intldoctorPart of our focus on healthy travel is to build an appreciation for the doctors and hospitals around the world that make special efforts to treat sick and injured travelers.  Well, it turns out that many of these healthcare providers also go out of their way to care for some of the neediest people on the planet. We opened a window on this activity when we introduced some of the doctors and hospitals that work most closely with us to an organization called Global Giving , a philanthropic network dedicated to supporting grass roots programs worldwide.

Through Global Giving, our community of doctors and hospitals applies HTH-funded donations to the philanthropic projects of their choice.  The funds support a diverse range of healthcare projects worldwide – equipment for a hospital in Haiti, mosquito nets for families in East Africa and immunizations for children in the Philippines, just to name a few. 

Over the years, I have learned that despite their busy practices, many of the doctors and hospitals we work with have initiated and nurtured a wide variety of philanthropic projects.  Many provide care free of charge to uninsured local patients who can’t afford it-the CIWEC Clinic in Kathmandu provides free rabies treatment, Dr. Marcos Pacheco e Silva provides dental care free of charge to patients with Down’s Syndrome, HIV and Hepatitis C at the University of São Paulo, and the Dubai Bone and Joint Center founded The Emirates Arthritis Foundation  which raises funds for arthritis patients in need.  In partnership with the Cardiac Children Foundation of Thailand (CCF), Bumrungrad Hospital has given life-saving heart surgery free of charge to 276 children since 2004. 

Others, like Dr. Paul Zakowich, our Regional Physician Advisor in Singapore, help lead medical relief missions to Cambodia and Laos, while the CURE International  hospital in the Dominican Republic regularly receives orthopedic surgeons from the United States to perform life-changing operations on young local patients.  Physicians at the Central Health Medical Practice in Hong Kong  provide medical care to orphans in China.  One of my favorite projects is headed by Dr. Tim Meade in Lusaka, whose organization “Tiny Tim and Friends” provides medical care and support to HIV-positive orphans and other vulnerable children in Zambia.  Sometimes, projects are on a larger scale:  the renowned University College of London Hospitals  has developed a long-term program to exchange staff and expertise with a sister institution in Kampala, Uganda.

It’s our plan to use this space to describe these initiatives in more detail.  We hope that by promoting wider appreciation of these efforts, we will encourage greater participation and investment in improving the lives of the neediest around the world.

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About The Author

Laura Hilton serves as head of International Provider Network Development. Laura oversees all HTH international medical assistance operations and leads development of HTH’s international provider community and online databases from her office in London. Laura joined HTH in 2000 in the role of international provider recruitment and relations. She has extensive experience in emergency assistance operations and has developed medical evacuation plans for over 500 corporations. Fluent in five languages, she has traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the former Soviet Union to evaluate international medical facilities and design healthcare solutions for travelers and business expatriates. Laura is a graduate of Yale University with a B.A.

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