By: Steve Stirling, President & CEO, MAP International
The needs in our world are heavy. In the U.S., more than 27 million people are uninsured and have little access to affordable healthcare. In underdeveloped countries across the world, 2 billion people do not even have access to basic medicines. Over half of childhood deaths under the age of five are due to preventable diseases. The heartbreaking reality is that everyone gets sick, but not everyone gets medicine.
In addition to these saddening health inequities, there are natural disasters to contend with. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and civil unrest affect more than 100 million people each year, all of which have been further aggravated by this year’s COVID-19 health crisis.
MAP International, a nonprofit global health organization based in Brunswick, GA, believes that all people deserve the chance to experience life to the fullest. No child should die from a disease that could have been easily prevented. No one should suffer the long-term effects of uncontrolled diabetes that could be easily treated with access to the right medications.
To that end, MAP International delivers lifesaving medicines and health supplies to those in need all around the globe. For those living in grinding poverty, having these basic needs met is the ultimate social justice.
In 2020, MAP International reached over 20 million people by doing what they do best: delivering supplies where they are needed most, when they are needed most. Often, this is in the context of disaster: MAP shipped over 42,000 Disaster Health Kits (DHKs) this year in response to numerous crises like the Tennessee tornados, the Beirut explosion, and Hurricane Laura.
Always, this work is in the form of partnerships. Mission hospitals, clinics, and medical mission teams take MAP supplies the last mile to connect directly with those who are suffering. Collaboration is at the core of MAP’s work to “serve the servants,” partnering with other agencies on the ground to help extend their reach into the darkest of conditions. For many agencies, providing these essential medicines and medical supplies themselves is simply impossible.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to ravage our world, MAP International relied heavily on their established network of donors and other partners to respond swiftly and decisively to the mounting health crisis. Working closely with medical personnel, relief partners, hospitals, and government agencies, MAP has sent more than 150 shipments of personal protective equipment and lifesaving supplies to healthcare workers on the frontlines.
MAP’s response to COVID-19 in Fiscal Year 2020 has been significant. We have reached more than 4 million people with critical relief supplies, such as face masks, face shields, exam gloves, and personal care wipes. This figure represents only a fraction of our overall response as nearly every medicine and supply shipment sent by MAP after Jan 2020 contained critical PPE for protecting frontline healthcare workers.
The organization has also adapted their disaster response to now include COVID-19 related supplies for people in shelters. For example, MAP specifically shipped 1,300 DHKs to patients living in isolation centers in Honduras, providing needed hygiene items to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, as part of the disaster response to Hurricanes Eta and Iota, MAP International is shipping nearly 100,000 masks to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Honduras.
If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it is that there is still much work to be done in the fight to achieve global health equity, and that strong leadership in global health is essential. MAP International stands ready to serve as a beacon of hope to those who are suffering, so that whether in disease or in disaster, they might experience hope and healing. Won’t you join us?