Our most recent shipments to Cuba continue Global Links’ project to support the healthcare infrastructure in Santiago as it continues to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Because of your generosity, Global Links has been able to provide 11 containers of aid materials with a value of US$1,120,680.40.
Our financial goal to complete this project is $50,000 and we're happy to say that we are half way toward meeting it! Raising the remaining $25,000 will enable us to accomplish key objectives by the end of 2015.
These objectives are:
1) Replacing 25% of the adult beds in the 6* main hospitals that are our focus. Providing improved mattresses made of materials that reduce bed sores and with proper linings to lessen infection spread through contaminated surfaces.
2) Increase the number of functioning operating rooms in the 6 main hospitals that are our focus. Many ORs have been rebuilt but need anesthesia machines, OR tables, and other key medical components to before they can open.
3) Improve the basic laboratory microscopes so the province can increase the number of clinical diagnostics it provides on a daily basis.
4) Strengthen the bibliographic material at the province Universidad de Ciencias Medicas which lost key bibliographical books and journals following Hurricane Sandy.
5) Provide Dialysis Chairs to replace outdated equipment in the dialysis rooms (pic of outdated equipment attached)
Much of the materials needed to meet these objectives must be purchased by Global Links some items are not commonly available through our recovery process. We must work with vendors who focus on equipment for low-resource settings and partner with hospitals outside of our normal catchment area to ensure that the equipment and materials will be put into use immediately and that they can have a long life of service in the hospitals.
Your continued support is needed now more than ever. When you give to help us meet these long-term objectives you’re helping to strengthen the entire health system. Your support at the beginning of this project set the stage for real, sustained relief and rebuilding in Santiago.
Please let the caring and concern that fueled your first gift for Santiago be the foundation for another donation. Join us in taking the long view on this project by making a gift today. Invest in this proven process of Sharing Surplus and Saving Lives.
* Focus hospitals: Hospital Juan Bruno ZayasHospital Saturnino Lora y Cardiocentro ProvincialHospital Psiquiátrico Gustavo MachínHospital Ambrosio GrilloHospital Pediatrico SurHospital Pediátrico Juan de la Cruz
“The Health Care Worker Kits you sent us were invaluable,” said the Provincial Vice-Director of the Ministry of Health in Santiago de Cuba at the closing meeting of Global Links’ site evaluation visit. For four days in April, Global Links staff visited hospitals affected by Hurricane Sandy, evaluating the impact of our support and assessing potential projects. At each hospital, the staff would thank us for the support we had provided and mention the Health Care Worker Kits as one of the key items they appreciated receiving. “Yes.” I responded to the Vice-Director, “Everyone we spoke to highlighted those kits.” The Vice-Director sat down, took off her glasses and quietly responded “They were very valuable; allow me to share my personal story.”
Hurricane Sandy was the strongest Hurricane to impact Santiago de Cuba. A category 2 hurricane, Sandy entered Santiago with winds of up to 220 km per hour, tidal waves of 9 to 10 meters and hours upon hours of rain. The difficult task of cleanup and rebuilding started immediately after the storm had cleared, but the magnitude of damage to the local infrastructure led to a rise in infectious diseases in the area. Cholera, brought back to the Caribbean region through poor sanitary conditions at humanitarian response camps following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, is now one of the epidemiological risks following any disaster in the region. For months after Hurricane Sandy, healthcare workers in Santiago de Cuba canvassed the communities in the province identifying at-risk individuals and transporting patients with cholera to one of the main hospitals for treatment.
“We were at the point where we felt the situation was under control, and we were providing educational visits to the community about basic hygiene to prevent cholera.” explained the Vice-Director. “We were visiting a community in the Sierras – the mountains – when a young doctor stopped at the home of an elderly man whom the neighbors believed was suffering from cholera.” There was only one problem: the doctor had no protective gear with her. They stood outside the house pondering possibilities that would allow the doctor to enter the house without putting her life at risk. Did they assess the situation from the outside, go to the closest hospital for the protective gear and then come back? But this was an area of difficult access, so it would be hours before they could come back and cholera patients cannot spare hours. Then the Vice-Director remembered that she had one of the Health Worker kits we had sent in the trunk of her car. She was able to give the doctor a gown, gloves, and face mask, enabling the doctor to care for the patient with minimal risk to herself.
When we think about medical resources, we sometimes forget to include personnel – and yet of all the resources, they are the most precious. This was brought home to me several times on my recent trip to Cuba. I also saw a lab technician washing microscope slides, a potential biohazard, thankfully wearing gloves from Global Links. Reusing single-use materials is common in the countries where we work and I was glad to see the staff taking precautions to protect themselves.
The health care worker kits were donated to Global Links by a local corporation who had them as preventive measures for a season in which H1N1 was on the rise. Thankfully, there was no pandemic in Pittsburgh and the surplus materials served their purpose protecting Cuban Health care workers battling cholera.
Our project to help Santiago de Cuba recover and rebuild from Hurricane Sandy is now in phase two. In 2014 and 2015, Global Links will be working on strengthening their ORs with anesthesia machines and surgical beds, their patient wards with beds and mattresses, their laboratories with microscopes and testing equipment. And as we worked during that closing meeting on the list of consumable supplies to prioritize during this phase, the Vice-Director smiled and said “And don’t forget to send more Healthcare Worker Kits.”
Our most recent shipment to Cuba continues Global Links’ project to support the healthcare infrastructure in Santiago as it continues to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. On January 30, 2014 Global Links staff packed a container that will furnish12 medical examination rooms in Hospital Saturnino Lora.
From exam tables, stools, desks, chairs, scales and beds to literally hundreds of boxes of supplies, this shipment will provide healthcare professionals with much-needed materials to better serve the population. Thank you for making this important part of the project possible.
As we work to help increase the capacity of the hospitals in and around Santiago we need your continued support to properly finish this phase of the project. Between now and the end of 2015 we have at least 8 more shipments planned.
On Wednesday, February 12 at 9 a.m.(EST) 30% of all gifts to the Huricane Sandy Relief for Santiago, Cuba will be matched. Please take advantage of this generous matching opportunity this Wednesday. It's a way to maximize your support and help Global Links increase its capacity to help those in need.
Thank you for all you do to support Global Links' work in Cuba.
At Global Links we take the long view on all of our health improvement projects and disaster relief is no different. With the financial support of donors like you, we can take a strategic approach to projects, see beyond the immediate needs and put our skills to work rebuilding clinics, hospitals, systems and, ultimately, lives.
In 2008, the Cuban government began to systematically update hospitals in Santiago, including Hospital Saturnino Lora. This 630-bed teaching hospital is an essential part of Cuba’s extensive healthcare system, and is particularly known for cardiovascular care.
By 2010, remodeling at Saturnino Lora had been completed in the cafeteria, laundry, a 60-bed ward in internal medicine, an expanded cardiovascular surgical ward with 8 ICU beds, the operating rooms, and the orthopedic trauma and imaging department. When Hurricane Sandy hit Santiago in the fall of 2012, devastating much of the healthcare infrastructure, the hospital suffered damages that set-back the progress that had been made.
The Cuban government quickly restarted work to rebuild the areas that had been damaged. Working with the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization in Cuba, Global Links prepared two shipments containing 60 beds and 247 mattresses to increase and improve bed capacity at the hospital. The beds will primarily assist the Angiology and Cardiovascular wards which need intensive care beds.
“Please thank everyone at Global Links for the important and efficient work that they are doing and have done during this project to aid Santiago, Cuba.”
-Lic. Justo Cardenas, Administrator, PAHO, Cuba
Global Links is committed to helping the Santiago province rebuild its healthcare system. To date we have provided 8 containers to Santiago to help rebuild the health infrastructure. These containers have focused on the following areas
Phase 1 – 2012 : Post-Disaster Disease control and sustaining the continuity of care – 4 containers
Phase 2 - 2013: Improving Bed capacity in the health system in Santiago – 4 containers
With your continued support we will be able to provide 8 more containers during our next project focus area:
Phase 3 - 2014: Rebuilding primary care offices and examination rooms – 8 containers
Please let the caring and concern that fueled your first gift to the project be the foundation for another donation. Join us in taking the long view on this project by making a gift today. Invest in this proven process of Sharing Surplus and Saving Lives.
A few days ago, Dr. Julio Brossard, a neurosurgeon in Santiago, Cuba, saw a patient for consultation six years after removal of a brain tumor. Dr. Brossard said the patient was memorable for a couple of reasons – he sang a song from his hospital bed for our CEO, Kathleen Hower, and our Deputy Director, Angela Garcia, when they visited the hospital the day before that 2007 operation. And, the bed he was singing from came from Global Links.
“He is a cancer survivor,” wrote Dr. Brossard. “He only has palsy in ocular muscle post radiotherapy but he is alive with a good quality of life.”
Our longstanding relationship with Dr. Brossard and with the Cuban public health system has worked for the benefit of many patients. “My patients receive excellent medical care in Cuba thanks to the work of Global Links and the members of the staff of neurosurgery who perform complicated neurosurgical operations with many surgical tools (surgical microscope, microsurgical instruments, surgical loupes, high-speed drill, surgical drainages, general neurosurgical tools) that we received from Global link during many years.”
Global Links continues to work with hospitals in Santiago and other neighboring cities to recover from the damages sustained under Hurricane Sandy. To date we have provided six containers full of medical furnishings and supplies, and four more shipments are planned for this year.
Dr. Brossard included information about his patients and photographs in a letter of congratulations for the opening of our new headquarters. Having visited Global Links in the past, he understands the impact our efficient new building will have on our ability to provide the kind of targeted donations of sophisticated medical materials his hospital needs.
We hope to work with Dr. Brossard and his colleagues for many years, knowing that this partnership saves lives – and improves lives – in Cuba. We are always happy to hear from our good friend Julio Brossard, and proud to share with you the feedback we receive from all of our partners.
“Congratulations again, dear friends for this very nice day for Global Links, for you and for the world. Julio”
Thank you for supporting out ongoing work in Santiago.
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