Today, Thursday, April 7, is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day with this year’s theme of “Our planet, our health” was chosen “in the face of the current pandemic, a polluted planet, and an increasing incidence of diseases.”
This call from the WHO presents a unique opportunity for a green and healthy recovery from the COVID-19 that puts the health of individuals and the planet at the center of actions and fosters a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
Despite inroads, an estimated 1 million premature deaths per year are attributable to known environmental risks such as contaminated water, inadequate sanitation and negative impacts of climate change are the most pressing environmental public health threats.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we support the World Health Day initiative by striving to prevent illness due to waterborne diseases in sub-Saharan Africa by digging wells which provide clean water to serve schools, clinics, and those living in the surrounding communities.
In addition, we provide hospitals and clinics in rural regions where access to healthcare is lacking, or even nonexistent, by shipping medicines, medical supplies and equipment to treat the indigent at no cost and prevent needless death, especially for infants and young children and their mothers.
Earlier this year, Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema visited Ethiopia to meet with our healthcare partners and reported: “The looming concern for many humanitarian aid organizations, including Bread and Water for Africa®, is how to address the growing demand for our work while resources for managing the challenges created by the pandemic are not readily available.
“Most humanitarian organizations are used to operating in unpredictable and volatile environments, where coordination and flexibility in managing resources are essential,” she noted. “However, the reality of operating during a pandemic that spreads quickly and globally is very different.”
The good news Beth reported is that Bread and Water for Africa® “has the capacity to expand our healthcare support program thanks to our healthcare supply donors.”
In addition, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® we have been able to provide cash grants and in-kind support to our healthcare partners in Ethiopia, as well as Cameroon and Sierra Leone.
The primary purpose of her trip to Ethiopia was to travel to the historic town of Gondar to meet with the director of the community development outreach program and other key staff members of the University of Gondar to establish a new partnership for our healthcare program.
“Through the community development outreach program, Bread and Water for Africa® would like to work with the University of Gondar to provide healthcare supplies and to equip hospitals and healthcare centers outside urban areas, specifically targeting underserved communities in Gondar.”
While in Ethiopia, Beth also visited our longtime partner, the Haramaya University Community Outreach Program, to meet with university President Dr. Jemal Yousef, Community Development Works Director Dr. Admasu Bogale and other key staff members to discuss how Bread and Water for Africa’s continued support contributes to the community development outreach program’s success, and significantly improves community members’ health conditions, and how the partnership will continue to assist underserved communities in the region.
“It was extremely overwhelming to witness how these hospitals lack the basic medical supplies and equipment needed to serve the residents but are able to manage to continue in spite of their inadequate resources,” she reported.
“Bread and Water for Africa® will continue partnering with the Haramaya University community development outreach program to address this lack of healthcare supplies by working together with our generous donors.”