BENEFITING: Touch Foundation
ORGANIZER: Touch Foundation
EVENT DATE: Nov 03, 2013
When my best friend, Hannah, returned from her three month stint in Mwanza, Tanzania this winter with the Touch Foundation, I asked her what it had been like to live in Africa. Her response was, “You know Liz, life in Mwanza is just really hard.”
I rarely think about it what this phrase actually means: “Life is really hard.” In my daily New York City grind, I too frequently find myself thinking that my own life is hard; I am stressed and exhausted, there are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything on my infamous "to-do" list, and it seems impossible to find the coveted work-life balance. When I think my life is hard, I think it is hard in a first-world way. But what Hannah meant when she said that life in Mwanza was hard was far more basic. To provide some color, Hannah told me that the power in Tanzania goes out unpredictably for an indefinite amount of time; food, especially food that isn’t deep-fried, is scarce; and the country’s largest body of water, Lake Victoria, is filled with a life-threatening bacteria. Through Hannah and her experience in Mwanza, the problem that I became most familiar with was the one that she, through the Touch Foundation, is working to alleviate: the shortage of healthcare workers in Tanzania.
I have five doctors that I see on an annual basis. A general practitioner, an optometrist, an OBGYN, a dentist, and a neurologist comprise the list of professionals that actively look after my health. If you think hard, I bet your own number of doctors is around a handful as well. In Tanzania, there is one doctor for every 200,000 people. The fact that many people in Tanzania never see a doctor during their entire life, while I see at least five every year, provides perspective on the scale of the healthcare crisis occurring in Tanzania, and more generally in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Touch Foundation works to close the gap that exists between the quantity and quality of healthcare available to people in the developed world and what exits in Tanzania. To accomplish this, The Touch Foundation educates and trains healthcare professionals. Unlike other organizations, Touch does not import healthcare professionals to treat the medical needs of the Tanzanian people; instead, The Touch Foundation leverages local, existing healthcare personnel to provide improved medical services to the Tanzanians, particularly to those in rural areas who are most in need of the care. Their efforts are extraordinary, and the results are real. To date, Touch has helped graduate roughly 10 percent of the country’s physicians, who will save thousands of lives over the course of their careers.
I am running the 2013 ING New York City Marathon as a member of Team Touch. I am honored to be a member of their team and humbled by their efforts to bring healthcare to those desprately in need. Please help me in my efforts to raise money that will allow the Touch Foundation to improve the lives of Tanzanians. I am so appreciative and thankful for your support. Together, we can touch lives!
ABOUT THE TOUCH FOUNDATION:
With your help, Touch Foundation will continue to train healthcare workers and save many lives in sub-Saharan Africa.
Touch Foundation was founded in 2004 to improve the health of the Tanzanian population by increasing access to essential, quality healthcare for those who need it most.
Touch improves access to healthcare through two main activities:
1. Training healthcare workers to enhancing the quality and quantity of the workforce
2. Improving the healthcare delivery system to ensure care reaches those who are in desperate need of care
Since inception, Touch has helped graduate 209 physicians, which is about 10% of the country's physicians, and over 1,500 allied health care professionals including nurses, lab technicians, radiologists, etc. Over their careers, they will care for thousands of people and save many precious lives.
For more information: http://www.touchfoundation.org/