Health Goes Global Co-Founder and Director, Hannah Akre, shares how partnerships and passionate volunteers make this organization stronger than ever before. Click on the article below to read the entire piece!
Gloves Go Global is proud to continue to be the main provider of medical examination gloves to Floating Doctors in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. They serve the Ngobe-Bugle people, indigenous to Panama, who live in remote communities only accessible by boat. Gloves Go Global works hard to keep their mobile clinics stocked with gloves. All of the medical volunteers with Floating Doctors work even harder to continue to be the the only access to healthcare these communities have.
The dedicated volunteers pack gloves for each single day and multi-day clinic, and use examination gloves for follow-up visits, dental workshops and veterinary clinics, too. Their primary glove use in clinic occurs at the intake station, where they provide urinalysis, pregnancy tests, blood glucose tests, hemoglobin checks, and HBA1C checks. People who get these tests include all pregnant women, adults over 40, and patients with symptoms of diabetes, UTI, pregnancy, and anemia. This patient population makes up about 30% of their total patients seen. In just the last month, Floating Doctors saw 827 patients, at 9 clinic sites, and used 550-600 gloves!
Changing gloves in between each patient interaction protects the patients from spreading their infections and protects the medical volunteers from contracting illnesses while in Panama. As you can see, your contributions to Gloves Go Global are having a direct impact in Panama. We will continue our partnership with Floating Doctors and hope you continue to support our mission of preventative health action!
The SE200 Community Chlorine Maker allows an entire town of people to produce their own safe drinking water. This device is truly incredible, only using an electric current, salt, and water to make a pure chlorine concentration in just 5 minutes. According to the World Health Organization, providing safe drinking water is fundamental to global health. They estimate that about one tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by increasing access to safe drinking water. It was clear that implementing the SE200 devices fell in line with Gloves Go Global’s mission.
With your help we raised $2,500 for this project. To cut down on costs, Gloves Go Global partnered with Adventist World Aviation, a humanitarian aid organization providing emergency medical air evacuation throughout the world. Adventist World Aviation contributed invaluable contacts from their 10 years of intimately supporting the community, affordable housing, and air transportation to remote communities only accessible by air or boat. MSR contributed 8 SE200 Community Chlorine Makers to be deployed in South America. Director, Hannah Akre and Project Manager, Ethan Klausmeyer, donated their time to carry out this project on the ground in Guyana.
Region 1 of the country of Guyana was chosen for implementation for 3 primary reasons:
1) There is a seemingly unlimited supply of water in rural regions of this country. In fact, the word Guyana in native Amerindian language translates as “Land of Many Waters.” This is because of its many rivers, creeks and streams that flow through its breadths an accross its lengths.
2) There is enough infrastructure in this country to support a widespread project to purify water. The Guyanese hospitals have extremely rural outposts that are continuously staffed with medical professionals who can operate the devices.
3) There is an immense need for a renewable source of clean water. Guyana and Region 1 specifically is extremely rural and chronically faces shortages of bleach, their method of purifying water. Institutions such as hospitals and schools are no exception. Guyana is also supporting a growing Venezuelan refugee population. Since 2014, and especially in recent months, more than 2 million people have fled Venezuela - many of them relocating to Guyana. Region 1 borders Venezuela and thus has experienced the greatest influx of Venezuelan refugees. Venezuelan refugees seek the free health care provided in Guyana.
In the days leading up to our meeting to officially introduce the device, we were able to survey parts of the region. It was evident to us that rural areas were forgoing water purification because bleach shipments were infrequent or non-existent. We spoke with a school teacher that told us she often has to buy her own bleach and a rural outpost physician who said they save the bleach to treat water for the medical professionals and there is rarely enough to share with patients. The SE200 would solve both of these problems allowing these remote locations, dependent on government shipments of bleach, to never again run out of chlorine. This device also breaks the costly bleach supply chains, allowing hospitals and schools to use the money they saved for other health and community projects. Infact, the World Health Organization estimates that investment to improve drinking water makes strong economic sense: every dollar invested leads to up to eight dollars in benefits. Lastly, the SE200 will save hundreds of bottles of bleach from ending up in their beautiful rivers and streams.
After introducing the device to the Environmental Health Director, we demonstrated how to use the device to a room full of Public Health Officers, Medical Professionals, and Guyana Water Inc workers. They were in awe, especially after wafting the odor from the bubbling water and smelling the chlorine scent. As we shook hands, the energy inside the room was one of mutual respect and hope. After graciously accepting the donated devices, we all vowed to stay in communication thanks to wifi and WhatsApp messing.
Since this project, the Region 1 of Guyana has conducted their own laboratory tests on water purified by the SE200 to ensure its efficacy. They came back satisfactory and conversations have erupted about the widespread implementation of the device in 2020. They have also remarked that our continued communication is unlike other relations they have formed after having received donations. We pride ourselves on the lasting relationships we form as we continue to put all of our efforts towards preventative health endeavors.
The impressive work done by Gloves Go Global, in partnership with Mountain Safety Research (MSR) to implement the SE200 Community Chlorine Maker in rural communities around the globe. Our first mission: Mabaruma, Guyana.
Water is a fundamental human need; by providing clean drinking water we are preventing innumerable deaths and illnesses. Thank you, to all those who support our efforts.
Amidst our return from the Guyana clean water mission, Gloves Go Global was recognized in the Ladue News. Photos feature Hannah Akre, Executive Director with Jud Wickwire, Vice President of Adventist World Aviation, a crucial partner in providing clean water to Mabaruma, Guyana. Ethan Klausmeyer, MMS, Director of Development, is photographed in Panama after serving a community of Ngäbe people. Click on the photos to read to learn more about our humble beginnings and aspirations to keep doing more for preventative health care.
Jud Wickwire, Vice President of Operations for Adventist World Aviation, and Hannah Akre, Director of Gloves Go Global, meet in person to solidify partnership.
We are extremely grateful to be partnering with Adventist World Aviation (AWA) to bring the MSR technology to communities in Nicaragua and Guyana. Jud and the AWA team have established connections in Nicaragua and Guyana. Working with them will ensure sustainable and responsible implementation of the devices. One might not at first think of the many components associated with ensuring these devices are implemented sustainably. For example, villagers could run out of salt or battery power – unable to buy more – they would cease to produce clean water. We are incredibly fortunate to have AWA staff on the ground with the ability to replenish these resources and continually dole out safe water to community members. Working with AWA will also allow us to communicate about the efficacy of the devices and troubleshoot any unforeseen problems.
Our brainstorming conversation also brought up the potential for these devices to be used for disaster scenarios during drought, when people source their water from the river, rather than rain catchment. The clean water produced on the AWA bases will also ensure that the folks headed out on medical missions will have access to safe drinking water.
We are excited about the potentially profound impact this partnership can have on increasing the quality of life for those in La Tronquera, Nicaragua and Mabaruma, Guyana and reducing the use of medical resources by preventing illnesses associated with drinking unsafe water.
We bring you glad tidings this holiday season. What a year it has been! From weddings and graduations, to pregnancies and promotions - beautiful moments unfurling and blooming before our very eyes. Appreciation is most assuredly the message of the moment, and we write you today to share BIG news near and dear to our hearts; an expansive new partnership birthed from our enthusiasm for global medicine and preventative healthcare.
A little background regarding our big anouncement:
In the summer of 2017 Ethan Klausmeyer embarked on a Master of Medical Science at the University of Vermont. It was here that he formed meaningful friendship with Hannah Akre, director and co-founder of Gloves Go Global, who inspired him through her own initiatives and experience, to volunteer as a medical assistant in Panama with Floating Doctors, an existing partner of Gloves Go Global.
Hannah passionately explained, ‘This was the trip that sealed the deal, this was the journey where I came to see what it means to be a true health care professional and holistically elevate the well-being of others.’ Her enthusiasm was contagious. Ethan had to see it for himself. Upon graduating in 2018, he boarded a plane and embarked on a life changing adventure, providing medical care to rural underserved populations of Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Ethan worked alongside a team of international doctors setting up mobile clinics for remote indigenous communities that otherwise have extremely limited access to healthcare. Together they traveled by truck, boat, horseback, or on foot. While on clinic he gathered vitals, dosed medicine, documented patients’ histories to present cases to physicians, first assisted in emergency hernia surgeries, and was even able to present at the weekly case rounds on Perthe’s Disease, a very rare condition that affects ages 3-11 causing osteonecrosis of the developing femoral head. This was a game changer experience, and visceral assurance for Ethan, that he too, was on the right track. After a few weeks in, however, Ethan began to notice an issue, and decided to investigate.
‘I grew deeply concerned with the availability of clean drinking water within the rural communities I visited. Albedazole, taken to eradicate intestinal worms, was by far the most common medicine administered. Both adults and children consistently presented with symptoms of parasitic infection, a strong indicator that the local drinking water was contaminated,’ explained Ethan. Within such tropical climates, diarrhea brought on by worms or parasites can put one at extreme risk of dehydration, and even death. To make matters worse, alternative methods of obtaining water not only presented financial concerns for families, but also additional health risks. ‘Upon investigation I found the community stores sold bottled water for a dollar, while soda was only fifty cents. In an attempt to hydrate oneself, save money, and circumvent the issues of contamination, villagers would opt to drink soda. This compounded the crisis with the addition of widespread cavities and dental decay. There is no reason why a seven-year-old child should need to have her entire set of teeth pulled due to decay.’
When Ethan returned to the US he made a pitch to Hannah that they should expand her nonprofit to carry out their mission through additional modes of preventative health care, beginning with water purification. ‘I told her how my time in Panama had inspired me to take action in researching an effective treatment for water purification. As preventative care is a philosophy we both share, we decided to join forces. Handing out medicine to eliminate symptoms that are preventable is not practicing effective healthcare, both from a resource standpoint, as well as ethical. It merely puts a band-aid on the issue. Our efforts must be concentrated at eliminating problems at the source.’
Hannah agreed, ‘after six years of successfully carrying out our mission in the form of supplying under-stocked clinics with examination gloves, it was time to expand.’ Together Hannah and Ethan started searching for a product that was economically feasible, portable, easy to operate and sustainable. Through their search they discovered the MSR (Mountain Safety Research) Global Health Initiative. ‘We grew up knowing MSR as a leader in technical engineering and outdoor adventure gear, however, in 2015, MSR invested in global health initiatives, specifically in safe water, sanitation and hygiene,’ explained Hannah. They reached out and spoke with MSR’s business development manager. After several meetings Gloves Go Global formed an official partnership.
‘We’ll be taking their technology to Central and South America. It’s called the SE200 Chlorine Maker. All it requires is salt, water, and an electric current sourced from a power outlet or car/motorcycle battery. The electricity splits the salt molecule creating a chlorine concentrate that can be put into a large vessel of water to kill disease-causing microbes. We're going to be teaching communities how to use it, empowering locals to generate their own source of clean water, encouraging the practice of prevention over treatment.’
‘I never imagined this organization would outgrow my initial idea and be capable of taking on more in terms of promoting preventative health. I’m inspired by Ethan’s vision and excited to see Gloves Go Global grow alongside a new partner,’ Hannah reflected.
In harmony, small things grow. – Sallust
Gloves Go Global supports and promotes National Hand Washing Day because of our commitment to preventative health care. Today we can bring attention to one of the most simple, and effective ways to stay healthy –hand washing. Gloves Go Global aims to protect health care workers and the patients they serve through providing medical gloves for use in examinations and surgical settings. An important step in preventing the spread of germs and disease is hand washing, even when using gloves.
Hand washing with soap is one of the first lines of defense in the fight against disease. With proper techniques, studies show that the incidence of diarrheal disease can be cut by nearly half and greatly reduces the occurrence of intestinal worms. In an area where diarrhea can quickly become life-threatening and parasites are a constant battle, it is imperative that providers and medical volunteers emphasize health education.
If you would like more information on how you can participate in preventative health education programs reach out via email!
Floating Doctors is a US non-for-profit that provides free health care services and delivers donated medical supplies to remote Ngäbe indigenous communities in Panama. Every week, they dispatch a team of medical volunteers in to villages deep in the Panamanian jungle. Gloves Go Global donated 1,000 gloves to their cause. I volunteered for five weeks with Floating Doctors and saw first hand how their mobile clinics are run and how donations are put to great use.
I was able to see how important Floating Doctors is to the Ngäbe communities. The Ngäbe are ranked as one of the poorest indigenous communities in Latin America and as the poorest community in Panama. Government statistics estimate that 90% of the population lives below the poverty line. Some patients walk hours to get to the clinic, and all wait 3 months between clinics for their near-only access to medical care. Floating Doctors relies heavily on donations and volunteers. When they run out of medicine or medical supplies they carry on with what they have left, and when there are few medical providers they simply have longer and harder clinic days. Floating Doctors is committed to follow-up visits and sticking to the rotating 3-month schedule, and the Ngäbe people count on them. The most frequent diagnoses I saw were stomach worms, parasites, scabies, fungal infections, viral infections and bacterial infections, together with chronic aches and pains from a lifetime of tough physical labor. Some of the more dire diagnoses were advanced kidney failure, hernias, heart murmurs, tuberculosis, gall stones, and for these patients Floating Doctors commits to providing longterm treatment plans. Overall, it was rewarding to see how a few dedicated people and some key resources can make a fundamental difference in the lives of others.
- Written by Hannah Akre, Director and Founder of Gloves Go Global