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In Peru, where 20% of the people live in extreme poverty, access to health care and to medicines is beyond the reach for many residents. One of the organizations working hardest to ensure health care for the disadvantaged is VIDA Peru, an organization AmeriCares supports regularly with ongoing aid.
Like AmeriCares, VIDA is completely funded by private individual and corporate donors. It supports a network of 250 public health establishments throughout the country with in-kind medicines and medical supplies; it also works with volunteer Peruvian doctors who offer free medical assistance, as well as basic nutrition and prenatal care, in poor, rural communities. AmeriCares donations support many of these facilities and the volunteer doctors.
A recent corporate donation to AmeriCares is making it easier to deliver support to VIDA. Charter airline Air Transport International LLC (ATI), based in Little Rock, AR, offered to donate cargo space regularly to AmeriCares to transport aid shipments to Peru. ATI flies an empty DC-8 aircraft to Peru every two to three months for maintenance and made the space available for AmeriCares shipments of medicines and humanitarian relief, free of charge.
“ATI was pleased to be able to offer the capacity on these flights to AmeriCares”, said Charles Carson, VP of Sales for ATI. “Since we are ferrying the aircraft anyway, the small incremental cost we incur for additional fuel burn and aircraft handling is more than offset by the knowledge that ATI is helping AmeriCares extend its reach. AmeriCares has a long history of using aviation to support its mission, so our partnership with AmeriCares is a natural fit for us. ATI also considers AmeriCares to be the global leader in cost-effective distribution of donated humanitarian supplies, and we are proud to assist AmeriCares in optimizing its logistics costs.”
The first in this series of flights departed in August. AmeriCares aid workers accompanied the shipment and, while in Peru, visited some of the facilities that receive AmeriCares donations. The AmeriCares workers also accompanied one of VIDA’s volunteer medical missions to Manchay, an extremely poor neighborhood in the outskirts of Lima. The medical professionals on this trip – general practitioners, eye doctors and dentists among them — used medicines from AmeriCares to treat more than 500 patients that day.
“It was a great opportunity to see how our donated medicines make a real difference to people who really don’t have access to health care,” said Michael Chang of AmeriCares.