As with so many other major world disasters, only weeks after its news value has declined, few people will even remember what happened in Nepal and the ongoing crises that will be plaguing its people for years to come.
Following the total destruction of transportation and support networks in multiple areas, the limited medical care formerly available to children and the elderly in more remote areas around Kathmandu has now become no medical care. As in so many other places worldwide, infrastructural disruption carries not only a physical and mental health burden, but political and sociological overtones as well. People struggle to regroup and restructure in the absence of home, community and loved ones. The mental and physical problems engendered are long-term. Short-term aid is increasingly unsuitable.
"It is great that doctors from across the globe landed in Nepal to treat the injured. But there was an oversupply in heavily populated areas, and we were not able to allot some of them their area of work. For example, there were more than 80 doctors waiting for deployment, while 250 were already working on the field."
- Dr. Khem Karki Nepal Health Research Council
The IMCRA program transcends these difficulties by using both internet and mobile phone networks to provide continuous interactive assistance to permanent medical personnel who will be dealing with these issues for months and years. Moreover, IMCRA has reached out to the people of Nepal not because the need is greatest there, (viz the incredible suffering and misery in Syria and Iraq), but because we can be effective and do some good in what is presently a reasonably stable cultural environment.
We have been assembling a faculty of Nepalese medical experts in crisis remediation headed by Dr. Padam Neopane of the Nepal Medical Association in the US. These native-language educational modules are being assembled for our website and will be available to the people and medical professionals of Nepal for the next two years.
Any support received for honoraria for these dedicated professionals will be greatly appreciated.
The IMCRA Team
Over the last two months, in addition to our Ebola work, IMCRA has held several meetings with the regional medical authorities in Shenzhen China regarding the issue of pediatric diabetes.
Shenzhen is a microcosm and a model for what is happening in Westernizing nations all over the world. Once traditional diets and levels of physical activity are traded for the fast food and consumerism perceived as particularly attractive in emerging nations, there is a concommittant decline in basic health. This accompanies an increased incidence of lifestyle-related conditions like heart disease, some cancers, and especially diabetes.
In January and again in March IMCRA staffers met with representatives from the 4th People's Hospital in Shenzhen to design a pilot program for diabetes awareness and prtevention, aimed not just at schoolchildren and their parents, but at general practitioners in local communities who are generally unaware of the signs of pre-diabetes in children and adolescents.
The IMCRA program, in collaboration with regional health authorities, reaches out to both these target groups with compelling interactions on lifestyle choices, health threats, long-term health implications, and finally treating fully-emergent disease. Lessons learned in this program are applicable not only to China but to emerging nations everywhere - as well as domestically. When children are victimized by a fully-preventable condition, the fault lies firmly with us if we do little to help them.
And here's where and why your help and partnership are so important. This program will take place, and will spawn similar programs, but as ever we are faced with web-hosting costs, venue and travel expenses, materials dissemination and even an occasianal honorarium for especially devoted medical faculty.
Think of it this way, your kind support will be a form of long-term insurance for providing our children with a healthier, and ultimately more satisfying life.
It's been the same old problem. A disaster occurs...the international clinical and control teams sweep in...21st Century Western medicine puts on a high impact show...and then they leave; and things go back to normal.
We cannot afford that with infectious diseases like Ebola. IMCRA's mission to make certain that we hit the problem hard at the epicenters of disease. We aim for the places where a poor understanding of nutrition, resistance, hygiene and medical care is common among the people and substandard techniques of diagnosis, isolation, surveillance and treatment are frequent among their caregivers.
In late September we began working with IMANI house in Liberia to reach clinics around Monrovia in areas like Jahtondo Town, Brewerville and the Po River district. IMCRA faculty are experts in infectious disease and and containment and will make themselves accessible via our interactive instructional programs and apps for the hand-held devices in use in some of the more remote regions. Your donations now will help make these programs blossom and continue and will help our firends at IMANI house extend their educational services in regions with a high potential of being impacted by Ebola.
We've also entered into an operational partnership with Research Associates Laboratory and Biopttica to deploy rapid, multisample DNA/RNA Ebola detection devices to field clinics in Liberia, Guinea and Senegal. These systems provide:
As always, it is your donations that will help us carry through these critical programs. Ultimately these efforts must reach beyond western Africa. In a world where highly infectious diseases can be carried globally in hours, education and containment are our most powerful weapons.
In late July of this year IMCRA was contacted by representatives of the United Nations Foundation with an invitation to join the Every Woman Every Child initiative. This program is spearheaded by the UN's Secretary General Mr. Ban-Ki Moon and aims to mobilize and intensify global action to improve the health of woman and children around the world.
Since IMCRA has a particular and growing focus on early childhood and perinatal health in China, Vietnam and Indonesia we were selected to expand our offerings to address particular medical issues impacting pregnancy, childbirth and the the first year or two afterward.
Among the issues determined by the United Nations to be seriously in need of remediation are: a) poor clinical practice by doctors seeing pregnant women, b) cultural and personal behaviors deleterious to successful childbirth and child rearing such as smoking, poor diet and overwork, c) use of commercial formulas rather than breastfeeding.
IMCRA is committed to providing healthcare workers with updated, native-language expert advice on best clinical practice for pregnant women, recently-delivered women, and their young children. Although joining the UNFPA team officially on 25 September improves our reach and effectiveness, it is your financial help that will enable us to both revamp our website appropriately and successfully recruit and utilize expert faculty to deliver the messages that are so badly needed globally.
Your help in this very important work with even a small donation will go far.
George and the IMCRA Team
It has now been an incredible month and a half since the almost incomprehensible tragedy of the Sewol ferry disaster near Jeju Island in South Korea. Officially 288 people are confirmed dead, the majority being high school students on a field trip and their teachers. The negligence and disorganization of those responsible for the safety of passengers is particularly disturbing as it compounded the inability of the young to comprehend the deadliness of their situation as they laughed, texted each other and planned facebook posts.
The impact of this disaster is profound, not only for the parents and families of the lost, but for the survivors as well, all of whom will bear these deep emotional scars for decades. In order to approach one avenue of long-term help, IMCRA has recruited the services of several New-York area and Korea-based psychotherapists specializing in post-disaster therapy to help ease the pain and suffering of the survivors. To date, Dr. Benedict Sungho Kim, Dr. Simon Shin and several other Korean medical specialists have either completed or are in the process of completing outreach modules on the IMCRA system in both English and Korean. These resources are targeted at both survivors and families - as well as physicians and psychosocial specialists who may find themselves being consulted.
As IMCRA faculty have pointed out, the impact of this tragedy is much greater than the Sewol because it brings up underlying currents of unresolved disquiet in the Korean psyche associated with memories of war, the North and living under multiple threats. To date the IMCRA Korean program has been accessed by nearly 2000 users. We are committed to involving more experts and extending the program to be as useful as possible. Any support you can provide to this undertaking will help us accomplish this . The program can be accessed at http://www.imcra.org/Video.aspx?ContentItem.ItemID=412 The new access page for the system is shown below. Thank you.
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