Wednesday, May 10, 2006

PHYSICIANS FOR PEACE: Close To Home - All Over The World

Today I am going to write about an organization that is close to home, literally and figuratively. Physicians for Peace is an international, humanitarian, non-profit, medical education organization dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources through:

Its chief goals are:
- Medical education and training,
- Clinical care, and
- Donating medical supplies.

Physicians for Peace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, private organization of volunteers from diverse cultures that encourages financial and in-kind contributions to underwrite its mission-based work. The reason it is close to home is because they are located near where I live, as well as making an effort to do good works.

Physicians for Peace calls itself an international, humanitarian, non-profit, medical education organization dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources and it does this by carrying out its three chief goals.

The organization was established by Dr. Charles E. Horton, Sr., an internationally acclaimed humanitarian and renowned plastic surgeon from Norfolk, Virginia in the US. In the early 1980s he wanted to create a private, volunteer, non-political, non-sectarian organization with respect and compassion for members of all nations. The organization was established as a legal entity in 1989.

More than 90% of the world's disease burden is found in developing nations and yet they have only 10% of the medical resources. This organization exerts great effort to try to reverse this inequity. Focusing exclusively on long term, sustainable, replicable medical education and training, Physicians for Peace sends teams of medical volunteers including physicians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals to places where their teaching and healing skills are needed most, including the Middle East, Central America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and beyond.

Their web site says: "Operating in areas of profound need and scarce resources, Physicians for Peace works diligently to provide unwavering commitment to recruit top-notch volunteers to build the strongest possible relationships with in-country colleagues and execute programs with measurable outcomes. Through the hard work of staff, selfless volunteerism of health professionals, invaluable gifts-in-kind provided by corporations and charitable contributions of individuals, Physicians for Peace goes where medical training assistance is needed, affecting health concerns in those areas and, ultimately, improving the health and lives of the population. …"

"Since the early 1980's, Physicians for Peace has sent teams of medical volunteers, including physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals, on medical missions to places where their healing skills are needed - Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and beyond. Our teams have united doctors from Iran and Iraq, Turkey and Greece, Palestine and Israel, the Philippines and Japan.

"Staying anywhere from one to six weeks, Physicians for Peace teams have trained local medical professionals in host countries while also treating injuries, reshaping eye sockets, correcting urinary and genital defects and fitting prosthetics, among others. Physicians for Peace has repaired burn scars, clubfeet and cleft palates. We have done open-heart surgery, screened and treated diabetes and performed a range of cancer therapies. We have brought modern aspects of pediatric and family health care to people in villages where such care had never before been available.

Physicians for Peace have a

- Burn Care Program
- Dental Program
- Eye Bank & Eyeglass Distribution
- ODU Student Exchange Program
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- Pediatric Ophthalmology Program
- Philippines Project
- Walking Free Program (designed to help amputees) and the
- Women & Children's Health Initiative

I am not going to try to describe all of these programs, but if you visit their web site and look first under "Missions" and then under "Programs" there is plenty of information to be found.

Also, if you want to know what African nations you can find Physicians for Peace's good works, how about: Angola - Benin - Botswana - Burkina Faso - Burundi - Cameroon - Cape Verde - Central African Republic - Chad - Comoros - Congo, Democratic Republic of the - Congo, Republic of - Cote d'Ivoire - Djibouti - Equatorial Guinea - Eritrea - Ethiopia - Gabon - Gambia, The - Ghana - Guinea - Guinea-Bissau - Kenya - Lesotho - Liberia - Madagascar - Malawi - Mali - Mauritania - Mauritius - Mozambique - Namibia - Niger - Nigeria - Rwanda - Sao Tome and Principe - Senegal - Seychelles - Sierra Leone - Somalia - South Africa - Sudan - Swaziland - Tanzania - Togo - Uganda - Zambia - Zimbabwe

Well, I could write a lot more about Physicians for Peace (as you long time readers know) but I have been given strong hints that my articles run too long, and one reader even said that the articles were "tedious." So, I am going to end it here and ask you to visit the web site of this great organization - Physicians for Peace .

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