Serving globally

community global

Some of Emory Healthcare’s beds and equipment recently were shipped to Gobierno Municipal del Cantón, a hospital in Ibarra, in northern Ecuador. Pictured: a young Ecuadorian boy with his family, being treated for skin abscesses caused by jungle insect bites. The primary health concerns in Ecuador can be attributed to the effects of poverty on living conditions.

Faculty, staff, and students in Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center understand all too well the health-related problems that join the most diverse parts of the world — viruses that travel as fast at the planes that carry them, limited human and other resources, the impact of poverty — and are working on practical solutions to help.


Turning leftovers into livesavers

A special place in Emory hearts

Alternative winter break

CDCs for the world

Turn leftovers into lifesavers.

Heavy seasonal rains in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador washed out roads and caused an unusual number of injuries this year, leaving the hospital in Ibarra crowded with patients waiting for a hospital bed. Having just upgraded many of its own beds, Emory Healthcare donated the beds it replaced to MedShare International, an Atlanta-based organization that collects unused, unexpired medical supplies and equipment and sends them to hospitals in developing countries. Fifty of the beds went to Ibarra, along with huge containers of medical supplies that otherwise, in accordance with safety laws in the US, would have been thrown away, likely to end up in landfills.

One of MedShare’s oldest and most generous partners, Emory Healthcare provided 103,000 pounds of medical supplies last year. In the first half of 2011, 12 Emory-related medical, nursing, and dental teams also “shopped” for supplies at MedShare before heading off to provide free care in clinics across the world. Emory Healthcare employees also provided 600 volunteer hours to help sort and pack supplies for shipping.

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Shruthi Rereddy
Health clinic in Debre Markos, an area of about 60,000 people in Ethiopia, about 180 miles north of Addis Ababa, the capital.

A special place in Emory hearts

Emory faculty in medicine, public health, and nursing are working to improve health in Ethiopia. Medicine’s Henry Blumberg is implementing use of magnesium sulfate for patients with
pre-eclampsia and eclampsia at three teaching hospitals in Addis Ababa, a project expected eventually to improve maternal and fetal outcomes throughout the country. Rey Martorell in public health heads a team working to improve maternal nutrition and nutrition throughout the life cycle. Emory’s nursing school is conducting ongoing work to reduce maternal and infant mortality, supported by an $8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Ashley Mire

Alternative Spring Break:

As part of the nursing school’s Alternative Winter Break program, nursing student Ashley Mire (pictured) spent winter break last year on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Nursing students in the program gave flu vaccines, accompanied local nurses on home visits, and educated elementary, middle, and high school students about hygiene, nutrition, and disease prevention.

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With support from IANPHI, Guinea-Bissau was able to rebuild its “CDC”-like facility (pictured) after the previous one was bombed in a civil war in the late 1990s.

CDCs for the world

One of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau nonetheless had built a functioning public health system by the late 1990s. Then, a bitter civil war destroyed it all. Basic public health measures, like vaccinations of children, dropped precipitously. The country had no way to address ongoing crises like malaria or to respond to a cholera outbreak that killed or sickened thousands. The problem was tailor-made for the goals of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), founded by Emory’s Jeff Koplan and his Finnish counterpart, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Guinea-Bissau joined the list of low-resource countries in which IANPHI helped build public health infrastructure. Bombed facilities were rebuilt; training programs were established; labs were renovated and re-equipped; and a new countrywide surveillance program—incorporating laptops and cell phones—shortened response time to disease outbreaks from weeks to days. IANPHI leveraged assistance from more than 15 partner countries and agencies, including $10 million from the Chinese government. As one of IANPHI’s home bases, Emory also provided key support, helping cover costs of IANPHI’s research and international assistance efforts.

Table of Contents

Community Benefits Report Cover 2011