2006.03.01: March 1, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Thailand: NGOs: Staff: Chief of Staff: Katrina: Alertnet: Six Months after Katrina, Direct Relief International Continues Vital Health Assistance to Gulf Coast Region

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Special Report: Direct Relief International Head Thomas Tighe: February 9, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV Thomas Tighe (Thailand) : 2006.03.01: March 1, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Thailand: NGOs: Staff: Chief of Staff: Katrina: Alertnet: Six Months after Katrina, Direct Relief International Continues Vital Health Assistance to Gulf Coast Region

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-186-164.balt.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 6:20 am: Edit Post

Six Months after Katrina, Direct Relief International Continues Vital Health Assistance to Gulf Coast Region

Six Months after Katrina, Direct Relief International Continues Vital Health Assistance to Gulf Coast Region

Six months after Hurricane Katrina, Direct Relief International has furnished over $29 million in direct aid to the Gulf states and remains intensely involved in efforts to address both current and long-term needs. Thomas Tighe, the head of Direct Relief International, was formerly the Chief of Staff of the Peace Corps and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand.

Six Months after Katrina, Direct Relief International Continues Vital Health Assistance to Gulf Coast Region

Six Months after Katrina, Direct Relief International Continues Vital Health Assistance to Gulf Coast Region
01 Mar 2006 02:18:00 GMT
Source: Direct Relief International (DRI) - USA

Website: http://www.directrelief.org
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Six months after Hurricane Katrina, Direct Relief International has furnished over $29 million in direct aid to the Gulf states and remains intensely involved in efforts to address both current and long-term needs.

In a six month review issued today, the California-based organization reported its spending on Katrina and Rita assistance, the results that have been achieved, and plans for the coming months. Direct Relief reported:

• Medical material assistance that has included 1.5 million courses of treatment to care for Katrina and Rita survivors;

• Furnishing 75 tons of medicines and supplies worth over $26.1 million (wholesale) through 86 shipments to 66 partner health facilities in five states;

• Infusing urgently needed cash resources into damaged health infrastructure through $3.3 million in grants to frontline health clinics and facilities;

• Spending 76.9% ($3,463,486) of the $4.5 million in hurricane cash contributions received.

Direct Relief’s support efforts have been aimed at both the major anchor facilities that provide specialized services and the network of safety-net clinics that play the key role in caring for people who have little money and no insurance. Both types of facilities have undergone tremendous strain from surging patient visits, lack of revenue, and in many cases storm-related damage. With extensive experience in emergency response and working with longstanding partner healthcare companies who drew from its existing inventory of prescription medicines and supplies, Direct Relief was able to respond quickly, effectively, and on a large scale.

Direct Relief has been able to supply clinics with needed product, make cash grants to front line clinics to pay employees to stay and work, and in many cases to even keep the lights on. The response was enhanced by FedEx who contributed free intensive logistical support and shipping. Over 57 companies have made product contributions to assist in the response.

“After almost 60 years in humanitarian assistance, our organization has learned that, in crises, those who do the best work in hard-hit areas immediately and for the long run thereafter usually are the folks who live there already,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief International. “Community and free clinics are the health safety net for low-income people,” said Tighe. “That net has been ripped, and many more people have been pushed into dire economic circumstances and need free medical care. We are doing all we can to make sure that these safety net clinics can serve the people who need care.”

The organization has followed a strict policy of using 100% of all hurricane contributions for only direct hurricane expenditures and is absorbing all administrative costs associated with the hurricane response. This policy also ensures that interest that has accrued on unspent hurricane funds is used only for Katrina and Rita purposes.

Consistent with the organization’s longstanding practices, all medical material and financial resources were specifically requested by partner health leaders and professionals from local hospitals, clinics, and health organizations. Direct Relief targeted high-priority needs with material and cash support to help jumpstart local health services, rebuild essential health infrastructure, and enable emergency medical transport.

In its continuing effort to provide full disclosure on its activities, Direct Relief has also published on its website extensive summaries on each cash grant and shipment that the organization has made, including the amount of funding provided, the purposes of the funding, and the results that have been achieved. Examples include:

• Funded the main blood distribution center in Louisiana and Mississippi $430,000 to help restart the provision of the blood supply to over 50 hospitals for critical surgeries, transfusions, cancer treatments, and other daily needs;

• Partnered with BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) to deliver an emergency supply of diabetes supplies needed by over 2,000 patients at a community health center in Eunice;

• Provided funding to the Gulfport Memorial Hospital for a call center that received over 4,000 calls in the first three months to provide information on available medical and pharmaceutical services along the Mississippi coast; • Granted the Coastal Family Health Center $93,000 to procure necessary equipment and supplies for their new facility in Long Beach, MS. Coastal lost four of its six clinics during Katrina.

“All of the funds we have furnished have been put into immediate use to deliver critical health services,” said Tighe. “This was the principal reason we decided to work through these channels – so that the urgent short-term needs would not cause the organizations to fail and be unable to play their important roles in health-service delivery. Attention fades, but the effects of Katrina and Rita remain profound on people living in the affected areas and across the country. Direct Relief remains committed to helping them rebuild their communities, their health systems, and their lives.”

When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Alertnet

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Thailand; NGOs; Staff; Chief of Staff; Katrina


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