7 Medical Organizations Fighting Evil
In these crazy times, it seems like more people than ever are going without the vital medicines and treatments they need. This is especially the case in Third World countries, which are torn by war, poverty, or both. Tragically, citizens of these ravaged nations often lack access to medical services that we take for granted, and hundreds die each day as a result. However, there are signs of hope on the horizon. In recent years, international medical organizations have stepped up the effort to bring medical care to the parts of the world where it is most urgently needed. In this article, we'll profile seven of these evil-fighting organizations and what makes them special.
1) Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders (or Médecins Sans Frontières) is a humanitarian organization that brings emergency aid and medical help to people who are harmed in epidemics, armed conflict, or disasters, whether natural or man-made. The organization is comprised of nurses, administrators, water sanitation experts, logisticians, and other professionals that depart on some 4,700 across 60 different countries each year. This highly trained staff also works alongside over 25,800 locally hired workers in the various countries being cared for. Some of the care Doctors Without Borders provides includes surgeries, the opening and running of clinics, vaccination campaigns, and even mental health care.
UNICEF is an international organizing specializing in AIDS/HIV prevention, equality of access to education, and as importantly, quality medical care for children. Because it is one of the largest organizations of its kind, UNICEF has the connections and resources to work with governments, corporations, and international agencies in its efforts to keep children safe and healthy. The organization's approach is to work at all stages of the child's life cycle, ensuring a safe pregnancy, birth, vaccinations, and safe conditions during upbringing.
3) The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The IFRC bills itself as "the world's largest humanitarian organization", with 186 member National Societies. Guided by its fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universiality, the IFRC extends the Red Cross' health and disaster management ethos to a worldwide scale. It is comprised of a worldwide network of volunteers and national governments working together on preventing disease, containing epidemics, and providing psychosocial care to communities in need around the world. Like UNICEF, IFRC is working diligently toward the fulfillment of the Millenium Development Goals in 2015.
4) Direct Relief International
Direct Relief international focuses primarily on "strengthening fragile health systems", which means visiting poor areas with unsafe or outdated health practices and helping to bring them up to speed. The organization achieves this by maintaining a corps of highly trained workers who are equipped to deal with the unique needs and dire circumstances of Third World countries. For those unsure of which medical organizations to donate to, Direct Relief International is most assuredly a safe bet. Forbes Magazine rated Direct Relief 100% efficient in fundraising in 2007 for the sixth straight year.
5) International Medical Corps
IMG bills itself as a "global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs." Its main goal is a broad effort to improve quality of life in Third World communities through such activities as health intervention and training. One thing that IMC is especially well known for is its penchant for providing medical care to the people who are at the highest risk of danger or disease, as well as the organization's flexibility in responding to emergencies or disasters. Above all, IMC works to bring the areas that it helps back to a state of self-reliance.
6) Operation Smile
Because Third World nations are so poor, they cannot afford access to advanced medical procedures like reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, Operation Smile has stepped in to fill this pressing void. Founded in 1982, Operation Smile currently supports missions to 26 different countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Jordan, Kenya, and the Gaza Strip. Since that time, the organization has provided reconstructive surgery to over 115,000 children in young adults. Additionally, Operation Smile has trained thousands of healthcare professionals to assist in related missions all around the world.
A self-described "catalyst for global health", PATH's work reaches over 70 countries and addresses a number of different health needs in those countries. One of PATH's major focuses is on spreading health technologies, such as diagnostics, vaccine delivery, safe injection, safe water, and newborn health technology, to the poor parts of the world that need them the most. Other activities include controlling diarrheal diseases and cervical cancer prevention, as well as offering emergency contraception services in areas where the pre-existing services are not adequate.
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