story by Courtney Guthreau, Project HOPE’s Director – Americas Region.
Photos by Bonnie Hudlet.

HOPE Delivers Critically Needed Medicines

It was quite a day. Project HOPE staff Doug Lane, Regional Logistics Manager and Charles Prospere, HOPE’s Haiti Representative, were able to obtain critically needed medicines and supplies from a local medical warehouse and get them delivered to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer where Project HOPE volunteers continue to care for Cholera patients. Check out the photos.

Photos by Bonnie Hudlet.

Friday, November 19, 2010

HOPE Volunteers Provide Cholera Care, Education and Build Facilities for Rehab Program

Project HOPE and ICDDR,B Team Begins Much Needed Cholera Education

As the death toll in Haiti’s cholera epidemic surpasses 1,000 with more than 16,000 having been hospitalized, Project HOPE welcomed the International Center for Diarrheal Disease and Research team from Bangladesh to Port Au Prince Haiti to help provide much needed cholera education (ICDDR,B). At the onset of the cholera outbreak Project HOPE sent a team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to Haiti to assess the situation and begin helping with patient treatment. Led by Dr. Larry Ronan, a HOPE volunteer and MGH physician, this team was able to coordinate and secure the participation of the ICDDR,B team who are experts in the field of cholera education, assessment, research and treatment.

Project HOPE volunteers along with the ICDDR,B experts now form an eight member team consisting of two nursing officers, two clinical researchers, two physicians and two microbiologists. The team was split into two independently functioning four person teams to maximize the amount of assessment and training they could accomplish during their three week stay.

The team’s original plan was to head North to Cap Haitien on the North coast of Haiti where the more than 1,500 patients have been hospitalized and 119 have died giving them the highest death rate (7.5%) of any region in Haiti. Due to violent protests and riots in Cap Haitien these plans had to be modified.

One team stayed in Port Au Prince under the leadership of Project HOPE volunteers MG (Ret) Darrel Porr, M.D. and Carma Erickson-Hurt BSN, MSN to meet with government officials and public relations personnel. The other set out South to Jacmel on the Southern coast of Haiti to start training sessions with local medical staff and healthcare workers. While Jacmel thus far has been spared from the cholera outbreak local officials and medical staff recognized the need for training to prevent and potentially treat cholera should it arrive in their region.

On their first day of training in Jacmel, the team conducted three sessions training with a total of thirty-seven doctors, nurses and ancillary staff participating. Two of the sessions took place at Portal Leogane Clinic in Jacmel and one at Hospital Saint Michel. The team was well received and was able to dispel some of the common misconceptions about cholera that often prevent a cholera patient from getting proper treatment. Because this is Haiti’s first cholera outbreak in many years, there are many fears and anxieties about how cholera is spread and transmitted.

The training sessions will go a long way towards getting Haiti’s local medical staff appropriately informed to diagnose and treat cholera patients and alleviate the continued spread of this easily treated but deadly disease.

Photos and story submitted by HOPE volunteer, Carrie Alexander, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Johns Hopkins MPH student.

More on our work in Haiti.

Volunteers Continue Caring for Cholera Patients at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer

Six Project HOPE nurses arrived this week in Deschapelles, Haiti to continue work in the cholera ward at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. Haiti is experiencing a surge in cholera cases due to water contamination after the devastating earthquake last February.

The Project HOPE nurses got right to work after a brief orientation to the hospital and cholera protocols. For the next three weeks, they will be working 24/7, providing much needed help to overworked Haitian professionals. At least two nurses will be on the ward at all times to start and monitor IVs and make sure that these desperately Ill patients get the oral rehydration fluids they need in order to fight this disease. Cholera patients require massive amounts of fluids and electrolytes because of the losses from diarrhea and vomiting. When they arrive at the hospital, they are evaluated for disease severity and assigned to one of four treatment protocols. Protocol 4 patients require up to seven liters of fluid in the first three hours of treatment. Challenges encountered by the nurses include putting IVs in severely dehydrated patients, working at night without adequate lighting, language barriers (translators are not always available), and of course keeping themselves hydrated in the hot climate.

None of this seems to matter, as all are enthusiastic, hardworking, and just grateful for the opportunity to help the people of Haiti.

Story submitted by Project HOPE volunteer Cherri Dobson, a critical care nurse from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. Cherri is serving on her fourth mission for Project HOPE.

More on our work in Haiti.

Modular Structures Being Built for Rehab Facility

The three modular structures (24 x 40 clinic, 28 x 20 dorm for housing up to 12 volunteers, 28 x 20 patient ward for individuals awaiting treatment) are currently being installed on the campus of Adventist Hospital in Diquini. The structures will be used to support HOPE’s rehabilitative health program in Haiti to help those still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

HOPE’s work in connection with the installation of the modular units is being supported the Humanitarian Network, the Avon Foundation for Women, and other private donors.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hola from the Americas

Project HOPE staff from the Americas Region participated in their annual Leadership Conference last week in Mexico City. Technical sessions focused on improving programs and building staff skills. HOPE staff from Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and the United States (New Mexico)were represented. Additional leadership conferences will be help for Project HOPE staff around the world in coming months.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Volunteers Complete Suriname Mission

The health education and humanitarian mission to Suriname was cut a little short when the Continuing Promise 2010 was quickly deployed to Haiti early this month to be prepared to help in the wake of Hurricane Tomas. Still, Project HOPE volunteers and their military counterparts provided needed medical services in the country.

In Suriname:

1,765 patients were cared for

108 surgeries were performed

676 educational encounters took place

Project HOPE volunteers are home now, but we will continue to tell their stories and even post a few videos over the coming weeks, so check back for more.

Photo by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Help Support Project HOPE's Humanitarian, Health Education and Volunteer Programs Around the Globe.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HOPE Mexico Recognizes World Diabetes Day

On Sunday, November 14th Project HOPE participated in a World Diabetes Day event in Mexico City. Gathering in front of the Angel of Independence, thousands celebrated the importance of an active lifestyle, including activites such as biking and dancing, to prevent and control diabetes, obesity and related health problems. Promoting awareness is a priority for the Ministry of Health (MOH); Mexico has the second highest global obesity rate and diabetes is the leading cause of death nationwide.

Thanks to a donation from Johnson & Johnson Project HOPE offered free blood glucose screenings, using a traffic light to help people interpret their results.

Project HOPE also donated 20 One Touch glucose meters and 5,000 test strips to the Mexico City Department of Health Promotion. Vice Director Monica Huerta thanked Project HOPE for its generous support and leadership during the event.

Working with “peer educators” -- people living with diabetes who have been trained by Project HOPE to educate and inspire others -- the organization will continue to raise awareness and offer screening in public spaces year-round.

Better access to screening and education is key because early detection and good self-management helps to prevent or delay complications and raise quality of life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

World Diabetes Day in India

On the evening of November 13th, leading up to World Diabetes Day, New Delhi committed to lighting up 50 monuments and buildings across the city in blue. Blue is the official color of World Diabetes Day, symbolized by the blue ring, and this effort to collaborate to turn the city blue demonstrated India’s commitment to fight the rising tide of diabetes in the country.

Project HOPE's, Senior Vice President of Stuart Myers, Program Manager Dr. Sonia Kakar, Program Officer Charlotte Block and our guest Aileen Knip, the chair of the Canadian Diabetes Association attended the lighting at Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple. Also in attendance were notable corporate donors, doctors and the Danish Ambassador to India, H.E. Freddy Svane and his family. Mr. Myers and Ms. Knip gave short speeches after which, at the appointed moment, buttons were pushed at each of the appointed monuments, bathing them all in a blue light. After this ceremony, 50 lanterns were lit in the temple courtyard and rose up into the night sky.

Attendees adjourned to the Russian Center to watch the movie premier of a film called Sankalp, about the challenges three children face with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Sankalp is a Hindi word that means “a promise one makes to oneself.” In this case, the children promise to take control of their diabetes management and live long and healthy lives.

Story and photos by Project HOPE's Charlotte Block,MS, RD, Program Officer - Global Health Chronic Disease/Nutrition,who spent World Diabetes Day visiting HOPE program sites in India.

In Honor of World Diabetes Day, Help Support Project HOPE's Health Education Programs Around the Globe.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

India Diabetes Educator Project – Master Trainer Refresher Course

Since 2007, Project HOPE in cooperation with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has been implementing a diabetes educator project throughout India. India, which carries the largest case burden of adults with diabetes, has traditionally lacked medical professionals to fill the important diabetes educator role. Through the India Diabetes Educator Project (IDEP), Project HOPE is helping create a strong force of diabetes educators to help patients with diabetes learn self-management skills to live long and productive lives. Participating health centers throughout the country nominate nurses and dietitians to be trained as Master Trainers. The graduates then teach other health care workers in diabetes self management education (DSME) through a six-month distance learning approach.

In the days leading up to the World Diabetes Day celebration in New Delhi on November 14th, Project HOPE, with assistance from IDF and Canadian Diabetes Association diabetes educators, hosted a “refresher” course for the Master Trainers. Enthusiastic nurses and dietitian trainers came to New Delhi from participating health centers across the country to hone their diabetes education skills. They heard expert presentations about motivational interviewing, behavior change theory, the Conversation Map® approach, and role playing case studies. The Master Trainers will carry this knowledge back to their health centers and passing these new skills to their diabetes educator students, thus expanding the reach of DSME across India.

Story and photos by Project HOPE's Charlotte Block,MS, RD, Program Officer - Global Health Chronic Disease/Nutrition,who spent World Diabetes Day visiting HOPE program sites in India.

In Honor of World Diabetes Day, Help Support Project HOPE's Health Education Programs Around the Globe.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Diabetes in Suriname

Project HOPE volunteer, Dr. Ruth Hart, an emergency medicine physician from Manlius, New York, has seen a lot in her 30 year career. Still was startled when she first examined Rodney Berika who visited the medical site set up by the Continuing Promise 2010 mission in Paramaribo, Suriname.

“He came in wearing Crocs®. When he sat down and slipped off his shoes, I saw the dirty bloody bandage wrapped around his foot. It was clear that part of his foot was missing and he had lost most of the feeling,” says Dr. Hart.

When taking his medical history, Dr. Hart found out that Mr. Berika is a 29-year-old man, with a 10-year history of diabetes. He works on the docks in Suriname, carrying boxes and luggage. Berika is married with two sons and works very hard to support his family. He has never been able to afford the medications and medical needed to take care of his diabetes.

Dr. Hart consulted with a military doctor participating in Continuing Promise 2010 mission and the two diagnosed Berika’s foot with an advanced diabetic pressure ulcer. They also examined his left foot and found signs of Gangrene on the fourth toe.

The team treated the patient’s right foot and then turned their attention to educating the Berika and his family about the seriousness of diabetes and necessity of daily attention and care to his disease.

In addition, the medical team called the local university hospital, and arranged for a representative of the hospital to provide continuing counseling and initial treatment for Berika.

Still long-term care, daily testing and availability of insulin may remain challenges for Berika. With Suriname’s wet environment and Berika’s occupation as an outdoor laborer, wound care and healing also remain a concern.

In the meantime, Dr. Hart provided a translator with money and instructions to purchase a real pair of shoes and some socks for Mr. Berika to wear to insure his foot stays better protected and clean.

During the evening, others onboard the USS Iwo Jima took up a collection for fresh socks and money to possibly be able to help Berika get some of the medical equipment he needs.

Photos and story by Kris Radder, HOPE's Volunteer Public Affairs Officer

Help Support Project HOPE's Humanitarian, Health Education and Volunteer Programs Around the Globe.