For immediate release: Laura Lefler Herzog, 202-224-3467
November 12, 2009

MEDIA ADVISORY

Senator Corker, Jars of Clay, Nashville Music Community Lead Efforts to Deliver Clean Water to the World

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., second-ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will hold an event at Belmont University on Monday, November 23 to highlight efforts to give millions around the world access to clean water and improved sanitation. Corker and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, are sponsors of the Water for the World Act, S. 624, which sets a goal of reaching 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015. (See more on the bill below.)

Corker will be joined by Dr. Bob Fisher, President of Belmont University, as well as:

Jars of Clay, the Grammy award winning band which has launched Blood:Water Mission, a non-profit organization promoting clean blood and water in Africa.

Dave Barnes, a Nashville singer/songwriter involved with Mocha Club, an on-line community of people giving up the cost of two mochas a month - or $7 - to fund relief and development projects in Africa, including clean water.

Bill Hearn, the President and CEO of EMI Christian Music Group involved with Healing Waters International, a non-profit organization working to reduce water-related illness and death in developing countries.


WHO: U.S. SENATOR BOB CORKER, member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee
DR. BOB FISHER, President of Belmont University
JARS OF CLAY, Grammy award winning band who has launched Blood:Water Mission
DAVE BARNES, Nashville singer/songwriter involved with Mocha Club
BILL HEARN, President/CEO of EMI Christian Music Group involved with Healing Waters

WHAT: Water for the World Event
WHEN: Monday, November 23 at 10:30 a.m. CT
WHERE: Belmont University, lobby of the Gordon E. Inman Center

RSVP: Members of the media with questions and interest in attending the event should contact Laura Herzog at Laura_Herzog@corker.senate.gov or 202-224-3467.

All other individuals and organizations interested in attending should RSVP to Hallie Williams at Hallie_Williams@corker.senate.gov or 202-228-5515 by Friday, Nov. 20.


The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009, S.624

Sponsored by U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Ten years ago the late Senator Paul Simon wrote the book "Tapped Out," which warned of the world's looming clean water crisis. His call for greater U.S. leadership on this issue led to the passage of the Water for the Poor Act of 2005, which has given millions of people access to clean water and improved sanitation. Yet our impact could be much greater.

Today almost 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and two of every five people do not have access to basic sanitation. These conditions contribute to nearly 10 percent of the world's disease.

Each year 1.8 million people-90 percent of them children under the age of five-die from preventable diarrheal diseases. Diarrheal diseases and related malnutrition account for virtually all of the deaths and nearly 90 percent of the overall disease burden associated with unsafe water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.

Water scarcity hinders economic growth, limits the opportunities of women and girls to work or go to school, and has contributed to political unrest in Sudan and elsewhere. Water and poverty are inextricably linked.

According to the United Nations Development Program, every $1 invested in safe drinking water and sanitation produces an $8 return in costs averted and productivity gained. Water is the right place to invest in these difficult economic times.

In fiscal year 2007, the U.S. obligated more than $900 million for water- and sanitation-related activities in developing countries. As a result, millions of people gained improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation, water resources are being managed more wisely and productively, and many communities are enjoying greater water security. In addition, nearly 2 million people gained first-time access to an improved water source, and more than 1.5 million gained first-time access to basic sanitation. We can do more.

To strengthen U.S. leadership on this critical issue, U.S. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., have introduced the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009, S.624, which sets a goal of reaching 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015.

The bill implements recommendations made by the Center for Strategic & International Studies in their recently released report, "Global Water Futures." The bill would expand safe water and sanitation efforts in priority countries, promote research and technology development, and improve training and technical assistance to help meet the water needs of the world's poor. It would also increase capacity and sharpens the focus at USAID and the U.S. state department to implement these activities.

Corker and Durbin introduced the Water for the World Act on March 17, 2009 and it has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Specifically, the bill would:
-Establish an Office of Water within USAID,
-Establish the Bureau of International Water under the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs,
-Require a revisit of or the development of a strategy to meet water security goals,
-Establish a water and sanitation managers program in every priority country to train local leaders in best practices,
-Provide grants for low cost and sustainable technologies suitable for high priority countries, and
-Require an assessment of current and future political tensions over water resources and the expected impacts of climate change on water accessibility.


###

Todd Womack
Chief of Staff
U. S. Senator Bob Corker

by Kelly Tschida

November 18, 2009

Nyamata, Rwanda: Today

Although the Rwandan genocide occurred fifteen years ago, I see its impacts everyday in the hospital. The region I live in was an area of great violence. There is a memorial site here in Nyamata were 10,000 people crammed into a small church seeking refuge, only to be killed. It is hard to believe that the reserved, kind spirited people I know went through such a horrible event.

I never ask about peoples' experiences, but the genocide is brought up many times a day. Medical histories are incomplete for many young adults because they are orphans. Patients come in with disfiguring scars, old bullet wounds, and HIV as a result of the violence they experienced during that time. Sometimes they say it happened during the genocide, mostly they say it happened "15 years ago". I have been told the mental health floor gets very busy with post traumatic stress disorder during the same months that the genocide occurred. Other stress related illnesses, such as stomach ulcers are common complaints of our patients.

One consequence of the genocide that has made a big impression on me is how the Rwandan people react to death. I noticed when patients die the family members never show outward emotion. There is no crying, no awkward silence or loud outbreaks, and no consoling of one another. They seem to concentrate on packing up the belongings and taking care of business. When I asked one of the nurses about it, she said that is the way Rwandans are. I thought she meant it was cultural, so I said "So it is normal?" She replied "No, it's not normal. It's because we saw too many things in the genocide."

The hospital staff deals with genocide related problems the way they would for anything else; no sorrow is shown or empathy given and no further questions are asked. They take note of the history in a professional manner and together we all simply move on to find the best treatment.

 

 Inside the Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial. Each bundle of clothes belongs to a victim.

Milles Collines, the real Hotel Rwanda.

by Krista Ford

November 11, 2009

The end of October marked the end of my first quarter here at Africare and the start of the second quarter seems to have brought with it all types of change.  In the office we are currently in the midst of several big changes, the biggest being the addition of a new CDC funded home-based care project. Africare will work with some small Civil Service Organizations and existing community structures to provide home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS. The start up of this project has required a lot of time and energy, including interviewing for about 20 new positions. With between five and ten candidates being interviewed for each position, you can imagine that this has been a very time consuming process. Everyone from the Country Representative, to the program's Chief of Party, to the junior staff has been pitching in to assist in the interviewing process. I've been working very closely with the Human Resources Officer to test the candidates' practical skills, compile summaries of interview results, and create briefings of panel recommendations to be reviewed and approved by the Country Representative and our headquarters in Washington, D.C. I even had the opportunity to sit on the interview panel for a few of the positions and it was quite a different experience being the interviewer instead of the interviewee. One of the new staff that has been hired is the new Program Assistant, Gloria.

She and I have worked together to create a new internal monthly newsletter, which was a hit in the office. We're also working together to draft Africare Tanzania's first Annual Report. The Africare organization as a whole puts out an annual report every year and some of the country offices also produce annual reports. Africare arrived in Tanzania in 1994 and has not produced an annual report yet. Gloria and I are very excited to be working on these new additions.

In addition to the newsletter and annual report, Gloria and I will be working with the Admin officer to create a resource center where staff can access reference materials in one centralized, organized space.

So, between the addition of a new project, lots of new staff members, a new newsletter, the creation of a resource center and the first ever annual report, this has certainly been a period of change for Africare Tanzania.

by Danielle Dittrich

November 17, 2009

To be a practitioner in Guatemala, one needs to find harmony between western and traditional medicine. I had never thought about or tried natural herbal medicine before coming to Guatemala. Though I still don't usually recommend it to my patients, I have begun exploring the natural remedies so that I can hopefully help my patients to navigate their own health. The women's program teaches patients that if their symptoms do not improve after two days of at home treatment with herbal remedies, they need to go to the doctor for medication.

Many of the herbal remedies are geared towards symptom relief of aliments for which we do not currently have cures. For example, there are many herbal remedies for the cold virus, specifically for cough. In the states, there are anti-tussives, mucolitics and expectorants, but these don't cure the virus, they just alleviate or mask the cough. Though many patients request antibiotics, these target bacterial rather than viral illnesses and only lead to resistance and de-sensitization to medication. This is a specifically frightening concept when any Guatemalan can go into the pharmacy and buy any medication in any amount with less than the scribbled name of a medication written by their neighbor counting as a prescription. However, with Guatemala being among the poorest of Latin-American countries, the cost of western medications is a major deterrent leading to the preference of herbal medication in addition to its cultural implications. Many patients admit to filling half prescriptions due to the cost of medications or stopping medication regimens when they achieve symptom relief and saving the few remaining antibiotic pills for the next time they start feeling sick (of any sort).

It is terrifying to know that partial regimens is the way we have created and continue to create multi-drug resistant organisms, such as multidrug resistance tuberculosis which has been on the rise recently in Latin America. The fear of drug-resistance is a constant motivator, as we pass by the country's tuberculosis hospital daily on the way to the Primeros Pasos clinic. For this reason it is just as important that we educate the patients as it is to provide medical care. A good medication can be a weapon if used incorrectly; it is important to empower the patients to be responsible for their own health and healthcare, which is largely where herbal remedies come into play.

In the states, most Dr. Mom's would recommend a bowl of grandma's chicken noodle soup, a cup of tea and rest -- symptom relief. The idea is not too different with herbal medicine here -- herbal teas to alleviate the aches and calm the cough. Graced with the same viruses that my patients bring to the clinic, I was personally compelled to try herbal teas for my back to back stomach and cold viruses. I went to the local market with a Guatemalan friend and we sought out all the teas for cough. I was surprised by the number of plants and herbal remedies that exist. There are different teas for dry cough, productive cough and coughs with sneezes. Among the busy, hustling market, the herbal medicine vendor was one of the most popular. I do not claim an instant cure, but the effect was certainly soothing as the virus ran its course.

Balance between hot and cold is very important concept in Mayan health; a warm remedy is used to cure a cold illness. Health is not only viewed as freedom from illness, but also as general happiness and life balance. It has been important for me to begin understanding these concepts, so as to provide patient education and recommendations that complement rather than clash with their worldview.  It has been specifically important for the care of pregnant patients as many cultural concepts, which do not have an equivalent in western medicine, are said to affect the development of the baby. For example, newborn babies get sick when the mothers breast milk becomes cold from eating foods that are considered cold, which does not always correspond to temperature. 

In order to be respected as a practitioner, one must respect the viewpoint and frame of reference of the patient. Respect however, does not always mean agree. I believe that one of the most important things that I can learn in my investigation of natural medicine is to understand what herbal remedies may be dangerous to pregnant women. Certain herbal remedies are actually known to be incredibly potent. Something about this approach and mind-set has been successful, as my patients rapidly continue to increase in number. Though as a foreigner, my recommendations of herbal remedies would ever be taken too seriously, my warnings are generally heeded. Thankfully, there are many other traditional practitioners to provide these recommendations and I am seeking partnerships with them in order to incorporate their work into a more holistic model of patient care.

November 13, 2009

by Jenny Dyer

FROM Kaiser Family Foundation: The Foundation has issued its latest global health survey, Views on the U.S. Role in Global Health Update, which probes American public opinion about efforts by the United States to improve the health of people in developing nations. According to the poll findings, most Americans support current U.S. spending to improve health conditions in poorer nations despite the economic recession. Two thirds of the public supports maintaining (32%) or increasing (34%) spending on global health, while a quarter say the country is spending too much. More of the public prefers an emphasis on health infrastructure rather than fighting specific diseases. When asked to rank the importance of the two approaches, 58 percent say it is more important to emphasize programs that help countries build their health system infrastructure, under the theory that stronger health systems can better handle a variety of problems. In contrast, 36 percent say it is more important to emphasize efforts to fight specific diseases like AIDS and malaria because efficient methods for treating such diseases already exist and can save large numbers of lives. All the survey materials are available online.

This is interesting and great news given our economic climate that the majority of Americans still care deeply about helping those with the fewest resources worldwide. I find intriguing that the American public has marched forward from embracing the issues of HIV/AIDS and the global pandemic, or malaria and the need for bednets, to realizing the need for health systems, working together, to build infrastructure for smart, efficient use of assistance. Health systems and health infrastructure are far from sexy topics, but that is what is needed and needed now.

HTHH addresses the issue of health infrastructure through our support of training community health workers through our Frist Global Health Leaders program, offering health professional students and residents the opportunity to serve and train in underserved clinics around the world. We know strengthening health systems is key to moving toward the millennium goals.

by Bill Frist, M.D.

A couple weeks back, the Living Proof Project was unveiled in Washington, D.C. by Bill and Melinda Gates. The goal of this great project is to share the good news of the implementation of assistance. U.S. investments in improving global health are delivering real results. From significant declines in child deaths, to global eradication efforts against polio, to insecticide-treated bed nets that reduce malaria transmission, global health initiatives are working. At http://www.gatesfoundation.org/livingproofproject you can learn more from their progress sheets. Watch the speeches of these "Impatient Optimists."  I have the pleasure of serving on the Advisory Council.
 
The video below was shown yesterday at a Save the Children Survive to Five Council meeting in NYC. This is a great example of real results, combating infant mortality. Saving the life of a little one.

 

by Bill Frist, M.D.

Yesterday morning, I had the honor of speaking at both services at Christ Church in Nashville. Over 5000 people attended. The services were dedicated to the doctors and nurses in the community, recognizing all health care workers for their healing care. It was a wonderful opportunity to share the work of Hope Through Healing Hands at home and abroad. As you know, HTHH's selects Global Health Leaders, annually, to travel to underserved clinics around the world to bolster health care and training of community health workers for sustainability. Right now, we have Leaders in Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, and Guatemala. We are proud to support their efforts, using health as a currency for peace. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."

Thanks to all at Christ Church for the warm welcome.

 

 

World Pneumonia Day Reception Remarks

By Senator Bill Frist, M.D.

Today, I joined Save the Children, the US Coalition for Child Survival, the World Pneumonia Day Coalition and Vicks at a breakfast reception on Capitol Hill to recognize the first annual World Pneumonia Day, a day for people everywhere to turn awareness into action to control the #1 killer of children under age 5: pneumonia. Each year, a disease which often starts as a cold, claims the lives of nearly 2 million children under age 5 -- more than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. Despite this staggering death toll, childhood pneumonia has never been a global health priority, and the current basic maternal child health programs --that need to be in place to control the disease-- are under-funded.

Pneumonia is easy to diagnose and treat if you have the right tools, but most children in developing countries don't get the care they need. We could save more than one million young lives each year with affordable health measures -- like proper nutrition and breastfeeding, antibiotics and vaccines. It's a matter of making these solutions more available to the children who need them.

As chair of Save the Children's Survive to 5 campaign and in my work with other humanitarian organizations, I've traveled to community-based health projects in Asia and Africa. I've seen firsthand how U.S. government investments in training community-based health workers in pneumonia prevention and treatment have significantly improved child health and saved lives.

In countries as different as Bangladesh and Mozambique, families face virtually the same obstacles to getting care for their children. Vaccines that we take for granted here to protect our children are not available in many of the countries that most need them. GAVI needs significantly greater resources to help countries integrate the new vaccines against pneumonia as well as diarrhea. A community-based approach to child health works. But if we are to make progress in combating pneumonia and other childhood illnesses, we need to scale up these efforts.

World Pneumonia Day is a call to action from national leaders, donors and international health organizations to rally their forces to control this disease. The time is ripe for action. Thanks to WHO and UNICEF's Global Action Plan against Pneumonia (GAPP) released on World Pneumonia Day, November 2nd, we will have a realistic six-year plan for the worldwide scale-up to control pneumonia, based on the following:

· protecting children by creating lower-risk environments;

· preventing children from developing the disease through vaccination; and

· treating children who become ill.

The United States has played and must continue to play a leading role internationally to save the lives of mothers, newborns and children through the protection, prevention and treatment of pneumonia. Current U.S. spending on maternal and child health, which includes spending on pneumonia, is just $495 million a year. The U.S. should at least double that investment, encourage other industrialized nations to do the same at next year's G8 summit in Canada. G8 leaders should declare that no country with a credible plan for newborn, child and maternal health should be thwarted for lack of donor resources.

We are pleased to see that child survival is a strong priority for the U.S. Congress. The Global Child Survival Act (S. 1966) was just introduced in the Senate, and the Newborn, Child and Mother Survival Act of 2009 (HR 1410) has 80 cosponsors in the House. What can you do? I strongly encourage you to call your congressional representatives today and ask them to cosponsor these important bills.

by Jenny Dyer

November 4, 2009

How can art save the world? Photographers have the gift to capture a moment of beauty. And, capturing moments of beauty for a person who has never known s/he is beautiful, can give life back to the most downtrodden of spirits--proving everyone holds a spark of the imago dei.

Jeremy Cowart wondered how he could give back, offering his gift of capturing the lovely in those who may have never seen that loveliness. His Help-Portrait movement has sparked interest around the world to provide photos to those individuals and families in need. His website provides the tools to do the following:

1. Find someone in need

2. Take their portrait

3. Print their Portrait

4. And Deliver Them.

If you're a photographer -- check out this movement. Your art could change the world. Consider joining the community:

What does Help-Portrait Look Like?

 

by Amelia Wood, M.D.

November 3, 2009

"Henceforth, simply the nappy."

One of the most delightful things about being in Kenya is participating in the odd mix of African bush culture and English propriety. It's what remains of the colonization of this land by the British, I guess. And it is quite nice.

For example, we all have dusty feet peering out of rubbery ‘flip-flop' like sandals in the operating area, yet we refer to the OR's as ‘theatres', and we adjourn to ‘take tea' at the proper intervals throughout the day. The Kenyans put every coffee house in the developed world to shame with their ‘chai': a creamy, sweet cup of goodness scooped from a boiling pot of tea leaves and milk, fresh from the cow, brought to the hospital that morning in a plastic bucket. It is just so very civilized and so very African. And it is mandatory, I am beginning to understand. In this picture, you can see me having tea with some of the nursery and maternity nurses. I had just given them a lecture about neonatal warning signs in the delivery room, and I was prepared to whisk away to the days doctoring tasks. They insisted that I sit and have tea. It's the proper, Kenyan way.

The influences of the Queen's English and Kiswahili also manage to trip me up on a daily basis. Example 1: intern says to Dr. Amy, "this preterm is receiving 8ml feeds, two hourly, and is retaining." Dr. Amy blinks thinking, "retaining? Is retaining good or bad?" Example 2: same intern pouts over a squeaking, stridorous baby. "Oh, he is lamenting," she says. And I think, "man, I wish I used the word lamenting." Example 3: A few days ago I noticed that there was an odd pile of gauze taped around baby Hawa's ostomy which was causing the liquid stool output to severely irritate his skin. So I asked one of the nurses, "could we stop using the dry gauze and only use a diaper from now on?" The nurse replied, "So, henceforth, simply the nappy?" "Uh, yeah, simply the nappy. Thanks."

Perhaps my favorite experience yet should have a photo but I must try words instead. I was chatting with Dr. Gary in the hospital corrider, and as we were talking, a Masai grandmom walked past with her infant grandson in a sling on her back. The little guy was healing from a chemical burn of his head, and he had even lost most of his left ear. After multiple skin grafts he still had bright pink under-flesh covering most of his head. It was a patchwork that looked like freshly groomed farm land: little squares of different soils in pinks and browns. His grandmom was covered in beads, ear lobes hanging low from a piercing type process, dark black feet flat against the hospital floor and the little guy, peering up to catch our eyes... then he giggled and hid from us in the folds of his grandmother's clothes. His happiness took over the air around us. I could not understand how such a little boy (two years old) could have so much pain-- so much to cry about -- and yet so much joy! Later I found out that this patient, Ralian, is Jim's patient. Jim is his surgeon, and he is Jim's favorite. Ralian's grandmother has said that she wants to return to visit us before we leave so she can give Jim a reward for taking care of her grandson.

So far, I have been blessed to enjoy my time here in ways I could not have foreseen. It is simply "well with my soul," as the old hymn says. And still, I am a creature of luxury, and I miss all the lavishness of my home in Colorado. Gary Finke, the pediatrician of the past 2 years, leaves roughly the same time we do. So as the days march forward and we get closer to hugging our families, our friend Stephany gets closer to being the sole pediatrician at this busy children's hospital. Her fear of taking on this mighty task is always behind the scenes. She is weary, and it is hard to leave her behind. I am asking now, reader: please pray for reinforcements for Stephany. Pray for courage and joy and wisdom and sleep for her. If you are a pediatrician - consider coming to help her. Even just a few weeks would lessen the load and give little lily pads of rest during her 2 year commitment. You will be a blessing and you will be blessed!

I have a tendency to count down days until the end of different periods of life. A physician in Nashville once advised a group of us not to wish away our lives during residency, and I hate to admit that I sometimes have that tendency, although not just in residency. Recently I have been simultaneously struggling to not count down the days until I return to my own indulgences (warm bath, constant electricity, reliable phone line to call mom and dad) and dreaming of returning to live out my days here.

I said in a previous post-my first post from Kijabe in fact-that life here is simple, hard and lovely. It is simple, and it is hard in many ways. That is true. But in the end and above all, life here is lovely.

 

 

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