In the midst of the deadly global COVID-19 pandemic, MedGlobal urges immediate and urgent action to support refugees, displaced persons, and the most vulnerable communities. MedGlobal warns of the potential for a catastrophic impact of the dangerous virus on refugees and other vulnerable communities, and commits itself to adapting programs in the most effective ways to meet their needs.
“While the global health community and countries are busy with curbing the spread of COVID-19, let us not forget the refugees and the displaced,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, President and Co-founder of MedGlobal. “It is our humanitarian duty, and the right thing to do, to prevent catastrophic morbidity and mortality in a population that is unable to deal with the pandemic effectively.”
There are over 70 million refugees and forcibly displaced persons in the world. They will be the hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many are confined to cramped environments like overcrowded camps or communities in urban areas where disease can rapidly spread. The majority do not have access to basic preventive measures like clean water, soap, cleaning solutions, sufficient sanitation facilities, or the ability to social distance or self-isolate. Refugees and displaced persons are made even more vulnerable by the lack of access to testing, limited access to sufficient medical care like Intensive Care Units in case they contract COVID-19, and damaged or destroyed health infrastructure as a result of conflict. These conditions could easily facilitate the rapid spread of COVID-19, with a mortality rate predicted to be much higher than the general population.
MedGlobal provides free healthcare and life-saving medication to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, displaced Venezuelan in Colombia, and refugees in Greece, in addition to local communities in Pakistan and victims of wars in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Gaza. These communities are bracing for a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak.
The MedGlobal team is acting with urgency to support brave frontline health workers and vulnerable communities during this COVID-19 pandemic. To date, our team has taken the following steps to adapt our operations and respond to COVID-19:
Emergency Needs Assessments: We are working with our teams and partners in Bangladesh, Colombia, Greece, Pakistan, Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria to compile emergency needs assessments to understand the current situation locally and respond in the most effective way for each setting.
Emergency Supplies and Triage Programs: Based on local needs, we are ramping up provision of medical supplies to support local health workers and communities, including soap, washing units, personal hygiene kits, and cleaning solutions; medications, ventilators, oxygen masks, and medical technology for Intensive Care Units; Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) including masks, gowns, gloves and eye shields. With top experts around the world, we are developing emergency triage programs in preparation for potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
New Prevention Measures for our Clinics: Our full-time clinics in Bangladesh and Colombia continue to function, with new infection control and prevention measures implemented in coordination with partners.
Clinical Resources: We are designing resources pertaining to COVID-19 tailored specifically to our field operations, including recommendations on infection control and prevention based on CDC, WHO and UNHCR data; clinical management of suspected cases; and emergency planning in the case of an outbreak.
Educational Online Programs: We are planning webinars and educational programs for the general public, which aim to present the potential impact COVID-19 may have on refugee communities. Our first webinar on COVID-19 is Tuesday, March 24 from 9am-11am CST.
Mental Health Response: We are designing a mental health plan in the context of COVID-19, including a webinar for all staff wellbeing on coping with the COVID-19 threat and a webinar for field staff on how to support patients’ mental health during the pandemic.
MedGlobal will continue to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized, primarily communities of refugees, displaced persons, and others facing crises. We will continue to work with brave health workers across the globe to ensure that we are able to reach and support these communities, who must not be forgotten during this global pandemic.
Join us in supporting health workers on the front lines, helping vulnerable communities preparing for COVID-19 outbreaks.
How healthcare workers in under-resourced areas are benefiting from MedGlobal’s Helping Babies Breathe educational program
Helping Babies Breathe in Bangladesh
By Dr. Lia Harris, Helping Babies Survive Team Lead
Sustainable education; it is the purpose of the train-the-trainer model, which MedGlobal employs, through global partnerships, in developing countries and under-resourced areas.
In June 2019, healthcare workers in Bangladesh were trained as Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) instructors by MedGlobal Master Trainers, in partnership with UNFPA. Participants took a two-day facilitator course and then led the HBB provider course under the supervision of Master Trainers. After completing the course, they graduated with facilitator (instructor) certificates.
In June 2019, healthcare workers in Bangladesh were trained as Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) instructors by MedGlobal Master Trainers, in partnership with UNFPA. Participants took a two-day facilitator course and then led the HBB provider course under the supervision of Master Trainers. After completing the course, they graduated with facilitator (instructor) certificates.
Now, under the supervision of UNFPA midwives, they moved on to lead courses in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to their colleagues who provide health care in the Rohingya refugee camp.
MedGlobal will be returning to Cox’s Bazar in 2020 to mentor these exceptional midwives as Master Trainers. With these skills, they will be able to teach new instructor courses, thus ensuring the sustainability of Helping Babies Breathe education in Cox’s Bazar. With a grant from Laerdal Global Health, MedGlobal will continue to mentor, monitor and evaluate the training via telehealth technology. The greatest measure of the success of our training is we will never need to return to Cox’s Bazar.
Helping babies survive, one baby at a time.
By Dr. Lia Harris
This heartwarming story is about our very own Bangladesh Field Coordinator, Maryam Molla. Maryam was trained as a Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) provider by HBB Master Trainer Volunteer, Dr. Henna Qureshi, in December 2018. Recently, she had the opportunity to use her skills.
A 5-month-old baby arrived at the clinic seizing, no one knew for how long. The baby had no prior history of seizures, fever, or any inciting event. The clinic team recognized the medical emergency; checking blood sugar, which was normal, and providing oxygen. They gave a dose of midazolam, the side effect of which, is known to be respiratory depression. Dr. Maryam knew this and prepared HBB resuscitation equipment.
When the baby became drowsy and started to slow his breathing, she was prepared to use the bag-mask device to support his breathing. She did support his breathing, all the way down the hill to the ambulance, and during the entire bumpy ambulance ride to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, the baby’s seizure had stopped, and he began breathing again. He was admitted to the hospital for further diagnostics and treatment.
Do you know what Rohingya people do when someone is nearing death? They say very loudly, “there is no God other than Allah, verily I have been amongst the wrongdoers.” This baby’s parents were saying this all the while Dr. Maryam was supporting his breathing, but I am so happy to report that his life was saved that day, thanks to Dr. Maryam and her HBB skills.
When the baby became drowsy and started to slow his breathing, she was prepared to use the bag-mask device to support his breathing. She did support his breathing, all the way down the hill to the ambulance, and during the entire bumpy ambulance ride to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, the baby’s seizure had stopped, and he began breathing again. He was admitted to the hospital for further diagnostics and treatment. Do you know what Rohingya people do when someone is nearing death? They say very loudly, “there is no God other than Allah, verily I have been amongst the wrongdoers.” This baby’s parents were saying this all the while Dr. Maryam was supporting his breathing, but I am so happy to report that his life was saved that day, thanks to Dr. Maryam and her HBB skills.
Helping Babies Breathe in Pakistan
MedGlobal recently deployed an educational mission to Pakistan in November 2019. Along with local partner, Indus Hospital, MedGlobal and volunteers provided training to health care professionals in Helping Babies Breathe. A group of those participants was trained as instructors (Master Trainers).
Now, those Master Trainers are moving on to train their colleagues in the region, furthering the impact and sustainability of the MedGlobal HBB program.
Training traditional birth attendants of the community in Helping Babies Breathe at Bhong, South Punjab. Each participant is given a neonatal resuscitator and is committed to sharing delivery data.
To support our Helping Babies Breathe program – donate today!
Announcing Training Mission to Pakistan: March 2020!
This will be MedGlobal’s second Pakistan mission to train local medical providers at Indus Health Network. Training throughout the week will include Point of Care Ultrasound, Basic Life Support, Empathy Training, and Helping Babies Breath curriculum.
Pakistan currently ranks near the top 10% infant mortality rate in the world and there is less than 1 doctor for every 1,000 patients with disproportionate coverage in rural communities. We are excited to continue our partnership with Indus Health Network and provide life-saving training to their medical providers. Indus Health Network hospitals, clinics, and rehab centers provide excellence-driven, comprehensive, and compassionate services, free of charge. Together, we are striving to build replicable healthcare systems accessible to all.
MedGlobal’s diverse team of volunteers unify with local partner to reduce healthcare gaps in Pakistan
MedGlobal recently deployed an educational mission to Pakistan in November 2019. Along with local partner, Indus Hospital, MedGlobal and volunteers provided training to health care professionals in adult & obstetrics ultrasound, Helping Babies Breathe, and patient-centered consultations.
Meet the amazing team of volunteer medical providers from the United States and Canda. They have given their time to travel across the world and help the people Pakistan.
Dr. Hena Ibrahim
Dr. Hena Ibrahim graduated Cum Laude in International Relations and Pre-Medicine from Loyola University, after which she studied medicine at St George’s University. She returned to her native Chicago to undertake her pediatric residency at Cook County Hospital. She is currently in private practice at Saint Anthony Hospital, where she also served as Medical Director of Ambulatory Services.
She is board-certified in Pediatrics and has been teaching both medical students and residents for the last ten years. Dr. Ibrahim began her medical relief work in 2016 assisting Syrian refugees, stranded in Greece, along the Macedonian border. Since then, she has participated in and led medical missions to various countries, including Jordan and Bangladesh. She currently serves on the MedGlobal’s Board of Directors and has been with the organization since it was created in 2017.
Dr. Henna Qureshi
Dr. Henna Qureshi is a board-certified pediatrician at the Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Virginia and an Assistant Professor for Pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Qureshi received the honors; Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Teaching, VCU School of Medicine (2017 and 2018), Inova Fairfax Hospital Primary Care Pediatrician of the Year (2016, 2018), and Top Community Preceptor (2015 – 2016).
She volunteers her time to performing humanitarian work, disaster relief work, and refugee medicine serving as the Pediatric chair for MedGlobal, the local chapter of the Human Development Foundation, as well as the Global Health Advisor for Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Residency program.
Her global health experience includes working in Haiti, Central America, Pakistan, Malawi, and caring for Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Greece. Over the last two years, she has continued her international medical work with a focus on the Rohingya refugee population. She made several trips to Bangladesh with OBAT Helpers and Medglobal.
Dr. Sadaf Lodhi
Dr. Sadaf Lodhi completed her undergraduate education at the University of Michigan in Biochemistry followed by medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 2000. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Joseph Mercy in Pontiac, Michigan.
Dr. Lodhi then moved to New York and worked with private practices. She then spent about nine years working for a community health center caring for underserved women, complex GYN issues, performing surgeries, and attending hundreds of births.
Dr. Lodhi volunteers her time as a board examiner for the American Board of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists and is an active member of the American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Board of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Institute for Functional Medicine.
Dr. Paul Holtrop
Dr. Paul Holtrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and is a neonatologist with over thirty years of experience. He attended medical school at the University of Michigan and spent the bulk of his neonatology career at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan, USA.
Dr. Holtrop is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Perinatal-Neonatal Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Holtrop is certified as a Master Trainer in Helping Babies Breathe.
Dr. Jeff Pollard
Dr. Jeff Pollard is a Clinical Associate Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Calgary in Western Canada with a cross-appointment in Diagnostic Imaging. He has taught obstetrical ultrasound skills to Obstetricians, Midwives, Radiologists, Family Doctors, Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging fellows, residents, and medical students, as well as sonography students and graduates. His current work is primarily clinical and his interests are prenatal diagnosis and maternal conditions that impact the fetus.
Dr. Sarah Shihadeh
Dr. Sarah Shihadeh is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, USA, where she works closely with residents and medical students. Dr. Shihadeh’s interests focus on academic medicine, which has resulted in scholarly pursuits and publishing at reputable conferences over the past 6 years.
Dr. Shihadeh has a particular interest in ultrasound and is currently the ultrasound co-leader for the Mount Sinai Health System. In addition to her clinical role, Dr. Shihadeh also has administrative responsibilities as the Director of Clinical Operations for the Hospitalist Division and is the Unit Medical Director for a Telemetry Unit at her practice site. In this role, Dr. Shihadeh works to identify ways to improve the day to day operations for medical providers and support staff, quality assurance and working with the residency division to improve teaching quality and workflow.
Finally, Dr. Shihadeh has taken an interest in integrative medicine and has recently been accepted in a fellowship program that will begin in Spring 2020.
Dr. Mark Supino
Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Dr. Mark Supino completed a Bachelors Degree in Biology at McGill University and then went to medical school at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Supino completed specialty residency training in Emergency Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago USA.
After completing residency training, he moved to Miami, Florida, six years ago to establish the Emergency Medicine residency program at Jackson Memorial Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in the country.
Dr. Supino’s academic interests include simulation, uropathogens, education-innovation, and ultrasound.
Dr. Michael Drusano
Dr. Michael Drusano is a Family-Medicine trained physician from the United States with experience in community health, complex humanitarian emergency response and education. He has worked in a variety of diverse locales including Haiti, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Botswana, and a few others.
In recent years, he has taken a focus on refugee health and assistance as well as education by teaching community health volunteers in refugee camps and co-organizing a point-of-care ultrasound course for health professionals with MedGlobal.
Ms. Harriet Hawkins
Ms. Harriet Hawkins has been in the nursing profession for fifty years, having subsequently completed numerous specialty certifications as a Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse, Critical Care Registered Nurse and as an instructor and faculty of numerous resuscitation and trauma courses in the United States. Harriet is a Fellow of the Academy of Emergency Nursing.
Harriet has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including the Exemplar Nurse Humanitarian Award and a nomination for the American Red Cross Heroes Award. Harriet is certified as a Helping Babies Breathe Master Trainer and has delivered courses to medical professionals all over the world.
Dr. Saad Feroz
Dr. Saad Feroz completed medical school at East Virginia Medical School in Virginia and is currently completing specialty residency training in Pediatrics at Fairfax Children’s Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.
Dr. Feroz has a strong background in professional presentations and publications and has several on-going scholarly activities. He is certified as a Helping Babies Breathe Master Trainer and was thrilled to join the team in Pakistan.
Dr. Fozia Saleem-Rasheed
Dr. Fozia Saleem-Rasheed is a board-certified neonatologist who practices at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. She attended medical school at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and went on to complete her residency training in pediatrics at William Beaumont Hospital.
Dr. Saleem-Rasheed then completed her fellowship training in neonatology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She has an interest in global health, particularly in the areas of South Asia and the Middle East.
Dr. Aisha Mirza
Dr. Aisha Mirza was born in Lahore, Pakistan and her parents immigrated to Canada when she was just two years old. She has been stuck in the cold ever since and appreciated the warm welcome back to Pakistan. She is an Emergency Physician at a large urban teaching Hospital in Edmonton, Canada. She has been staff for 12 years and during this time she has expanded her interest in point of care ultrasound.
Dr. Mirza is an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta and a Master Instructor for the Canadian Point of Care Ultrasound Society. She teaches and implements point of care ultrasound courses for medical students, residents, and physicians.
She was recently awarded the Ivan Steiner Award for Teaching Excellence by the emergency medicine residents, but more importantly (if you ask her) her indoor soccer (football) team won first place in their division and is now competing in the Premier League.
Dr. Sharad Patel
Dr. Sharad Patel is a Critical Care Specialist who completed medical school at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. After completing medical school, Dr. Patel completed both Nephrology and Critical Care Fellowships before becoming an Assistant Professor at Cooper-Rowan University.
Dr. Patel is also the Ultrasound Director for Cooper Critical Care. He is currently certified in Internal Medicine, Nephrology and Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. Ludwig Koeneke-Hernandez
Dr. Ludwig Koeneke-Hernandez completed medical school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, USA, and is currently completing specialty residency training in Emergency Medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Koeneke-Hernandez has served in several leadership roles during his education and training, including service as the President of the American Medical Association Medical Student Section.
Dr. Bess Storch
Dr. Bess Storch completed specialty residency training in both Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine following completion of medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Stock is an instructor that teaches ultrasound to medical students and residents at the patient’s bedside and has performed hundreds of ultrasounds in her clinical practice, including FAST exam for trauma, renal, cardiac, gallbladder, pelvic, soft tissue, DVT, aorta, lung, and ultrasound-guided procedures for central lines, peripheral IV lines, and paracentesis.
Dr. Minal Ahson
Dr. Minal Ahson is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of South Florida in Tampa, USA. She received her undergraduate and medical school from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, an internship from the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey, and a residency from the University of South Florida.
Dr. Ahson has an MSPH in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has traveled around the world working in underserved settings and areas with refugee populations. She currently serves as chairperson of the Volunteers and Networks Committee for MedGlobal.
To support MedGlobal’s work in Pakistan, donate today!
Volunteer Reflection: Reducing the rate of infant mortality in Pakistan through Helping Babies Breathe
“Imagine you are at the delivery of a baby and the baby does not breathe or cry when born. No one knows what to do and the baby dies and the mother weeps. Now imagine you are at a similar delivery where the baby does not cry, but because you are there and have completed training in Helping Babies Breathe, you help the baby to breathe and she cries, becomes pink, and is then held by her mother.”
I forgot how powerful the opening of a Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) course is. Participants close their eyes while a leader tells the above story – which is especially potent in a country like Pakistan where the infant mortality rate is ten times higher than that of the United States. Fortunately, for the continuation of the human race, about 90% of infants breathe spontaneously when born. Most of the remaining 10% will breathe with basic resuscitation maneuvers, but in poor and underserved areas of countries like Pakistan, such babies are often simply left to die and are considered stillborns.
I recently returned from a mission in Pakistan with MedGlobal where I taught HBB to several participants. I am happy to say that I think we helped to decrease the number of infants who will not get adequate care if they do not breathe at birth. A variety of students attended the course – several of which were physicians in Pakistan whom we trained to be Master Trainers of HBB, people who are now qualified to go out to areas to run their own HBB courses. The idea is to have better resuscitation practices spread exponentially. The Master Trainers will move on to train more trainers and providers, and so on, until caregivers even in the most remote areas know how to help babies breathe at birth. We also taught several students, who are now qualified to assist with newborn resuscitation at deliveries, as well as students who can help master trainers teach HBB courses.
It was also a rewarding time for me, personally. The people of Pakistan were gracious and appreciative of our efforts. In addition to seeing HBB benefit the people of Pakistan, it was great to be part of the MedGlobal team. We ate breakfast and dinner together and bonded over our experiences. It’s not often that a guy like me gets to be part of a team anymore, so I enjoyed that in Pakistan.
Although I knew that Pakistan was far from a first world country, I was still taken aback by how poor it is. A common sight is a family of three or four, including very small children, riding together on one motorcycle, not a helmet in sight. Car seats? I did not see one in my week there. On a tour of one of the hospitals and clinics there, I asked our host, a family physician, if they advised their families to use car seats. She smiled at me benevolently and said, “the families I care for cannot afford cars.”
Maybe I should not be surprised that in a country that lacks such basic health and safety resources, some children are simply left to die because they do not breathe on their own at birth, but it is heartbreaking none the less – the health care needs are vast. It was gratifying for me to make a small dent in the need by teaching HBB, yet there is so much to do.
If you are like me, you are inundated with charitable donation requests, and you like receiving these requests about as much as I like making such a request. But the simple fact is that the projects that MedGlobal runs to improve health disparities in countries like Pakistan cost money, so please consider donating. Having been there, I can tell you this: it is a worthy cause.
Volunteer Reflections: Training health care professionals in Karachi, Pakistan
By MedGlobal Volunteer, Dr. Aisha Mirza, Associate Clinical Professor University of Alberta Department of Emergency Medicine
“One thing at a time, and all things in succession, that which grows slowly endures.”
Have you heard of the flow state? Flow state is the ability to be deeply immersed in the moment of being that time loses meaning. Some people achieve this feeling only while on vacation, where the days pass so quickly and before you realize – it is all over. Flow state is a mindful state of being and can be the source of much personal growth, reward, and happiness.
People often ask, “how can you work in the Emergency Room without burning out?” The ER is a place of chaotic structure – the ultimate juxtaposition of life. A place where life begins, ends, and everything in between. It is humbling to witness the circle of life so acutely and without filter.
In the ER, I am using my capabilities at maximum capacity and interacting fully with each person. My ultimate goal is to align the care I provide with the patient’s needs at the moment. The energy and commitment it takes will often take me to a flow state and, before realizing it, my shift comes to an end.
While at the MedGlobal Pakistan Mission in Karachi, done in partnership with The Indus Hospital, I was in a flow state for the entire week.
The mission had four principal concurrent components, which were; Compassion & Empathy Workshop, Helping Babies Breathe, Obstetrical Emergencies with Antenatal Ultrasound, and Adult Point of Care Ultrasound. It was a privilege to play a role in such a profound initiative.
First, I gave primacy of place to the Compassion & Empathy Workshops. These workshops had over 500 attendees, with diverse backgrounds, who partook in role-playing and intense discussions. Physicians, nurses, health care workers, administrative staff, researchers, hospital greeters, and many others gathered to learn new ways of demonstrating empathy for patients in difficult situations. It was the ultimate reminder of our collective goal for reducing healthcare disparity in the world. The course would not have been possible without Dr. Minal Ahson (the founder and creator of our Compassion & Empathy curriculum) and Dr. Abdul Bari Khan.
Second, the Helping Babies Breathe group worked hard to deliver life-saving training through a novel, hands-on, and role-playing methods using baby ‘Natalie.’ Many participants taking part in this course felt that it provided a strong base to approach births in low resource areas. A secondary goal was to train local master instructors within the class who would continue to deliver the course to future participants. Dr. Henna Qureshi and nurse Harriet Hawkins were instrumental in leading a team of physicians who put in long hours towards this initiative.
Third, Obstetrical Emergencies and the Antenatal Ultrasound course included an expert in the field of maternal-fetal medicine, Dr. Jeff Pollard, to train physicians. The principal at a local midwives college called our MedGlobal lead Dr. Hena Ibrahim to share her gratitude.“Never in a million years would I have imagined that my graduates would have the opportunity to take part in such an advanced care initiative and learning opportunity. I am so proud of my learners for elevating their knowledge through this course,” she expressed. The team lead, Dr. Mike Drusana, put in countless volunteer hours to the creation and implementation of this course.
Finally, my role was to work with a group of physicians and provide two Adult Point of Care Ultrasound Courses. Through comprehensive lectures and breakout, hands-on sessions with the ultrasound machines, our participants learned and practiced the art of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS). Many participants traveled from low-resource areas to take this course.
Donations from MedGlobal donors funded the purchase of ten new portable ultrasounds, called Butterfly iQs, for distribution within the lowest resource areas in Pakistan. Our goal is to continue to provide support to our graduates through online assessments of ultrasound images past participants generate over the next few months. We hope that graduates of this course continue to develop their skills and deliver this course to their colleagues. Dr. Sarah Shihadeh, our team lead, put in countless hours of work to ensure our POCUS providers, Dr. Mark Supino, Dr. Bess Storch, Dr. Sharad Patel, Dr. Ludwig Koeneke Hernandez and myself were well-equipped to provide a value-add course to the participants.
During our last scanning days in the hospital, one of the resident physicians, Dr. Hajira Nauman, shared how she was able to utilize her new skills. She imaged right heart strain in a patient with portal venous thrombosis after only two days of training. This experience motivated her to continue using this skill and building her bedside ultrasound expertise. “Thank you, Dr. Aisha,” she said, “I can’t believe I was able to do this, and I am so excited to continue to use the skills I have learned in this workshop.”
Support MedGlobal’s mission bridging healthcare gaps in Pakistan – donate today!
“Breathe, Baby, Breathe!” Why I am joining MedGlobal on a mission to teach neonatal resuscitation in Pakistan
Breathe, baby breathe! Imagine being at the delivery of a baby that you are assigned to care for – and that the baby does not breathe when born. If you are trained in what to do and have the right equipment to do so, you can usually help the baby out pretty well. But if you don’t know what to do, things can go sour quickly and have far-reaching consequences for the baby. You might find yourself uttering the above words, which are not particularly helpful.
And that is why I am going on a medical mission to Pakistan to help teach neonatal resuscitation.
I am a Neonatologist who, after practicing in the U.S.A. for many years, now has time to help in countries in need. In November 2019, I will be in Pakistan with MedGlobal teaching neonatal resuscitation skills to physicians and midwives in a program called Helping Babies Breathe.
Pakistan has a high infant mortality rate – the number of babies who die in the first year of life is 61 per 1,000 – ten times higher than the rate in the United States. Most babies, when born, start breathing on their own or with a little stimulation shortly after birth. However, some kids – about 10% – are a little unclear on this concept and need resuscitation to start breathing, and skillful resuscitation can make a big difference in the outcome for that baby.
To help address this, MedGlobal is sending a team to Karachi, Pakistan, with a four pronged mission. One of these is Helping Babies Breathe, which teaches good resuscitation practices. The other focuses of the mission are prenatal ultrasound for expectant mothers; adult ultrasound skills for all adults; and teaching empathy for patients. Please note that this is a teaching mission. We are not simply going in for a week and caring for patients and then coming back. Rather, we are training people there to provide this care and also train other people there. To borrow from an old proverb, we aren’t just giving someone a fish; we are teaching them to fish, and teaching them how to teach others to fish.
The cost of the equipment for the mission is $30,000 and so far we have raised $10,000. Equipment used includes baby training mannequins, with the catchy name of NeoNatalie, as well as bags and masks – equipment used to help babies breathe when they don’t do it on their own. Other equipment needed includes ultrasound probes, those things that tickle you when you get an ultrasound, and other miscellaneous equipment.
MedGlobal is a good organization. 92.4% of their budget goes to programs, with only 4.3% to administration and 3.3 % to fundraising. I understand that there are many other good charities out there, but please consider this one – and the babies whose lives will be improved by it.
So, take a breath and decide whether you want to donate. If you wish to do so, please click below to donate! For $20, you can supply Pakistan with a newborn resuscitation mask that will be used when saying, “Breathe, Baby, Breathe!”
The only downside of the trip that I can see? The temperature in Karachi in November is supposed to be in the mid-nineties. Yikes!
4 reasons MedGlobal is sending medical trainers to Pakistan
MedGlobal is sending a group of medical professionals from the United States and Canada, who are experts in their field, to train in the areas of Pediatrics, Adult & OB medicine and will be donating all training equipment as well as portable Butterfly Ultrasounds (which attach to a tablet or smartphone).
Over the last year, MedGlobal made large efforts in creating a program to ensure a long-term and sustainable impact on Pakistan’s most urgent needs. These are four reasons that the organization is embarking on this vital journey to Pakistan.
1. Pakistan suffers from a lack of resources, particularly in rural areas.
According to the United Nations’ Human Development Index, Pakistan ranks 150 out of 189 countries in the world – well below average for other countries in the South Asian region. While strides have been made in development, the effects have not equally impacted all areas of the country, with a particular lack of resources in rural areas. 
2. Disproportionate access to medical care between urban and rural communities
There is currently less than 1 doctor for every 1,000 patients in Pakistan, with a disproportionate lack of coverage of medical care in rural communities. In rural areas, there are disparities in healthcare delivery and an imbalance in the health workforce, with insufficient health managers, nurses, paramedics and skilled birth attendants in rural areas. 
3.Infant Mortality amongst the highest in the world
Pakistan ranks near the top 10% infant mortality rate in the world with 61 deaths per 1,000 live births. The main causes of neonatal deaths in 2015 were 39.3% prematurity, 20.9% birth asphyxia, and trauma and 17.2% sepsis.
Lack of access to health care and facilities is hindering proper care for thousands of infants in the country, specifically in rural areas. 26% of women in rural areas made at least 4 antenatal care visits, compared to 62% of women in urban areas. 44% of births in rural areas are covered by skilled attendants, compared to 71% in urban areas. 9% of newborns in rural areas receive postnatal care within 2 days after birth, a significant contrast to the 52% in urban areas. 
4.Lack of antenatal care for pregnant women
Proper antenatal care significantly decreases maternal and neonatal mortality. Less than 40% of women in Pakistan receive the recommended minimum antenatal care of at least 4 doctor’s office visits during pregnancy. Some causes for lack of coverage and low quality are the distances to facilities, lack of facility resources, and staff availability.
Creating Master Trainers for Helping Babies Breathe, a course developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Together with the Indus Health Network, the MedGlobal team will provide training to 50 participants in Helping Babies Breathe, with a focus on providing certification as Master Trainers and Facilitators.
This training is done in a Train-the-Trainer model, where new Master Trainers and Facilitators will be certified to teach providers throughout the country.
Adult and Perinatal Ultrasound Training to rural healthcare professionals
The ultrasound courses will take place in low-resource settings and will target up to 30 participants. They will be training on basic diagnosis and managing of life-threatening illnesses, as well as the use of hand-held portable ultrasounds. This state-of-the-art technology, called the Butterfly Ultrasound, helps save lives all over the world.
MedGlobal will provide point-of-care ultrasound probes after the training to regions with the greatest need. All trainees participating in the training courses will also be provided with training in Empathy.
Your generous support will help make this mission a success. MedGlobal plans to repeat these missions 2-3 times a year in Pakistan. Donate today!
MedGlobal preventing neonatal deaths around the world with Helping Babies Survive training
Helping Babies Survive (HBS) is a suite of hands-on, evidence-based educational training programs that include Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB), and Essential Care for Small Babies (ECSB). Designed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the training is aimed at reducing neonatal mortality in resource-limited environments by addressing the three most common causes of preventable neonatal deaths; complications during childbirth, complications from preterm birth, and neonatal infections.
MedGlobal trained volunteers to become Master Trainers in the program. The two-day course in Essential Care for Every Baby and Essential Care for Small Babies took place on September 7-8 at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
Volunteers receiving Master Trainer Certificates in Essential Care for Every Baby and Essential Care for Small Babies.
MedGlobal is sending volunteers to Pakistan and Yemen to train local healthcare professionals in Helping Babies Breathe, which is part of the Helping Babies Survive program in November. Please support the missions by donating today!
MedGlobal seeking volunteers to join upcoming mission in Pakistan
According to the United Nations’ Human Development Index, Pakistan ranks 150 out of 189 countries in the world – well below average for other countries in the South Asian region. While strides have been made in development, the effects have not equally affected all areas of the country, with a particular lack of resources in rural areas. There is currently less than 1 doctor for every 1,000 patients in Pakistan, with a disproportionate coverage of medical care in rural communities. Conditions such as acute diarrheal illness and malnutrition continue to be prominent, with 45% of children under 5 years of age meeting the criteria for moderate to severe stunting due to malnutrition. 
Together with the Indus Health Network, MedGlobal will be taking a team of trainers to provide training courses in Helping Babies Breathe, Adult and Perinatal Ultrasound and Empathy Training to healthcare professionals from rural areas around Pakistan. The mission will be based in Karachi, Pakistan, from November 17 through 24, 2019.
We are currently in need of instructors in Helping Babies Breathe, Adult Point-of-Care Ultrasound, and Perinatal Point-of-Care Ultrasound. If you are interested in joining this mission, please contact [email protected].
If you are not able to volunteer, please consider donating today!