Better Health is the Cornerstone to Better Life
- Good health is essential to a productive economy – to a country that wants to make economic progress. This is because healthy populations live longer, are more productive and are more financially self-reliant.
- In order to achieve good health, people require access to safe sanitation, clean water and immunizations along with attention to good personal hygiene practices and a balanced diet.
- Illness can reduce household savings, lower learning ability, reduce job productivity and lead to a diminished quality of life that lessens their chances of rising out of poverty.
How You Help People Enjoy Healthier Lives
Your donations help millions of people in the USA and around the world. Poverty is often defined in absolute terms of low income – less than $2 a day, for example. But in reality, the consequences of poverty exist on a relative scale. The poorest of the poor, around the world, have the worst health. Within countries the evidence shows that in general, the lower an individual’s socioeconomic position… the worse their health.
Therefore, when you help train health workers and community members to raise awareness about good health practices, and when you help create opportunities to access medical care, countries can produce far-reaching positive results. This improvement in their health and social welfare is what your donations to IOCC help to achieve.
As you might expect, it’s not easy to significantly change the “picture of health” for a community, a region or a country. But it can be done, step-by-step. And it all begins with YOU and your support to IOCC.
Imagine the frustration of having 75 inches of rainfall a year, but no access to clean water. This is a reality for 40% of Cameroonians. This African nation has a 60% child mortality rate and an average life expectancy of 50 for men and 52 for women. These alarming statistics can be attributed to waterborne diseases—many of which are treatable or preventable.
Women and children walk several miles to fill large plastic jugs and carry them back to their families. This water often comes from contaminated sources which exposes families to life-threatening diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery. But thanks to donors like you, since 2008, IOCC— along with the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Cameroon and the country's Ministries of Health— has responded to the health needs of Cameroonians with more than $980,000 worth of medical aid and wheelchairs for the sick and disabled.
Rainwater harvesting systems installed at two secondary schools and a primary school give more than 9,000 schoolchildren and teachers living in northwest Cameroon nearly 380,000 gallons of potable water each year. And a total of 11,000 schoolchildren in the region have received hygiene kits and personal care instruction.
What’s the primary reason so many children die and people only live until their early 50’s? Waterborne diseases.
And many of those waterborne diseases are treatable. Others can be avoided altogether with clean water, proper sanitation and good hygiene practices. All of which you help furnish to these people in need through your gifts to IOCC.
With your help, IOCC has been working in Ethiopia since 2003 in close cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Ethiopians have benefited from groundbreaking community health programs that combat HIV/AIDS, help treat and prevent podoconiosis (podo) and give mobility and hope to the disabled.
Podo is a is a form of elephantiasis (leg swelling) triggered by an abnormal reaction to irritant mineral particles found in volcanic soils. People who live and work barefoot in silica-rich soils are at high risk. In Ethiopia, 3 million people suffer from podo and another 38 million are at risk. People afflicted with podo often face social stigma and isolation. And podo victims suffer from swelling to the point that walking and playing becomes too painful. Adults can’t work or care for their families. Simple things like washing your feet and wearing shoes can prevent it.
With your help, IOCC has helped more than 300,000 children and adults who are afflicted with or at risk of podo in Ethiopia with treatment to ease their suffering or prevention through foot hygiene classes and shoe distributions. There are eleven (11) podo clinics in Ethiopia operated by IOCC. Prevention education is taught here so residents know how to properly wash their feet. They also receive soap and a wash basin so they can clean their feet at home. Working with researchers, IOCC is at the forefront of the worldwide effort to prevent and treat people with podo.
You and other generous donors have literally been saving lives in Greece. The country’s failing economy and government cutbacks have driven the public healthcare system to the brink of collapse. The most basic yet essential supplies are severely lacking – surgical gloves, syringes, vials for blood samples, suture needles, etc.
You’re helping give Greece's people a vital lifeline. More than $18 million in medical supplies and equipment have been delivered thus far.
The supplies have gone to public hospitals in greater Athens, Thessaloniki, central and northern Greece, the Peloponnese, Crete and the Ionian and Aegean islands. Free clinics throughout the country serving thousands of children, families and elderly without an income or access to Greece's national health system have also received supplies.
Malnutrition carries serious consequences for a young child, particularly those under the age of five, including stunted physical growth, vision impairment, delayed brain development and often, death.
Thousands of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon face this deadly threat every day. In cooperation with UNICEF, IOCC is working to curb the threat.
Since 2013, IOCC has screened and treated 100,000 Syrian refugee children for malnutrition in Lebanon. IOCC is now training public health staff in Lebanon’s healthcare centers to carry on this important work in child nutrition. In addition, our awareness campaign has taught more than 13,000 new and expectant mothers about the health benefits of breastfeeding and appropriate infant nutrition.
The country’s civil war has caused many serious problems, including a critically weakened healthcare system. Displaced Syrians now find it very difficult to afford medical treatment to stay healthy, and in far too many cases, they can’t even get treatment needed to survive.
Many of the country’s pharmaceutical factories have been destroyed. The UN reports estimate two-thirds of the public hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. And more than 15,000 doctors and medical staff have been forced to flee in order to escape the war.
That doesn’t leave much healthcare for the Syrians who need it. Women and their newborn children are especially at risk because child deliveries frequently occur in unsafe conditions (poor sanitation as well dangers from the raging war).
This is why the help of IOCC donors is so critical. Thanks to you, IOCC is able to help meet the medical needs of families with:
- Medical supplies to hospitals in Hama, Hasakeh, Aleppo, Damascus, Dara’a, Lattakia, Swaida and Tartous.
- The costs of minor surgical procedures and related medicines covered for patients when possible.
- Family hygiene kits distributions to help overcome crowded conditions and lack of water which have led to a sharp rise in scabies (contagious skin disease marked by itching and small raised red spots, caused by the itch mite) and waterborne intestinal infections.
- Trauma counseling to help adults and children deal with the stress and trauma of war. Adults attend workshops on stress management and building self-esteem. For children, art and music therapy help them express feelings and quiet the nightmares.