Saturday, July 24, 2010

For those interested in data

Hi all,

I just worked on some of the data related to anemia, and I'm attaching it if you're interested in seeing the results.

The gist of it is this:

1 out of 2 children in Pestel is anemic.  (50%)
Across the board, younger children are likely to be MORE anemic.  This unfortunately makes sense because about 1 out of every 8 children do not make it beyond year 5.  They die from pneumonia, diarrhea, malnutrition primarily. 

The worst region is the island:  80% anemia.   And the degree of anemia is FAR worse.   Anemia is roughly defined as a hemoglobin level less than 11.   The average hemoglobin in the other 5 sections hovers around 11.  You can see from the section graphs, though, that a lot of kids fall below the red line, which is the cut-off for anemia.  The island, on the other hand, AVERAGES 7.9.   That's horrible.  And it will be a focus for 2011.

One goal will be to move as many kids as possible above the red line on the graphs.  We've already started that process with deworming.  Now comes the hard part.

Let me know if you're interested in helping with this.  It'll take quite a comprehensive approach to 'fix' this one.  The impact of anemia on kids' health cannot be overstated.  But in this setting it's symptomatic of something deeper-->malnutrition-->poverty.   

I'm truly thankful to God for this data.  As some of you mentioned, each data point is a child.  For me this is not just 'data'.  These represent kids.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Variety International Newsletter - Haiti Supplement

This just came out from Variety International.  I'm sorry if not all the links work, but they did such a nice job!  They remain a great encouragement to me and a huge support for the people of Pestel.
This newsletter goes worldwide.  England, Australia, Israel, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, and so forth.

We can thank God for this opportunity, and pray that God might move in people's hearts.  The health projects in Pestel are leading off a new effort by Variety to reach very under-served areas (such as Pestel).  Hopefully the visibility of our undertakings in Haiti through media such as this newsletter can benefit that important effort.  

Also, please be in prayer about an upcoming lunch I'll be having with an executive of a large engineering firm.  I'm not sure where the conversation will go, exactly, but I'm glad for the chance to sit down with him.  I suspect I will get some really good advice from someone who has a tremendous wealth of international wisdom and experience.  I believe that he is, among other roles, on a planning team for USAID-Haiti.

PS:  USAID is the United States' foreign assistance program.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Variety International <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 17:41:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Variety International Newsletter - Haiti Supplement
Variety International Newsletter
Haiti Supplement July, 2010
Haiti - Little girl receives medical attentionGreetings!

As mentioned in our official July newsletter, we have more information to share about our bigger picture foray into Haiti.  We're excited to present the initial work being done in Haiti in this supplemental edition. 
Michael Huffman
Director of Development & Communications
Variety International
Variety International  - Making a Difference in Haiti

In 2009, Variety International commenced creation of the Variety International Children's Fund to expand our reach to serve those in need in areas where Variety does not have an established Tent.  Our mission was to develop an expanded Variety program to reach where our normal strategy to raise funds, establish a network, and find those in need of help to support is not sustainable in a particular area.  Haiti was selected as our first project.  The financial support and partnership of Variety International was coupled with the expertise from Penn State Global Health Center to produce excellent results. 

Dr. Fredrick training health workersOur foray into Haiti, the impoverished mountainous area of Pestel to be exact, positioned us to quickly respond at the time of the earthquake.  The earthquake in Haiti served to magnify already staggering needs, and cemented our commitment to help there.  In 2010 alone we have already reached 12,000 children and anticipate reaching over 20,000.  We are already off to a promising start.


©        Health Education.  We are improving nutritional practices through community-based education.  14 local health workers have been retained and trained to educate villages about Vitamin A and iron-rich foods, as well as basic sanitation.


Haiti - Meds / Eval Form©        Vitamin A Distribution.  Health workers are providing Vitamin A, an important medication that has been shown in this setting to dramatically reduce death, and eliminate blindness and visual blurring from Vitamin A deficiency.  Death from measles is reduced by 50% just by taking Vitamin A capsules every 6 months.  In a rural area such as Pestel where immunizations are currently non-existent, this Vitamin is going to save lives.


©        Anti-Parasitic Campaign.  We are implementing an anti-parasite campaign covering all children from 6 months to 10 years of age to improve nutritional impact.  The health workers are providing an anti-parasite medication called Albendazole to the children, to prevent newly hatched insect larvae (worms) from growing or multiplying in the body.  Worms can consume up to 25% of a child's nutrition and with an abundance of malnutrition, this treatment is helping to at least reduce this epidemic.    


Dr. Fredrick helps children in Haiti©        Investigative Health Research.  The 14 health workers and 2 managers have been trained to collect essential health data.  Worker evaluation forms, data collection forms, and inventory forms have been developed for the project.  Height, weight, and levels of anemia are being collected on children throughout Pestel, Haiti in addition to health conditions, educational status, and water and sanitation conditions for baselines moving forward as well as insight into future needs. 


©       Fighting Starvation.  In June 2010 we began the pilot program "Medika Mamba", a highly enriched food to treat severe malnutrition.   Early reports indicate that in the worst areas of Pestel 1 in every 4 children has moderate to severe malnutrition.  We are in discussion with Kiwanis International and Meds & Food for Kids to develop an agricultural-nutrition program to eliminate malnutrition.


©        Exciting Collaborations.  We are approaching new partners to develop diversified collaborations.  50,000 free doses of Vitamin A and Albendazole EACH were received from Vitamin Angels.  Approximately $2000 worth of additional supplies were received from companies as a result of the collaboration between Variety International and Penn State's Global Health Center. 

After the Quake

Haitian parents are already thrilled with the campaign because they are finding that the medication is killing worms in their children's intestines!  As a result of this immediate and evident change in the children, the program is gaining momentum and the parents are advocating for the program.  Through pre-treatment and post-treatment measurements, we will be able to evaluate how effective this campaign truly is at improvingnutrition, growth and energy and reducing anemia! 
 Haiti - 3 children by run down bldg
In This Issue
Making A Difference in Haiti
In Haiti - Relevant Statistics
2010 Child Health Campaign
In Haiti:

·    One third of newborn babies are born underweight.


·    Acute under-nutrition among children under 5 is 9%;
Chronic under-nutrition is 24%.


·    50% of pregnant women and two thirds of children under 5 are affected by anemia.


·    72 % of children aged 6-12 in rural areas suffer from iodine deficiency.


·    32 % of school-age children are infected by intestinal parasites.


·    Almost 30,000 babies suffer mental deficiencies because their mothers suffered from iodine deficiency during pregnancy.


·    One in eight Haitian children will not make it past their 5th birthday.



2010 Child Health Campaign - Year 1

Phase I  (March-May)

·   Vitamin A,  Anti-parasitic medication, Biometrics

Phase II (June-September)

·   Household Surveys

·   Pilot "Medika Mamba"

Phase III (October-December)

·   Repeat Phase I


The 2010 project will average a cost of just $3 per child reached.  And the return on this investment will be seen within a year, if not sooner -- the beauty of the simplicity of what a difference we can make.    


There is a great amount of work to be done, but as usual, Variety is committed to the cause.  Through careful planning, persistence, and flexibility we will continue to take steady steps through this grass-roots effort to tackle the major illnesses that are taking the lives of children in Haiti.  Together, through the strength of our existing Tents, our network of champions and partnerships, we have the potential to reach many in need of our help.  Our initiative in Haiti is a great first step for the Variety Children's Health Campaign.  We'll continue to keep you posted and hope you'll take on the challenge to support the initiative. 


For only $3 a child your contributions can make a huge impact

©        $30 à   10 kids

©        $300 à 100 kids

©        $3000 à 1,000 kids


Donate Now

 Together we will help to make it happen!
 VARIETY LOGO HORIZONTALPenn State Hershey College of Medicine 



Closing Headline
Continue to bring joy and comfort to the hearts of children.  Thank you for being a part of Variety, the Children's Charity! 
Contact Information


© 2010 Variety International.  All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy of Steve Miller and Dr. Fredrick.  All rights reserved.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Data entry as a spiritual activity

I was greatly encouraged today at church.  Several people who have been working on entering the data on the Child Health Campaign mentioned to me that as they would work from form to form (a blurry example is attached) they would find themselves realizing that the numbers and 'data points' really represented a single child in Pestel.  They would see values that were well outside of normal (10 year olds weighing 40-50 pounds) and they would be compelled to pray.  

They had to keep themselves moving, however, or they knew they wouldn't get through the data entry at that pace.

What a gift to these children!  

There is a need to get the data entered in a timely fashion.  But the need is so much greater for people to be praying for the children.  
Moving toward data entry into a PDA or cell phone is an efficient (if it works!) technological advance.  But it does have the unintended consequence of removing visual prompts for some people who have turned data entry into a spiritual activity.


PS:   7,220 children's forms have been entered to date!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pestel updates

Hi all,

A few bits of information:

I started to analyze the data from Section 6, the island.  So far the stats are staggering:
25% of kids under 5 with moderate-severe malnutrition.  That's 1 in every 4 kids.  And another 20% with mild malnutrition.
About 90% of kids surveyed had anemia.  The workers tested every 10th kid.   So if there are about 1500 kids on the island then about 1300-1400 of them will have anemia.  And again, many of them are severe.  I'll try to send a graph so you can see what I'm talking about.   Long-story-short:  this is going to be a priority area for 2011.

I received an email today from Dr. Seneque.  They finished up the Child Health Campaign, distributing medications to 12,000 kids between mid-March and June!!   Also, and quite amazingly, he said that the PDA's seemed to be working.  I'm really surprised.  Honestly.  If the workers are successful with the PDAs it is because of their persistence and ingenuity.  

Through friends I was given the contact information for the manager of a very large engineering company that has expressed interest in doing some work in Haiti.  I spoke with the manager of their international operations and he's interested in talking a bit more about.  I don't know where this will go, and it may yield benefit to some other area in Pestel, but either way it is worth praying about--that God would move their hearts to commit to a course of action in Haiti.  This would be a charitable work, I believe.  And they are capable of very large scale engineering feats.

Finally, check out this link....About 1/3 the way down or so you'll see an article about the work being done in Pestel, sponsored in large part by Variety International.
They are planning to do an entire newsletter about the Pestel project!!  This is fantastic visibility and a who-knows-what-will-come opportunity.
And I can't remember who the ladies are with whom I'm in the picture.   So many people asking to take my photo with them!!
Actually, that really did tickle my fancy.  I was quite incredulous:  "YOU want to take a photo with me?!?"  Why spoil a really nice photo!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CNN video

Here is a video interview between Anderson Cooper and Bill Clinton, in Haiti.
I think this does nice a job of explaining some of the challenges going forward:


Friday, July 9, 2010

BBC Audio Slideshow

A lot of folks are starting to do "6 months since the earthquake" reports.  This report is nicely done.  It's about 4 minutes long and well worth your time, just to get a glimpse of how things are currently in Haiti.  I'm particularly thankful that the reporter took some time to go out to other villages and cities:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Some Haiti news tidbits

Just a few quick notes related to Haiti:

Haiti sets elections.  The president (Preval) just announced that new elections will be held on November 28th.  This issue, when elections would be held, was a big question mark.  They will elect a new president.  Preval is finishing up his second term, so he is not eligible to run again.  Haiti was scheduled to have elections this year, but the earthquake in January threw that into question.

Peanut Butter Miracles in Haiti.  Check this out:
The article features Medika Mamba from Meds and Food for Kids (MFK).  This is the organization that gave us a donation of Medika Mamba (specially formulated peanut butter) to try out in Pestel on our past trip.  Jon trained a couple of Sister Fidelis' nurses on how to administer the Medika Mamba as well as the monitoring of the kids to see how they are improving.  Currently we are trying this on 10 kids with moderate-severe malnutrition.
This link has a really nice slideshow of photos that show how they make the MM.

Next trip.  My next trip will likely be in mid-October.  Right now I'm looking at October 16th. 

Data entry.  Thanks again to all who are entering data!  Right now 4500 kids have been entered in!!  So we're almost half-done.  Just scanning over the data, there are some areas that are just shocking.  The island, especially, has some of the worst anemia rates you would EVER see.  Kids with hemoglobin around 5 and 6.   Normal is more like 12.  Absolutely awful. 


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