If first impressions mean anything, then this trip to Kenya will be one I will always remember. Not that I expected anything less. We arrived at Kijabe about one week ago, and there already are a number of things that have awe-struck me. But perhaps what has stood out more than anything to me is the people here. While many of them have little in the way of possessions, you couldn't find a more happy, gracious, or appreciative people, making this journey all the more special.

by Jenny Eaton Dyer, Ph.D.

Senator Frist talks about the history of Hope Through Healing Hands in the video below. He recounts its origins, its emergency relief efforts through the years -- with the tsunami, Katrina, and Haiti, and he describes our Frist Global Health Leaders program showcasing our student health professionals who have served in clinics and hospitals around the world.

We invite you to watch this short video to get a glimpse of the work we do at Hope Through Healing Hands. We hope it is a helpful tool to highlight the health care done for the world's poorest.

 

According to the World Food Program (WFP), over 70% of people in Guatemala live in poverty. The country has the 4th highest rate of malnutrition in the world, and the highest rate of malnutrition in Latin America. The WFP says that 49.3% of children in Guatemala are undernourished. Most of these children live in the rural areas, and most are of indigenous descent. I can definitely vouch for having seen something of a geographically-based health disparity here. From what I have seen personally, and heard casually, there is little malnutrition in the city of Quetzaltenango (Xela) because of several outreach programs, and relatively clean and accessible water and sewage.
The H2O tour has wrapped up its summer run, and the Water = Hope campaign is proud to have built so much for clean water issues amongst country fans! Our final two weeks on the tour were a bit of a whirlwind, with stops in San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Boise, Salt Lake City and Denver. Along the way, as always, we were joined by some amazing volunteers!
The Guatemalan school year has ended, and mobile clinics and educational programs for school children from Primeros Pasos have also ended. All of these initiatives are a part of the healthy school program that Primeros Pasos runs, but only take place during the school year. Now these children are on their own for care and education until the beginning of next year, although the clinic will be open through mid December.
It has been two weeks since I touched down in Guatemala City and I haven't had a dull moment since my arrival. From the bus rides through the mountains to the hikes up mountains, Lauren and I have found profound experiences and learning wherever we go. The cultural lessons have been exceptionally enlightening as well as the medical paradigm shift.

by Jenny Dyer

We want to give a special thanks to HTHH supporter, Rachel Flynn, who lives in Crossville, TN for hearing about our opportunity with Lamar Advertising and then offering us space on Flynn Signs Co., Inc. in Crossville, TN!

She and her husband Tom within hours were able to post our Water=Hope message up on 2 billboards in Crossville on their Flynn Signs.

water hope flynn

We're excited to partner with Flynn Signs!

 

We want to thank the Lamar Advertising Company for creating and posting the billboard below in small and medium size markets across the nation beginning this week! They are helping us spread the word across the country that YOU can help bring safe, clean water to people around the world.

by Lawrence Harrington

World Water Act would save countless lives

Oct. 4, 2010

Tennessee Voices

Lost in the high deci­bel debate of a polar­ized mid-term elec­tion, Ten­nessee Sen. Bob Corker recently teamed with Assis­tant Major­ity Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to pass the World Water Act, a mea­sure to pro­vide clean water and san­i­ta­tion to 100 mil­lion peo­ple around the globe.

If the mea­sure is passed by the House and signed by the pres­i­dent, bil­lions of dol­lars and mil­lions of lives — most of them chil­dren — can be saved thanks to lead­er­ship and long-term think­ing from both sides of the Sen­ate chamber.

For those of us who have come to expect clean drink­ing water at the turn of a han­dle, the prob­lem can be hard to grasp.

The com­plex­ity of water and san­i­ta­tion chal­lenges around the globe became appar­ent to me when I was run­ning the Mex­ico office of the Inter-American Devel­op­ment Bank and attended the Fourth World Water Forum in Mex­ico City.

World­wide drink­ing water is scarce

Over a bil­lion peo­ple world­wide live with­out safe water. More than 2.5 bil­lion lack ade­quate san­i­ta­tion, expos­ing them to intesti­nal dis­eases cost­ing lives and eco­nomic productivity.

The bur­den of haul­ing drink­ing water in many rural areas falls most heav­ily on women and girls, mak­ing it harder for them to stay in school.

Scarce health resources are spent treat­ing water­borne dis­eases.
Even before the full impact of cli­mate change, lack of decent water can cause mass emi­gra­tion and will be a major source of global inse­cu­rity in the com­ing decades.

Last week, U.S. researchers con­cluded that 80 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion lives in areas with “inse­cure” fresh water.

The Water for the World Act builds on exist­ing efforts to pro­vide sus­tain­able access to clean water and san­i­ta­tion in less devel­oped coun­tries. The mea­sure pro­vides addi­tional resources but ensures they will be spent effec­tively by encour­ag­ing donor coor­di­na­tion and rig­or­ous project eval­u­a­tion. It pro­motes global and regional coop­er­a­tion on research and technology.

For for­eign aid skep­tics, water and san­i­ta­tion is a good invest­ment. A dol­lar spent in this sec­tor can return as much as $8 by increas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and reduc­ing the health care and other expen­di­tures that result from lack of water and san­i­ta­tion. Our mil­i­tary can tell you that a good well may be more impor­tant to secur­ing a vil­lage than for­ti­fi­ca­tions. Inte­grated water man­age­ment reduces infra­struc­ture costs by bil­lions of dol­lars, invest­ments that many coun­tries can ill afford.

Even in rel­a­tively devel­oped coun­tries in Latin Amer­ica such as Mex­ico, small amounts of tech­ni­cal assis­tance improve man­age­ment and lever­age finance for strug­gling urban san­i­ta­tion systems.

Closer to home at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity, stu­dents are tak­ing steps to bring clean water and san­i­ta­tion to under­served com­mu­ni­ties.
Recently, mem­bers of Engi­neers With­out Bor­ders spent valu­able vaca­tion time using their skills to bring water to a poor vil­lage in Peru.

A Van­der­bilt engi­neer­ing stu­dent, Leslie Labruto, a mem­ber of the group, recently turned 21. She told friends to for­get a party and instead give money so a vil­lage in cen­tral Africa could get a new well.

Thanks to her self­less­ness, the vil­lage will have a source of clean water for years to come.

Sen. Corker points to per­sonal involve­ment like this — church mis­sions he made to Haiti years ago — as encour­ag­ing him to enter pub­lic ser­vice and offer­ing a deeper under­stand­ing of the devel­op­ment chal­lenges in poor countries.

Corker’s time as mayor of Chat­tanooga undoubt­edly helped him under­stand the impor­tance of pro­vid­ing basic ser­vices to a com­mu­nity and the imper­a­tive of coop­er­a­tion to do good work.

Ten­nesseans should hope this bipar­ti­san spirit moves the World Water Act through the House to the president’s desk.

Larry Har­ring­ton is an adjoint pro­fes­sor at the Cen­ter for Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies at Van­der­bilt and a Nashville attorney.

 

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