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