Direct Relief Airlifts $1.4 Million in Emergency Medical Supplies

Continuing its targeted support to victims of Cyclone Nargis, Direct Relief International this week provided via airlift 9 tons of medical material aid valued at $1.4 million to Myanmar. In addition, Direct Relief’s partnership with Australian Aid International (AAI) has established a series of training programs in emergency-response medicine that has trained more than 80 local physicians and health workers being deployed to the hardest-hit areas.

The most recent infusion of medical material aid includes critically needed materials—including surgical supplies, antibiotics, analgesics, orthopedic devices, and oral rehydration solution—requested by the Myanmar Medical Association (MMA), the country’s largest medical association. The infrastructure of the national professional organization of 8,000 doctors, founded in 1949, enables the allocation and distribution of aid to the village and township level. Direct Relief-provided materials are being deployed with medical volunteers to the hardest hit areas to treat cyclone victims and to prevent and control the outbreak of communicable diseases. Primary health concerns now include respiratory infection and diarrhea.

With financial and material support from Direct Relief, AAI’s team of deeply experienced emergency-medicine experts has initiated a series of specialized trainings for local physicians and health workers.

Since June 1, 83 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, and volunteers, have received intensive training sessions in relief-clinic management and specialized training on treatment protocols for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and poisonous snake bite. In a “Train the Trainer” program, AAI is also teaching health teams how to instruct their counterparts in the field. Health teams have been deployed throughout the broader Yangon District and Kunyangon, the badly effected coastal area south of Yangon, where approximately 100,000 people remain in acute need of medical assistance.

Last week, Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe conducted a joint press conference call with Global Health Progress Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Antony to discuss the importance of preventing a devastating “second disaster” of fast-spreading disease. Click here to read the transcript and listen to the audio recording of the call.

Responding to the emergency, Direct Relief has delivered $1,998,232 in assistance to Myanmar, including $143,000 in financial support and 340,078 courses of treatment for victims of the May 3 cyclone.

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