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The Max FoundationIt is a struggle to deal with a family member having cancer emotionally, physically and financially. The burden of paying for a family member’s hospital bills makes it difficult to pay for other things like food, shelter and clothing. The Max Foundation in Argentina has stepped up to this challenge by helping cancer patients get the treatment that they need.

Poverty Rates

Argentina’s poverty rate was 35.5% at the end of 2019, which shows a steady increase over the past few years. The poverty rate of children younger than 14 is 53%. The statistics have gotten better in the six years prior to 2018, an 18.7% drop in poverty rates. However, COVID-19 has not been kind to Argentina as the country continues to battle its two-year recession.

Disease

In addition to the poverty rate and pandemic, Argentina is not immune to cancer either. Every year more than 110,000 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer in Argentina. Some of the causes of cancer in this country are tobacco and HPV.

Around 22% of the population smokes and children who are between the ages of 13 and 15 are six points higher than that. Out of all the deaths caused by cancer, 26% are caused by tobacco. Argentina does have the resources to enact preventative measures. The country has even enacted breast cancer screening, although most women do not attend regularly. However, more could still be done.

That’s why organizations like the Max Foundation are so important. Poverty is hard enough to try to overcome when one is healthy let alone when having to fight cancer. Cancer patients need organizations like the Max Foundation, so they have one less thing to worry about during the tough fight for their life.

The Max Foundation

The Max Foundation has been around since 1997. The Rivarola family left Argentina to travel to the U.S. to get cancer treatment for their son Max. The organization was founded when he passed away. Other families in Latin America have children with leukemia just like Max, and the Rivarola family wanted to do something for them.

Now, The Max Foundation provides cancer treatments to countries all around the world. The world has seen that viruses like COVID-19 have no borders and neither does cancer. The Max Foundation almost has no borders as well. It has served 73 countries and given over 11 million cancer treatments to people as of the start of 2017.

The Max Foundation works by offering help to patients whose doctors have recommended them. The organization then gets the medicine to them through the partner companies. The medicine is donated by pharmaceutical companies like The Tanner Pharma Group.

Argentina’s poverty rate has not been helped by the recent pandemic. COVID-19 is not diminishing cancer diagnosis either. But there is still hope. The Max Foundation has been helping cancer patients for years and they are a light in the dark for the cancer patients of Argentina as well as many other countries around the world.

Moriah Thomas
Photo: Flickr

ASHAThe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has established the goal of ending poverty by the year 2030. Contributing to this effort is $23 million in awards that will be released by USAID to 25 countries this year through the agency’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA).

The funding will go to “U.S. organizations and their overseas partners to support construction projects and to purchase equipment for 15 hospitals and clinics, six secondary schools, 16 universities, and one library,” as stated on the USAID website. The awards were announced on Feb. 1, 2016, and will be allocated toward global innovation and development.

USAID/ASHA provides assistance to international schools and hospitals. The organization has also served a public diplomatic role in fostering positive relationships between countries. It provides health services and education to over 80 countries and 300 international institutions.

“It is a remarkable honor to play a role in overseas institutions which advance education and health in their countries and around the world,” says Katherine Crawford, director of USAID. The education awards will reach universities in regions of the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Among the winners is Ashesi University College in Ghana, which received $700,000 to go toward classroom innovation. This funding will provide students with a rich engineering education that compares to top U.S. universities. Further contributions include the development of educational facilities in Somalia and Zambia.

In Somalia, USAID funding will help create a new science building, an auditorium and more areas for student dining. In Zambia, the award will help build a library that provides educational outreach and innovative programs to more than 35,000 children.

In the area of health, USAID will provide $570,000 in funding to the CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital. The funds will be utilized for operating room equipment, training and the delivery of medical care.

Other countries receiving a portion of this funding include India, where labor rooms for six women and a neonatal intensive care unit for 25 children and 45 mothers will become available.

In India, nursing training will also be accommodated by the grant. Medical equipment for maternal and pediatric programs will be made available in Afghanistan along with a diabetes-fighting program.

This grant will continue USAID’s overseas programs in the areas of health and education. USAID seeks to educate and provide care to the globally disadvantaged while promoting innovation in sciences and technology.

Through these awards, ASHA can impact communities and continue to stimulate progress.

Mayra Vega

Sources: Foreign Affairs, USAID,
Photo: IBT

Israeli Hospitals Treat Palestinians
An Israeli Defense Force (IDF) reserve unit has been specifically tasked with providing medical and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. The unit is staffed by medical professionals who administer training exercises designed to mimic potential emergency situations in the field.

In addition to realistic conflict and disaster training scenarios, there is an emphasis on providing unquestioned care to any and all patients regardless of nationality or religion.

Capt. (Res.) Dr. Yishai Lev, a commander in the company, comments on its conceptualization, “The idea of adapting the unit actually came from our soldiers who recognized the need for it in the field.” This implies the civilian impact of the conflict was clearly witnessed by multitudes of IDF forces who were inclined to work toward a solution.

In reference to the humanitarian motive, Lev adds, “This medical care stems from our commitment to the Jewish and modern value of human rights.” The IDF company also collaborates with Palestinian medical services in an effort to help establish a more robust medical infrastructure.

An unfortunate truth, however, is that some Palestinian patients are reluctant to receive care from Israelis in fear of the cultural backlash from their societies back home. Israeli hospitals are aware of these concerns and have emphasized that doctors must provide all patients with exceptional treatment and care.

Yazid Fallah, a medical coordinator at a hospital in Haifa states, “We calmed them down and said there is no such danger in an Israeli hospital. We see humans and not antagonists. Israeli patients try to make the Palestinian patients feel comfortable. They believe that they are all in the same boat.” The hope is that upon their release, patients will share their experiences in efforts to change prevailing attitudes.

The IDF reserve company is not an isolated instance of Palestinian aid, as there is a recent precedent and history of aiding impacted civilians. During the midst of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict this past summer, the IDF opened a field hospital intended to treat Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire.

The wounded civilians in Gaza far outnumbered the capacity for the region’s hospitals. Facilities were ill-equipped and often under siege during operation. This unfortunate truth was realized by the IDF and was the catalyst for setting up the field hospital.

The hospital was strategically placed in between Gaza and Israel at the Erez border crossing. Situated in Northern Gaza, the Erez border is the only legally sanctioned crossing to and from Israel, which at the time, received a heavy influx of foot traffic. Border patrols were said to have been prepared for 5,000 crossings per day.

It is also the location of the first casualty of the summer’s conflict after an Israeli volunteer was killed by a mortar. The primary function of the field hospital is to extend emergency type care to patients, but it was capable of servicing other medical needs as well.

A statement released by the IDF read, “The hospital will include an emergency clinic, pediatric and gynecological services, a delivery room and even overnight hospitalization when needed. The staff will include doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians and lab technicians.”

Regardless of diplomatic allegiance, efforts of preventing innocent suffering are always commendable. In reference to this sentiment, Lev states, “When people are in need of care, we can’t afford to be indifferent.”

The Borgen Project

Sources: Breaking Israel News, Doctors Without Borders, United With Israel
Photo: Flickr

UAE's Donations Help Americans in NeedWhile at first glance the United Arab Emirates and Missouri may not have a lot in common, but their ties are now actually quite strong. This is due to the massive tornado that swept across the small town of Joplin in 2011.

Since 2008, the UAE has had increasing involvement in assisting American cities across the United States. When UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef al Otaiba, came to office in 2008, he immediately set a goal to change the average American’s perception of his home country. Tainted by a 2006 dispute over the UAE’s interest in taking control of American ports, a survey showed that while 30% of Americans had a negative opinion about the UAE, 70% of them did not have an opinion at all. “We had a responsibility to educate Americans about who we are,” Mr. al Otaiba stated. In this way, supporting and funding the US in a natural disaster situation demonstrates compassion and positive relations.

After the tornado destroyed Joplin, basic institutions were in need of immediate assistance. In a two-part gift, the UAE government donated $1 million to Joplin High School to help buy expensive educational resources they had not previously been able to afford: 2,200 laptops and software for the students. Despite some backlash from locals, the school board realized it could not turn down this offer, even if there was a backlash from residents who labeled the donation as “Islamic blood money”.

Around the same time, the UAE donated $5 million to rebuild Joplin’s Mercy Hospital and help start its first neonatal intensive care unit. This large donation provided the hospital with 12 beds for mothers in need of a NICU after childbirth.

The donations to Joplin were not out of the ordinary, however. Over the years money has been donated by the UAE government and through private donations directly to help maintain other hospitals such as Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Money has been collected for the Baltimore Food Bank as well as the New York Police Foundation. In addition, soccer fields from Miami to Los Angeles have popped up thanks to more generous donations from the Arab country in hopes of providing low-income communities a fun and safe area for sports and recreation.

It is important to see the steps the ambassador has taken to help out people in need and to prove his country’s loyalty and desire to maintain a positive relationship with the United States. Some people may be shocked that the United States would take, let alone need these donations, but no country and no person is above aid. Poverty and disaster affect any citizen of any country. The race, religion, or nationality behind the hand reaching out to help does not matter and it is important for the world to recognize that as global citizens, it is our duty to be there for one another.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: The Washington Post
Photo: flickr