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Global Update: Treating Cancer in Tanzania, Fund for Health Equity, Vaccines to Mexico

A look at Direct Relief's activities around the world.



Pharmacist Ezekiel Tunduje with cancer treatment therapies from Direct Relief, at Muhimbili National Hospital on April 19, 2021. (Photo by Daniel Msirikale for Direct Relief)

What’s New

  • Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity announced $8.1 million in grants to 40 organizations across the United States.  
  • Responding to a request from the Mexican government, Direct Relief arranged logistics for 1.75 million additional doses of Covid-19 vaccine to be transported to the country.
  • Modern Village and Town, a Ukranian NGO serving children and their families, has received $6.3 million in medical aid since 2020.
  • With Direct Relief’s support, the group Tumaini La Maisha continues to expand their fight against children’s cancers in Tanzania.

Top Stories

Increasing Health Equity Across the U.S.

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii Midwife Pennie Bumrungsiri takes a patient’s blood pressure in a new mobile van. The organization will be expanding care services to families and newborns with support from the Fund for Health Equity. (Photo courtesy of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii)

The situation: The sharply disproportionate effects of Covid-19 continue to reflect historic inequities in access to health services within the United States.
The response:  Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity is distributing $8.1 million in grants to 40 nonprofit community health centers, free and charitable clinics, community-based organizations, and other groups working to address these underlying health disparities.
The impact: The 40 awardees received funding for a wide range of initiatives, including efforts to diversify the healthcare workforce, serve people experiencing homelessness, sustain and restore Indigenous health practices, and reduce infant mortality rates ​that fall disproportionally along racial and ethnic lines.

Transporting Covid-19 Vaccines to Mexico

Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Mexico City on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. (FedEx photo)

The situation: The Mexican government requested Direct Relief’s help in transporting an additional 1.75 million doses of Moderna vaccine, donated by the U.S., to Mexico City – the second of two deliveries.
The response: Direct Relief served as the licensed distributor exporting the medicine from the United States and importing it to Mexico, using air transportation donated by FedEx.
The impact: Currently, only about 32% of Mexico’s population has been fully vaccinated. The donation will give an additional 1.75 million people their first dose.

In Ukraine, Supporting Children and the Hospitals that Treat Them

A nurse of the children’s hospital in front of the patient reception room. The boxes contain donated disposable gloves, and medical supplies. (Photo courtesy of Charity Fund Modern Village and Town)

The situation: The Ukranian group Modern Village and Town works to support children and families confronting cerebral palsy, cancer, rare diseases, and other conditions.
The response: Since 2020, Direct Relief has supported the NGO’s work with $6.3 million in medications.
The impact: The medication will be used to support oncological treatment and other essential interventions.

Providing New Tools to Fight Children’s Cancers

A young patient with cancer receives a checkup from Dr. Primus Ewald at Muhimbili National Hospital on May 20, 2021. (Photo by Daniel Msirikale for Direct Relief)

The situation: The Tanzanian group Tumaini La Maisha works to make cancer care available to children across Tanzania. But until recently, medicines were simply loaded into a picnic basket with ice and sent via overnight mail through the Tanzanian heat.
The response: Working with the pharmaceutical company Amgen, Direct Relief provided Tumaini La Maisha with the materials needed to reliably ship cold-chain medications – along with the expertise to learn how to track and ship the medications so they’re pristine when they arrive.
The impact: “Our system is fine if everything works, but any delays at all can really cause a major problem, and we may not even be aware that a medication has been compromised,” said oncologist Dr. Trish Scanlan. “All these worries are solved thanks to the Direct Relief intervention.”

In Brief

The United States

  • Over the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 848 shipments to 508 partners in 44 states and territories, totaling $9.6 million in value and more than 46,000 pounds.
  • During that time, $963,000 in grants has been distributed.

Around the World

  • In the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 82 shipments to 47 partners in 24 countries, totaling $52.3 million in value and more than 115,000 pounds.
  • During the same period, $450,000 has been granted.
  • Direct Relief’s global partner network continues to grow, with new partnerships in Zambia, Haiti, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Lebanon, among others, established over the last six weeks.
  • Life for a Child, a Direct Relief partner focused on pediatric diabetes, added new partners in Ecuador, the Republic of the Congo, the West Bank, Panama, Djibouti, and Pakistan.

Giving is Good Medicine

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