Senator Frist's first trip in Medical Missions was with Dr. Dick Furman and World Medical Missions, an affililate of Samaritan's Purse.

Samaritan's Purse has been doing good work in Sudan for some time. I thought it appropriate to highlight their work, in support of their continued efforts, here as we focus on Sudan this month.

Sudan: Samaritan's Purse

During decades of vicious civil war, more than 2 million people lost their lives and thousands of communities were destroyed. Samaritan's Purse has been helping the people of Sudan since 1997, by providing food, shelter, clean water, agriculture assistance, education, medical aid, and vocational training programs. In Darfur, we have fed 220,000 people who were forced from their homes by government-backed militias. In 2005, we launched a major church reconstruction project for Christians in South Sudan who suffered violent persecution.

For more CLICK HERE.

Franklin Graham called for a Day of Prayer for Sudan, August 1. He has requested prayers for the following:

• Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, President of Sudan

• Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of Southern Sudan

• A peaceful election in January

• The vote on independence for Southern Sudan in 2011

• Revival and prayer in local churches

• Lasting peace throughout Sudan

We welcome your comments.

Senator Frist has a forthcoming book that will release October 5: A Heart to Serve: A Passion to Bring Health, Hope, and Healing

In Chapter one, A Mission of Mercy, Frist shares his experience of flying into Lui, Sudan, under the radar, to perform surgery in a conflict zone. This experience was a foundational one which shaped his understanding and philosophy of health diplomacy and how offering health care can be a currency for peace around the world.

For CHAPTER ONE -- CLICK HERE.

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Don't forget to order your copy of the book on Amazon.com!

 

 

July 17, 2009

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

My first two weeks in the office at Africare in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have been surprisingly busy. In fact, on my first day I was asked to accompany two co-workers on a five-day trip west to Dodoma. In Dodoma we met with representatives from the other partner organizations involved in the COPE project. We also had the opportunity to visit a household and evaluate the impact of the aspect of the COPE project designed to assist orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) households in generating income.

From Dodoma we drove three hours north to a small, rural town called Kondoa. It was pretty slow going since the roads were rough and rocky but when we got there we were escorted through the village to a specific household. Behind the house there was a small chicken coup with about six chickens and a pile of eggs. A community member explained that they would raise the chicks that would hatch from the eggs and sell them at the local market as a means of generating income.

The trip opened my eyes in more ways than one. Most of my time in Tanzania has been spent in major cities, so it was my first time visiting a village and seeing how people live in such a rural setting. Also, it was great to witness the direct impact of the program and to get an understanding for what kind of people the COPE project is serving.

Although I'm back in the office now, I enjoyed my time in the field and I'm looking forward to my next trip to Dodoma. I should be headed out there around August to administer a series of surveys designed to assess the impact COPE has had on the community it serves.

See where Krista is traveling -- Map of Tanzania: CLICK HERE

 

Project Hope

Jul 13 2009

We have made significant progress on the Munsieville Needs Assessment. After several drafts and two field tests, a final version of the survey was created. Our survey covers 11 topics that include health indicators such as housing, income, health behavior, and reproductive health. Our specific questions aim at health attitudes, general health knowledge and accessibility to health care and government services.

As we continue with the Munsieville Model, we must evaluate other settlements in the area for additional or alternative sites for Project Hope to establish programs. With the help of a local minister and director of a substance abuse center, Dave Gardner, another American, we have established contacts in Randfontein, a nearby city. We were introduced to Lucky, an eccentric Obama fanatic that is also the political representative of all of the informal settlements in one of the wards of the West Rand district.
Take a moment today to read Nicholas Kristof’s thoughtful op-ed “Would You Let This Girl Drown?” Kristof zeroes in on several very important facts. He asks a poignant, hypothetical question: “If G-8 leaders would be willing to save one drowning child, why are they collectively so far behind in meeting humanitarian aid pledges to save other children?”
The weather has turned here in the Johannesburg suburbs. For this reason, we work from day to day not knowing exactly what kind of participation we will have from the Munsieville residents. Mondays are spent with Engelinah, Eva, and Betty meeting with their women's groups for most of the day, and Glenn and I focusing on the specifics for our needs assessment survey. Health screening is usually every Tuesday but due to the cold weather last Tuesday (June 23) only 4 mothers attended. The weekly baby bathing held on Wednesdays have had a similar fate. The temperature was much too cold for the mothers to bath their babies even in the fellowship hall of the Catholic church for the past 3 weeks. The women did attend but we did not set up the baby tubs. They received food and clothes from other organizations as usual.
The United States is engaged in a historic debate over government's role in reforming health care. But on the continent of Africa, there is little debate that U.S. investment has reaped major rewards. Yet there, too, reforms are necessary.

By fighting measles, then AIDS and, more recently, malaria, the United States has partnered with African nations to help save millions of lives since the turn of this century. It's a remarkable achievement, and the American people have led; the American taxpayer should be proud.
So far things are going well in South Africa. My accommodations are nice and I am starting to become acclimated to the J'oburg suburb lifestyle. My work started here last Monday with a debriefing session with Stefan. We work out of a container that is on the property of a Catholic church. Each day there is a different task scheduled. On Tuesdays, we go to a little Protestant church in the informal settlement to meet with several of the women who are participants in a small savings and loan program called Village Savings Fund (VSF). Mostly all of the women have young children.

Engelina and Eva, two local women, lead these meetings and act as interpreters for Glenn and me. With such an attentive audience, it is the perfect venue to do health education. A retired health advisor, Mama Tandi, then discusses the current women's health topic. Last week, it was breast and cervical cancer. After the health talk, we begin the health screening. With the help of Engelina, Eva, and Mama Tandi, Glenn and I record height, weight, BP, and whether the children take breast milk, formula, or solid foods. We will continue to collect the data mostly to asses the health risks of obesity and hypertension.
Things are going well down here in the Southern Hemisphere. I've been here now for about 3 weeks and MAN has it flown by! Calandra Miller and I have both been comissioned to design and implement a needs assessment survey over the course of this summer. Project HOPE has about nine Village Savings Fund (VSF) groups set up and are being taught by 3 local volunteer workers (the majority of participants in these groups do not speak English, hence the need for these volunteers). The groups are comprised of about 20 women each, and the purpose is to educate these women on microeconomics. Ultimately, after undergoing the entire education course (which takes about 2 months of one day a week, weekly meetings), these women will have set up amongst themselves a system for both saving and loaning out money to group members. We're about halfway through the program with multiple groups right now, and Calandra and I have been going out with translators to survey these women on their progress. We are also obtaining a baseline survey for the orphans and other vulnerable children (OOVC) under the care of these VSF members with the same survey tool.

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