Friday, August 12, 2011

A Desperate Need

If you are a reader of these posts you know that last fall I went to Africa with several members of the CMMB board of directors.

CMMB is a nonprofit, faith based organization that provides and delivers aid throughout the world without regard to creed, race, sex or national or political circumstance. It is a noble mission statement and they succeed at it based upon my observations.
CMMB stands for Catholic Medical Mission Board. It was founded a hundred years ago by a medical doctor from New York who saw a need and filled it with the help of dedicated partners. Unfortunately that need as been ongoing for ten decades.
I'd never heard of the organization before last year when I was asked to host a series of informative programs about CMMB to be aired on Telecare, a Catholic television station based on Long island and also on various television outlets throughout the United States and Canada.
I've never had a jaded opinion of life for it is not part of my nature, but being a journalist for nearly a half century I've been exposed to the misdeeds, corruption and organizations that take your money, make promises and never fill them.

The CMMB organization is the pure evidence of altruism and the Samaritan ethic. The money donated to CMMB goes to help those in need and not the administrative coffers. 97% of all money gifts go help those in need.

Yesterday I received an email sent to Jack Galbraith, President and CEO of CMMB.

Dear Rolland,
Dr. Tom Catena is the Medical Director at Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan and has been a CMMB volunteer for more than 10 years. He is a good friend to us and he recently sent me an email that so deeply moved me that I felt compelled to share some of it with you. I hope it moves you to make a gift that will help us send medical shipments to Sudan and other places where they can do the most good.

Subject: An update from SudanFrom: Tom CatenaTo: John Galbraith
Dear Jack,
On Thursday morning, we checked on more than 150 patients – people suffering from all kinds of medical problems.
One of our patients is an 8-year-old girl who probably has tuberculosis. We’ve been treating her for three weeks, but she still has difficulty breathing and a fever. An X-ray would help us confirm the diagnosis, but we don’t have one.
We have another patient with third-degree burns to 20% of her body. It takes one of our nurses two hours to fully clean and dress this patient using a tremendous amount of gauze to cover all the burned areas. We try our best to conserve the gauze, as it has to be purchased in Nairobi (Kenya) and sent out here by cargo flight once per year.
We have several patients who have pelvic or leg fractures, or who have had limbs amputated, but we have only three pairs of crutches. The patients have to share the crutches and this slows down their recovery.
Altogether, we did 13 operations over the past two days with an operating room staff of one doctor, one anesthetist and two surgical assistants.

Our equipment is showing signs of wear and tear. The surgical instruments no longer cut as well as they used to. The sterile towels and the sterile gowns we wear are in tatters. All of these items need to be replaced. We seem to be included in the drought that has affected the Horn of Africa. We are approaching the end of our rainy season yet the rains have pretty much failed. Last year was a good harvest so people are still living off last year’s surplus. The crisis will likely arise from October onward when last year’s stock runs out.
Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
I know that each of us have our causes and charities, but if you can help Dr. Catena do so. I plan to help with a small donation. Even though I don’t know the names of those in need, I know their heart and their hurt for we are ONE.

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