Community Health

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Working through hospitals, clinics and other health facilities, we can reduce preventable illness and death and improve overall individual and family health at the community level. This clinic-to-community model links treatment services to disease prevention and health education.  We are developing and providing proven systems of care for newborn, maternal and child health, mental health, hypertension and diabetes. And the cornerstone of much of our work in each community focuses on empowering, informing and educating community health workers and leaders - building a stronger health care system so they can become the critical link connecting their community to good health and beyond. 

Diabetes and Hypertension

“I always say I had a heartbeat, but I wasn’t alive”

Jennifer, a patient with hypertension and diabetes

It’s all about reclaiming your life.  Read Jennifer’s story

And she doesn’t have to do it alone.

Diabetes and hypertension can lead to serious health problems, often leading to disability and death.  With the growing crisis of chronic disease in the United States and around the world, particularly in developing countries, Americares is providing critical resources for local health care providers to prevent, manage and treat these major health threats.  At our Family Clinic in El Salvador, the staff tirelessly pursue educational outreach programs to help the community prevent and manage chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension. And in Americares Free Clinics in Connecticut, we have introduced a health coach program as part of a comprehensive approach to good health management for the uninsured.  Good health is more than just meds.  

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Health coaches work directly with free clinic patients to build healthy lifestyles to prevent and manage chronic health issues.
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Testing blood sugar levels is an important first step through community outreach programs in countries like Peru where diabetes is on the rise.
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Staff in El Salvador encourage healthier living through exercise and nutrition.

Mental Health

450 million

That’s the number of people that currently suffer from mental illness, among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

More than 43 million people in the U.S. are living with mental illness, and nearly half go without treatment. In developing countries, the treatment gap rockets sky-high to 90 percent. People with mental illness are twice as likely to be poor and uninsured as compared to the general population.  

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Responding to this challenge here in the U.S., Americares is becoming a new resource for nonprofit health centers serving 8 million low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients with mental health needs.
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In the Philippines, We have already trained over 2,300 health workers and community leaders to provide mental health services to survivors facing trauma and loss after a deadly typhoon. More than 130,000 people now have access to improved mental health services.
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In Nepal Collaborating with local groups who already work in the region, AmeriCares is bringing community-based psychosocial health programs to remote and isolated earthquake-affected communities.

“When you’re told ‘no’ to a medical need, that’s crushing.” Read Kevin's story.

“When you’re told ‘no’ to a medical need, that’s crushing.”

Kevin found care at one of 88 clinics in the U.S. supported by Americares with a unique program that donates medicine and personal care products to behavioral health centers. 

Dealing with trauma after a disaster -- Read Kate’s blog

It all begins with the community.

Maternal and Child Health

At no other time is the need for immediate quality medical care more crucial than at birth and during the first years of a child’s life.

Health Care "Miracle" in Liberia for a mother and her newborn. Read their story.

Health Care "Miracle" in Liberia

A mother and her newborn get lifesaving care in Liberia because of a new maternal care wing on a government hospital supported by Americares.

Protecting the most vulnerable

In Liberia , Syria, Tanzania, Kosovo and many other countries around the world where mothers and children are at risk, we  focus on local health workers, supporting them with the resources they need to expand local health facilities and services, giving more mothers and their children a safer path to a healthier future.

1093 healthy babies

In the past year, 1093 babies have been delivered in new maternal and child health facilities supported by Americares in Liberia

25,000 people have flocked to remote Grand Bassa County, Liberia: diamonds. If you sift enough sand, you might find a few tiny gems or even a large one, enough carats to make you rich or able to build a house.  John Logan Town exists because of this dream. Five years ago it was just a place to cross the river. The town's health clinic is the other reason people walk four hours or more to reach John Logan Town. Originally built to isolate Ebola cases (there were none here thankfully), it's now supported by Americares to provide primary care with a focus on maternal, newborn and child health. A gem of hope by the river.  

 "Let the light continue to shine in the community. Don't let the light go out."

A village elder, describing the clinic.

Patience, a community health volunteer at Zondo Clinic, lives about a two-hour walk from the clinic with her 15-year old son and would like to continue her studies and become a nurse.

 “The clinic helps us a lot. Before, people used to get sick and the only way to get care was to get out of the area; there was no one to attend to them. If there was no car [to take them to the nearest hospital – a 3-hour walk], then the person would die. “

“Now people work at the clinic every day – anytime anyone gets sick, they can get care. If the clinic is not able to help, the ambulance is there to carry them. A little girl was sick – 2 years old – she had a running stomach and scum coming out of her ear. They took her to the clinic and gave her medicine.

My mom lives here. I live in the next village, a two-hour walk. I work as a community health volunteer. During the Ebola crisis, I did contact tracing. We had no cases! 

Now I educate people on health and hygiene, on diarrheal diseases and malaria and how to take care of children under 5 years. I talk to the people. If they are sick – the ones that I can treat, I might treat them maybe with oral rehydration salts, things I have learned how to do or I can refer them to the clinic.  People are still suffering but at least it’s much better.

In 10 years I want to become a nurse; I want to be more educated.”

“If you are healthy, you have the chance to do any good thing in your life.”

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The community health worker is the crucial link to building a healthy productive community.
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Health mother and healthy baby – the best of all outcomes for the clinic in John Logan Town Liberia. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah.
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Empowering and training traditional midwives in Liberia is a critical part of the success of the Zondo clinic. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah.
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Access to medicine on the road to John Logan Town is perilous indeed. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah

A Healthy Future for Mom and Baby. Good health from the start.

Faustina knows the positive effects firsthand. Comparing her health now to what it was after the birth of her first child, Faustina says she feels “far better, stronger and am looking more beautiful.”

Strengthening Health Care

Empower and Protect the Community Health Worker

A sick doctor or nurse can infect patients or become unable to work. In Tanzania, and other countries where health care workers are scarce, the loss of one doctor or nurse means that thousands of people won’t get the care they need. And the sudden emergence of an infectious disease, such as the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, can have devastating consequences for the health care system in a developing country where health care workers often face severe shortages of basic protective equipment and supplies.

Helping Fatuma do her work safely - read the Fatuma story

So her patients, family and community can stay healthy

 “If we are safe, the community is safe,” 

Fatuma, nurse at Musumo Hospital in Tanzania

In countries where we work around the world such as Liberia, Philippines, Nepal, and here in the U.S. we focus on strengthening community health care – by rebuilding or expanding local health facilities, empowering, informing and training health workers and extending the capabilities of the local health system to reach out into the community and beyond with information, education and services.

 

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In the U.S. we provide health care professionals at free clinics with the resources to reach more people with quality health care. Photo by Matthew McDermott.
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In Liberia, we empower and support the community health worker - the crucial link to building a healthy productive community.
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In Nepal, we support a rehabilitation facility for people injured in the 2015 Earthquake. Photo by William Vazquez.
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In the Philippines we have helped to rebuild and expand 84 health facilities damaged by Typhoon Haiyan