Sep 082011
 

Helping Disadvantaged Child Cancer Patients in EgyptHuman Concern International has been active in the universal cause of raising awareness and funds to combat cancer, which remains one of the leading causes of death. Now, we are continuing our effort by supporting Egypt’s largest and most effective children’s cancer hospital for the second time, The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (57357).

In Egypt, a country of 81.5 million people, only 350 hospital beds are dedicated to treating child cancer patients, and no more than 100 physicians have received pediatric oncology or hematology training. It is one of many nations which do not devote enough funds to pediatric oncology out of the misguided belief that it is prohibitively expensive, and resources would have a greater effect elsewhere. This simply is not the case, as a recent study by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital has demonstrated that even a small increase in funding can dramatically improve survival rates. Prevention and early diagnosis programs are highly cost effective, and do not require advanced technologies. Despite the evidence, the World Health Organization does not have any program in place to correct the huge disparities in cancer survival rates worldwide. The result: children in the countries like Egypt continue to die unnecessarily.

The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (57357) has taken it upon itself to correct the imbalance, and ensure that even the poorest children of Egypt have access to the same life saving treatments and support as their more fortunate counterparts. Operating since July 7, 2007, it is now the largest pediatric oncology centre in the Middle East and Africa. Its facilities include Egypt’s first specialized department of physiology, social work, and psychiatry for pediatric oncology. Creating a single hospital devoted to pediatric oncology has enormous benefits. The hospital staff is both highly trained and highly motivated. It has created a nucleus for training new physicians, carries out groundbreaking research, and provides top level treatment. By collaborating with experts worldwide, the hospital is able to integrate the most advanced medical knowledge into its treatment of patients.

Human Concern International, in recognition of the hospital’s achievements and vision, is continuing its support for the hospital. The hospital is committed to sustainability, and we can be certain that no dollar will be wasted. It is money that will be used to help the hospital to expand, bringing its life-saving treatment, education, and message to ever-larger numbers.

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Aug 242011
 

HCI’s latest intervention in Libya is timely as the conflict in Libya spreads and the number of casualties and people needing medical help has increased in recent days. HCI is proud to announce that a shipment of life saving medical supplies put together in Canada has reached the port of Benghazi and is waiting to be offloaded, distributed and sent to areas where it is most needed at a very crucial time for Libya.

As a result of the country’s recent turmoil, Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city has become a regional hub for health and medical supplies. Furthermore, many of the war-injured are brought to the city for treatment. In the coming days, HCI’s ground-team will work in coordination with local committees, local hospitals, tribal leaders, as well as with local and international aid agencies to make sure the medical supplies are distributed quickly and efficiently where they are most needed.

HCI’s international team has been working against the clock to put together and send this shipment of a wide range of much needed medical supplies and equipment such as ultrasound machines, auto-collative machines as well as other medical items in addition to technical specialists to help install and operate the equipment while continuously assessing the situation on the ground throughout Libya, consulting with UN bodies and visiting some of the people directly affected by the current situation.

HCI’s relief work in Libya is carried out in close consultation with other international aid agencies operating in the area as well in coordination with the Arab Medical Union, Libyan Appeal Team, local committees and National Transitional Council’s Humanitarian Committee.

HCI’s assistance has already reached large numbers of people inside the country, on the borders with Egypt and Tunisia as well as many of still the stranded citizens of Misrata. HCI’s team and local partners work tirelessly to help those in need whenever at all feasible.

However, many more Libyans are in dire need of our help. A large percentage of Libya’s 6 million strong population is undergoing a humanitarian crisis. It is estimated that there are 300,000 internally displaced people around the country and it is estimated that over 853,800 have fled the country.

You can donate online on HCI Canada’s website by clicking here. Please feel free to use the following link if you would like to contact us regarding information on HCI’s Libya operations.

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Apr 122011
 

Health and Sanitation in 2010Health is widely recognized as a cornerstone of human development because it underpins the gamut of human functioning. But health is also essential to human security, since survival and protection from illness are at the core of any concept of people’s wellbeing. There are many in the Middle East with little or no access to healthcare, with women suffering the most from neglect and gender biased traditions. HCI is conscious of this fact and is always working to help improve access to healthcare in communities all around the region.

Our work to build healthy communities, families and individuals is at the heart of HCI’s vision for social change. By collaborating with a range of partners, from village health committees to government agencies, we help build the means to improve maternal, newborn and child health, ensure proper nutrition and combat infectious diseases. HCI’s field teams provide long-term health and nutrition services to communities in need by operating clinics and training health workers.

Health and Sanitation in 2010In 2010, HCI worked to improve the mental and emotional health of distressed children in Gaza and the West Bank by providing them with focused psychosocial support to help them deal with emotional trauma, especially those who had lost family members, children with a new physical disability, children who live in women-headed households, and in families that have lost their livelihoods as part the Psychosocial Support for Children project. Meanwhile in Gaza, as part of the Reviving Lives and Livelihoods project, vulnerable families received health and sanitation related items such as essential medication and essential appliances that contribute to accessibility, mobility and a capacity for independent living, among other things.

HCI provided The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt with financial support valued at $25,000 in recognition of the hospital’s achievements and vision in 2010; the hospital serves all Egyptians, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or ability to pay. All the necessary treatment and medication are provided free of charge if a family lacks sufficient financial means. Additionally, it provides support to families as they struggle to cope with the stress of a cancer diagnosis for their child. Furthermore, the hospital has inaugurated the country’s first school program for hospitalized children, to ensure that they are given the chance to succeed once they have completed their treatment. The hospital is committed to sustainability, and we are certain that no dollar will be wasted. It is money that will be used to help the hospital to expand, bringing its life-saving treatment, education, and message to ever larger numbers.

Health and Sanitation in 2010In April 2010, HCI team members headed to Dubai to participate in the largest humanitarian event in the Middle East; the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference (DIHAD). The theme for 2010 conference was “Global Health Challenges of Tomorrow: Impact and Response”. The team was invited to share HCI’s experiences in Palestine and Lebanon in a special event with the rest of the attendees which included members of several key international agencies such as The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Water is essential for life, good health and economic development — HCI provides water and sanitation programming, giving communities access to clean water, decreasing the incidence of communicable diseases, and improving the quality of life. In 2010 HCI built on the results and findings of the water and sanitation country analytical report for Sudan developed a year earlier, by designing and developing water and sanitation community projects in two settlements South and North of the Capital Khartoum.

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Mar 102011
 

This International Women’s Day, HCI and its local partners in Gaza celebrated together with a group of breast cancer survivors the launch of the Entrepreneurship Support for People with Special Needs project in Gaza which will provide breast cancer patients and other women entrepreneurs with special needs in Gaza the support and training needed to set up new businesses.

On the 8th of March, and over three days, these brave breast cancer survivors were provided with the necessary vocational training and support to enable them to manufacture breast prostheses as an income generating activity, the women were also provided with the materials and the skills needed to train other breast cancer survivors as well.

Breast cancer is a major health issue in modern society. Recent estimates approximate that 1 in 9 women will suffer from breast cancer during the course of their lifetime and some of these women will have to deal with the loss of one or both of their breasts. In Gaza these breast cancer survivors will not only have to deal with the physical and emotional trauma of the procedure, they additionally have to suffer the difficulties of a life under a crippling siege with little or no functioning infrastructure, services and support.

The psychological impact of breast amputation can be devastating for many and may lead to depression, increased anxiety, shame, and occasional ideas of suicide. To make matters worse, it is common for the husbands of breast amputees to abandon them for healthy new partners, leaving them emotionally and economically vulnerable, with no means to provide for themselves and no future marriage prospects.

The cost and availability of breast reconstruction procedures is beyond the means of most of Gaza’s population, and most of these women resort to wearing breast prostheses. Prosthetic breasts can be manufactured in Gaza for a fraction of the price of the imported ones that are sold in markets, making them more affordable to women that are already living a life of scarcity, barely able to afford the essentials.

HCI and our local partners the Aid and Hope Center for Cancer Patients, took the opportunity of the one hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day to celebrate these women’s strength and their will to overcome adversity. They are truly an inspiration to us.

The training was conducted over three days and was concluded with an event that was held at the roof of one of the highest buildings in Gaza with our local partner the Aid and Hope Center for Cancer Patients, where the trainees who are breast cancer survivors, joined with other cancer patients and survivors to say no to cancer and to affirm that cancer is beatable by a symbolic releasing of balloons in the air, the women each wrote what they were happy to be rid of on the balloons and symbolically released all that was negative in their lives.

This same group of women will be joined by a bigger group of women with different special needs to undergo business development training and business support and micro-businesses development as part of the Entrepreneurship Support for People with Special Needs project.

HCI has already been working with women and people with special needs across the region for over two decades and will continue to empower them to be active, self-reliant and initiating, encouraging others to follow their example and affecting society to consider women with special needs not merely as a subject of care and charity, but as equal citizens of society and holders of human rights able to provide for themselves and their families.

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Mar 032011
 

Click here to download the manual (PDF; 34 pages; 7.74 MB)

لتنزيل هذا الدليل إضغط هنا (PDF; 7.74 MB)

Fact: There are now more than 1 billion obese people on earth.

Fact: In the Middle East, obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades.

Fact: Obesity is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, and certain forms of cancer. It is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide.

Fact: Physical activity has steadily declined, depriving children and adults of a key element to living a longer, healthier, happier life.

Fact: Healthy eating, combined with increased physical activity, is the only way to prevent the continued spread of the obesity epidemic.

Do you know how much grain, fruit, vegetables, milk, oils, meat and beans you should consume every day…?

HCI has the answer to this question, and many others, in our comprehensive healthy eating and living guide for children. Included are ten recipes for specially developed nutritious meals which use ingredients easily available throughout the region, and are tailored to local tastes. A balanced, nutritious diet is the key to a long, productive life. When combined with regular physical activity it can help relieve stress and provide an overall feeling of well-being. Physical activity increases the amount of calories burned, compensates for a lowered metabolism caused by aging, helps you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and lowers the risk of chronic disease. By combining regular physical activity with a nutritious diet we can make Lebanon healthier one person at a time.

Click here to download the manual (PDF; 34 pages; 7.74 MB)

لتنزيل هذا الدليل إضغط هنا (PDF; 7.74 MB)

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Feb 042010
 

57357Today, February 4th, is World Cancer Day. All around the world people and organizations are marking the occasion by raising awareness and funds to combat what remains one of the leading causes of death. Human Concern International has been active in this universal cause. Recently, we encouraged breast cancer screening for women in Gaza in co-operation with the Aid and Hope Centre for the Care of Cancer Patients. Early detection of breast cancer is the key to effective treatment, and reduced fatalities. Now, we are continuing our effort by supporting Egypt’s largest and most effective children’s cancer hospital, The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (57357). Please join us, and the countless others, who are working towards a future without cancer.

Cancer kills 7.9 million people every year, and is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1-14 worldwide. Tragically, many of these deaths are entirely preventable. In the developed world, the advent of new treatments has seen cancer survival rates steadily climb, but, as with so many other things, these treatments are not available in much of the developing world. The result is that children in Egypt, for example, are twice as likely to die from cancer as children in North America. One cannot imagine the pain families must endure when their child is lost simply because he or she did not have access to adequate medical care.

In Egypt, a country of 81.5 million people, only 350 hospital beds are dedicated to treating child cancer patients, and no more than 100 physicians have received pediatric oncology or hematology training. It is one of many nations which do not devote enough funds to pediatric oncology out of the misguided belief that it is prohibitively expensive, and resources would have a greater effect elsewhere. This simply is not the case, as a recent study by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital has demonstrated that even a small increase in funding can dramatically improve survival rates. Prevention and early diagnosis programs are highly cost effective, and do not require advanced technologies. Despite the evidence, the World Health Organization does not have any program in place to correct the huge disparities in cancer survival rates worldwide. The result: children in the countries like Egypt continue to die unnecessarily.

Psycho-social support for child cancer patients, and their families, is particularly lacking in Egypt. It is considered merely as an afterthought, if at all, and families must often face the emotional challenges of cancer without professional support. Adding to this is the stress resulting from poverty, and the daily struggle to gather adequate funds to pay for treatment. Many families simply cannot bear the emotional or financial burden, and as a result they abandon cancer treatment programs for their children prematurely.

57357The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (57357) has taken it upon itself to correct the imbalance, and ensure that even the poorest children of Egypt have access to the same life saving treatments and support as their more fortunate counterparts. Operating since July 7, 2007, it is now the largest pediatric oncology centre in the Middle East and Africa. Its facilities include Egypt’s first specialized department of physiology, social work, and psychiatry for pediatric oncology. Creating a single hospital devoted to pediatric oncology has enormous benefits. The hospital staff is both highly trained and highly motivated. It has created a nucleus for training new physicians, carries out groundbreaking research, and provides top level treatment. By collaborating with experts worldwide, the hospital is able to integrate the most advanced medical knowledge into its treatment of patients.

The hospital has recognized the need not only for state of the art medical care, but also for a more comprehensive approach. As such, it has inaugurated the country’s first school program for hospitalized children, to ensure that they will be given the chance to succeed once they have completed their treatment. It provides support to families as they struggle to cope with the stress of a cancer diagnosis for their child. Hospital staff work with the community to raise awareness about cancer screening, and early detection, as a way to improve survival rates, and save the lives of countless children.

57357CCHE serves all Egyptians, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or ability to pay. All treatments and medications are provided free of charge if a family lacks sufficient financial means. Also, economic support is given to families who must often travel long distances to visit their children undergoing treatment, and who would otherwise be unable to afford the journey. Housing and job opportunities are provided when necessary. All of this means that now less than one percent of patients abandon treatment, whereas economic hardship previously caused almost 16 percent to not finish their programs. The hospital is a model which should be followed throughout the Middle East, and the world.

Human Concern International, in recognition of the hospital’s achievements and vision, has provided them significant financial support. The hospital is committed to sustainability, and we can be certain that no dollar will be wasted. It is money that will be used to help the hospital to expand, bringing its life-saving treatment, education, and message to ever larger numbers. We wish the hospital the best of luck, and are privileged to aid such a worthy program. We are certain that they will continue to provide high quality care to all those who need it for years to come.

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Dec 102009
 

Marathon Beirut 09Last Sunday the streets of central Beirut were transformed by the Beirut International Marathon. For one day they were devoid of traffic, as people of all ages, religions, ethnicities, and nationalities walked and ran side by side. They turned the streets into a sea of people, all of them willing to sacrifice their time and energy in support of a cause. On that day HCI spread its message of healthy living to the more than 33,000 people in attendance. We sponsored underprivileged children to run in the marathon, encouraged them to exercise, and inspired their peers to do so as well. The HCI team made up of children aged 9 to 17 from rural Lebanon, many of them orphans, ran together to promote our campaign. The spirit shown by these children, who participated with boundless energy un-dampened by the rain, was perhaps the best advertisement for a healthier lifestyle.

Marathon Beirut 09This year’s Beirut International Marathon saw more than 33,000 participants, including, among others, the Lebanese President, Prime Minister, four government ministers, and many other Members of Parliament, brave the cold and the rain to come together and run or walk in support of a good cause. More than 4,000 volunteers also took part, including members of Human Concern International, a testament to the strong sense of community often displayed by the Lebanese. The marathon was truly for everyone, not only the professional athletes and victors. It was an event which gave many people the rare opportunity to run and exercise in a city where the absence of parks and public space makes it often very difficult to do so. For one day the sounds of car horns and the fumes from exhaust pipes were replaced by thousands of people singing, laughing, walking, and running. It was a demonstration of what can be achieved if we make the very simple choice to live healthier.

Marathon Beirut 09The Beirut Marathon provided HCI with a unique opportunity to spread our message to literally thousands of people. It was an opportunity that we did not miss. Before, during, and after the marathon participants and visitors received HCI’s awareness materials which encouraged Lebanese to take a second look at their diet, and, combined with our website (www.hcime.org/sahetna), provided them with all the information they need to start eating healthier. A 34-pages manual was produced to address all requirements for a healthy diet. “Food pyramid” posters were given to local schools, and placed in classrooms to let children know how much vegetables, fruit, grain, milk, oils and beans they should eat everyday. Children must know the importance of eating healthily, and these posters give them the knowledge they need in a colorful and engaging way. In the days and weeks leading up to the Beirut International Marathon, HCI utilized a booth in the heart of Beirut to distribute printed materials, and meet face to face with both marathon participants and members of the general public. By doing so we were able to reach a large number of people, promoting a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet. Through our website we were able to bring that same message to countless others.

Marathon Beirut 09In Lebanon and from the start we have encouraged healthy activities, as seen by our sponsorship of Beirut’s first ever Terry Fox Run in 1997. The Terry Fox Run, an event in which people of all ages come together for one day to run and raise money for cancer research, was only the first step. More recently we also implemented the national “Farm to School” project, which promoted healthy eating habits among school-aged children, along with many other objectives. Information is the key to combating the obesity epidemic. Better informed people make better decisions, and will lead happier, healthier lives.

Marathon Beirut 09The Beirut International Marathon happens only one day of the year, and reaches out to tens of thousands of people. On that day HCI did what it could to promote a more active lifestyle and a healthier diet, but in order for our advice to be effective it must be followed the other 364 days of the year, and reach millions of other Lebanese. Obesity is a serious problem that deserves serious attention. We must all pay more care to what we eat, and start to exercise regularly. HCI can provide the information you need in our online healthy eating guide, including ten recipes for specially developed nutritious meals which use ingredients easily available throughout the region, but only you can make the choice to change your lifestyle. Doing so will give you a longer, healthier, happier life, and help prevent what may soon become the most serious epidemic on earth.

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Oct 282009
 

Jabal AkroumJabal Akroum is one of the poorest and most marginalized areas of Lebanon; it is remote, difficult to reach and underdeveloped. It is located high up in the mountains of the Akkar district which has seen several conflicts back-to-back; in 2006 there was the July War in which all of Lebanon was affected and in the summer of 2007 there was the more damaging Nahr Al-Bard conflict which dealt a devastating blow to the local economy. It is estimated that seventy three percent of the population of Jabal Akroum live below the poverty line.

Jabal AkroumIn an attempt to care for and support the children affected by poverty and conflict in this area, HCI together with local partner Jabal Akroum Association, organized an excursion for one hundred boys and girls from eight villages in the Jabal Akroum area this August as an intervention to address their psychosocial wellbeing, which is a very important factor that if neglected can lead to reduced social connectedness, coping skills and resilience, this in turn places children at risk of isolation, apathy, drug or substance abuse, truancy, self-exploitation, and criminal behavior.

Jabal AkroumThe children, mostly orphans from underprivileged backgrounds and their supervisors were transported by buses to the northern city of Tripoli for a fun filled day. The first activity of the day was a trip to an amusement park which was reserved for them in advance; they were given access to all the rides and games. The children laughed, ran about, played and generally seemed excited. Many of them told us that this was their first visit to an amusement park, and their first time in the city.

Jabal AkroumAfter the amusement park the children left, (albeit a little reluctantly) to go the Al Mona School, where HCI local partners CIWS had especially set up a dining hall and prepared a healthy meal for the occasion. The meal was prepared as part of HCI’s Farm to School project — where school-aged children receive nutritious meals, learn about the path from farm to fork and are provided with essential information on healthy eating habits. After an active afternoon of fun and games, the children looked quite happy to take a short break for lunch and refreshments.

Jabal AkroumAs the children got back on the buses to be transported to the port of Tripoli for the final stop of the day, their excitement was palpable and justified; many of them had never ventured far from their villages in the mountain and had only heard about the sea in stories or seen it on television. Once at the port, they observed their surroundings with awe as they walked along the shore and saw the fishermen at work. When it came time for them to take a boat ride along the coast, awe turned into pure unbridled elation. The children’s happiness was so intense that it was contagious; all the on looking boatmen and fishermen seemed to be wearing smiles almost as broad as those of the children.

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