July 28, 2017 is World Hepatitis Day, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2015, the WHO reports that about 325,000,000 lived with chronic hepatitis, and viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths. Only a small fraction of those infected with hepatitis have been tested and diagnosed, and an even smaller fraction of those diagnosed with hepatitis are receiving treatment. Hepatitis B is spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids (often through blood or sexual contact), while Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through exposure to infected blood, these viruses are common where injection practices are unsafe, where unscreened blood transfusions are performed, where healthcare practices are unsafe or unsterile. Much of the global relief for these viruses is attributable to NGOs providing healthcare and medical services to communities and countries experiencing variable health crises.
So, in honor of World Hepatitis Day, we’re sharing a few of our favorite global health organizations. Check them out, and add your own to the list too!
1. STAND Haiti
Because we work closely with so many physical therapists, we’re especially fond of this one. STAND (Sustainable Therapy and New Development) Haiti’s mission is to establish permanent access to orthopedic rehabilitative services in Haiti through patient care and training of local Haitians. STAND is a non-profit that believes freedom from pain and disability is a basic human right, not a privilege. During their trips to Haiti, they work to restore mobility impairments by evaluating and treating innumerable conditions and injuries. STAND also provides outreach programs to local hospitals, schools, orphanages, and assisted living facilities.
DWB may be the best known of the medical relief organizations, and for good reason. They provide medical services worldwide to people who need it most (i.e. countries afflicted by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care). They have been delivering medical aid since 1971, and their reach helps more than 60 countries. They provide rapid response medical services when and where needed, but they also operate longer-term projects to tackle ongoing health crises.
IMC is somewhat unique among medical relief services in that it provides mental health relief services. They work to relieve suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster, and disease and help devastated populations return to self-reliance. They assist in urgent care anywhere, anytime, and no matter the conditions. With a staff of nearly 7,000 worldwide, they integrate training into their programs to ensure that they educate locals and prepare them for ongoing and future crisis management.
This foundation provides medical care in nine developing countries, though their work varies with each community’s needs. They facilitate access to basic and preventive healthcare, and they work with the community to improve the access, whether it be construction of a clinic or modification within the community. Their current programs include addressing concerns like malnutrition, drug addiction, head lice, and influenza.
Unite for Sight focuses on the global delivery of eye-related healthcare. To facilitate an international reach, Unite for Sight partners with local eye clinics to provide comprehensive year-round care that includes eye examinations, diagnosis, and prevention education. Over the past 15 years, they have services more than 2.1 million/
Learn more about World Hepatitis Day from the World Health Organization here.
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