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Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe announces Medical Relief Supplies to Reach Liberia
Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe announces Medical Relief Supplies to Reach Liberia
Medical Relief Supplies to Reach Liberia, First Lady Bryant to Receive U.S. Private Assistance Shipment
Direct Relief International
Direct Relief International (DRI) - USA
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. NGOs Project Momentum and Direct Relief International to deliver over $600,000 of medicines and health supplies in Monrovia - CEREMONY WEDNESDAY MARCH 24
WHO Liberia’s First Lady Rosie Bryant; U.S. Ambassador to Liberia; Liberia Minister of Information; Project Momentum Liberia staff; ELWA Hospital staff; Liberian children; member of international, diplomatic, business, and non-profit communities.
WHAT Photo/Video/Interviews; Arrival of 3-ton, $600,000 delivery medical and hospital supplies in Monrovia, one of the largest medical relief shipments since crisis. First Lady Bryant and dignitaries receive and deliver shipment from Port of Monrovia to ELWA Hospital (20 minute drive). Ribbon cutting ceremony and diplomatic escort to hospital.
WHERE Port of Monrovia, Liberia
WHEN Wednesday, March 24, 2004, 11:00 a.m. (Liberia local time)
U.S. Interviews + Doughba Hamilton Caranda-Martin III, Project Momentum Founder and President + Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief International President and CEO, former Peace Corps Chief-of-Staff & COO + Katherine Poma, R.N., Direct Relief International Africa & Middle East Program Officer + Christienne Durbin, Direct Relief International Africa & Middle East Program Officer and 1989 Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia
CONTACTS: U.S. SurfMedia Communications -Direct Relief International Juliana Minsky (805) 962-3700, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Momentum Doughba Hamilton Caranda-Martin (917) 608-7448, email@example.com
LIBERIA Project Momentum Liberia,Monrovia John Caranda +11 +377 +47 +515530, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Medical Relief Supplies to Reach Liberia, First Lady Bryant to Receive U.S. Private Assistance
U.S. NGOs Project Momentum and Direct Relief International to deliver over $600,000 of medicines and health supplies in Monrovia
Monrovia, Liberia, New York, NY, Santa Barbara, Calif., March 23, 2004— ELWA Hospital was one of two Monrovian hospitals to remain open and functioning since last June when civil strife turned into widespread violence in the Republic of Liberia in West Africa. New York based non-profit Project Momentum has arranged for ELWA Hospital to receive a shipment of medical goods donated by Direct Relief International and valued at U.S. $608,195 (wholesale value). ELWA Hospital will also collaborate to distribute supplies from the shipment to Imani House, a small rural clinic outside Monrovia in need of great assistance because of looting during recent civil strife. The shipment will be received at the Port of Monrovia and delivered to ELWA Hospital by dignitaries and Project Momentum staff on Saturday, March 24.
“We commend our partners in this major effort to serve the dire need for medical care of Liberians caught in the crisis,” said Project Momentum founder, Doughba Hamilton Caranda-Martin III. “Direct Relief International’s commitment and donation of medicines and hospital supplies will allow Dr. Rick Sacra and the hard working and dedicated staff at ELWA Hospital and Imani House to continue to treat children and adults with critical medical and nutritional needs.”
Liberia’s First Lady, Rosie Bryant, Minister of Information, and U.S. ambassador to Liberia will join Project Momentum representatives to receive and accompany the three ton shipment from the Port of Monrovia to ELWA Hospital. A ribbon cutting ceremony and diplomatic escort will be attended by Liberian children, and members of the Liberian international, diplomatic, business, and non-profit communities. This is one of the largest shipments of direct medical aid to the Liberian people since widespread violence erupted in June 2003 leading to the displacement of an estimated 450,000 Liberians, with approximately 250,000 living in Monrovia, many in makeshift camps and the athletic stadium.
“We are especially grateful to First Lady Bryant, the office of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Direct Relief staff for recognizing the importance of Project Momentum’s program,” continued Caranda-Martin. “With their recognition, support and efforts, Project Momentum is able to deliver life-saving assistance.”
ELWA Hospital is a small, 40-bed hospital about one-half hour outside Monrovia staffed by Liberians with the exception of Dr. Rick Sacra, a family practitioner from Massachusetts, who has been at the facility since 1995.
The donation of essential medicines and hospital supplies are provided in partnership with Project Momentum, by California-based humanitarian medical relief organization Direct Relief International. Also instrumental in arranging the delivery is Richard Tolbert, Liberian-born Senior Vice President at UBS PaineWebber.
“Direct Relief’s assistance is only possible by virtue of trusted partners around the world, who ensure safe and timely delivery of medical supplies directly to the health providers who can save and improve the lives of those most urgently in need,” said Thomas Tighe, president and CEO of Direct Relief International and former Peace Corps Chief-of-Staff. “Project Momentum has worked quickly and responsibly to identify the most urgent healthcare needs and coordinate a plan and pathway to safely deliver significant assistance in one of the most challenging environments.”
Almost one year after the exile of President Charles Taylor and the deployment of Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping troops headed by Nigeria, the situation in Liberia remains volatile with intermittent violence around the country and recent outbreaks in the northern region. After two decades of civil war, the people are weary of fighting and live in continued fear of new outbreaks. Hundreds of thousands of Liberians have been displaced and still live in makeshift camps in Monrovia and other cities, food remains scarce, and sketchy water and sanitation conditions prevail. The high risk of disease epidemics is heightened more due to hospital shut downs caused by looting and inability to provide services. The February United Nations and World Bank Group Joint Needs Assessment, under the guidance and auspices of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, identifies health and nutrition among the top ten needs in Liberia, with the most urgent priority to resume basic social services, including primary medical care. The report characterizes the available health and nutritional indicators for Liberia as among the worst in the world. It is estimated that fewer than 10% of Liberians have access to health care. Recent World Health Organization (WHO) statistics on Liberia show that current life expectancy at birth is only 44.6 years for males and 48.0 years for females. Current per capita expenditures on health were reported at just $2 per year. The Project Momentum-Direct Relief International shipment is equivalent to approximately 10 percent of Liberia’s entire annual health expenditure. About Direct Relief International
Founded in 1948 by two immigrant businessmen, Direct Relief International is a non-profit, non-sectarian humanitarian assistance organization based in Santa Barbara, California. For 55 years, Direct Relief has provided medical material assistance in the form of pharmaceuticals, supplies, and new and refurbished medical equipment to over 3,000 charitable health facilities worldwide and within the United States. In 2003, the organization provided more than $90 million (wholesale value) in medicines, supplies and equipment to health projects in 61 countries, enough provisions to keep hundreds of local health professionals and clinics productively engaged and provide full courses of medical treatment for over 10 million people. Direct Relief was cited by Forbes Magazine in December 2003 as a U.S charity with 100% efficiency and charitable commitment and by Consumers Digest as one of only five of the leading U.S. charitable organizations evaluated to receive 99% or better efficiency ranking in their 2003 survey of major U.S. charities
About Project Momentum and Project Momentum Liberia
Project Momentum is a 501c3 non-profit corporation founded by Doughba Hamilton Caranda-Martin III, internationally recognized artist and Liberian national, to promote contemporary African art and culture and to bring aid to those in need in Sub-Saharan Africa. Project Momentum is founded by a group of visual artists, art historians and cultural activists who seek to push the traditional limits of understanding art in order to use the cultural and visual arts as tools for the promotion of issues of larger cultural concern. Project Momentum aims to provide assistance to Liberians by partnering with non-profit and aid organizations in Liberia whose missions fit one or more of the following criteria: Emergency Food and Medical Aid, Nutrition for Child Development, or HIV/AIDS Education and Testing.
Before emigrating to the United States, Mr. Caranda-Martin experienced the Liberian civil war first hand. During the 1980s Mr. Caranda-Martin witnessed the destruction of his homeland and the murders of many friends and family members. Left alone as a teenager in a war zone, Mr. Caranda-Martin volunteered in the Mamba Point refugee camp at the American compound in Monrovia. He was eventually rescued by his mother, then living in the United States, with the help of the American Diplomatic Mission. After arriving in the United States, Mr. Caranda-Martin began his career as an artist, exploring issues of war and death, and referencing Liberian culture. Receiving both critical and commercial success, his artwork has been exhibited and collected worldwide and he is using the sale of his artwork as one aspect of the ongoing fundraising efforts for Project Momentum. The Project Momentum ‘Campaign for Liberia’ aims to raise $10,000,000 towards long term assistance to the Liberian people.