Category: Voices from the Field


A Day with RMF Serbia

Serving Refugees

June 26, 2018 - Serbia

Dr. Mina Novaković


According to the most recent data, the number of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants increased slightly in Serbia, with 4,273 counted on December 24, 2017. Of these, around 3,999 were accommodated in one of five asylum centers or thirteen reception centers, with Obrenovac Transit Centre being one of the largest and accomodating around 700 people.

RMF Serbia’s mobile clinic is stationed in this shelter, where our team operates 7 days of the week, from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The RMF mobile medical team, consisting of two doctors, one cultural…

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World Refugee Day

Ebadat's Story

June 19, 2018 - Serbia

Dr. Mina Novaković

Our Friendship

Working Together

Ebadat Faiz Koche is an 18-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, residing in the Obrenovac refugee camp 30 km southwest of Belgrade, where RMF Serbia’s mobile clinic is stationed.

We first met Ebadat about eight months ago, when one of his friends got sick. He was accompanying him to our clinic and helping us with translation, since the boy didn’t speak any other language besides Pashto. Ebadat was always kind, and the smile never left his face. As his English-speaking skills were exceptional, Ebadat’s assistance really meant a…

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I am a qualified doctor, and for the past six months I have been working for Real Medicine Foundation. I work in a team composed mostly of doctors and translators/cultural mediators, with the goal of providing holistic care to refugees arriving in Serbia from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, and other countries riven by war and economic chaos.

I have always been interested in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds, because I felt that this kind of encounter would enrich me and give me a different perspective of the world. Unfortunately, I couldn’t…

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The destruction left behind by Hurricane Maria is still very evident on the island. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

Overlooking the town of Emajagua, where Hurricane Maria first made landfall. Some of the worst destruction is in the southern coastal region.

A basketball court’s roof destroyed by the storm in the town Emajagua

There are downed…

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Makeshift shelters are crowded with families who have lost all that they own. With occupants ranging from 1 month to 103 years old, doctors attempt to make routine rounds to check on the people living there. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

RMF’s team visits a second shelter, this one in Vega Baja, with 144 people. This man lost everything in the storm.

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In addition to complete power loss, medical supply stockpiles are depleted. Medical providers are desperate for help. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

A house crushed by a downed power line in Vega Baja. Destruction like this is everywhere in Puerto Rico.

Another tree that took out a power line

Entrance to Dr. Rodriguez’s clinic. The roof was…

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Four weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, families are still living in shelters that have been set up in public schools. So many families have lost all that they own and have nowhere else to go. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

Meet Dr. Rodriguez, our contact in the town of Morovis. RMF’s Edwin knows him through family. He gladly shows us around.

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Much of the incoming aid has been concentrated in the capital of San Juan, which means rural towns and communities, like Ciales, are more vulnerable. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

A monument high on a hilltop, overlooking the valley and town of Ciales (to the right)

Valley of Ciales

A Puerto Rican Flag waves as a…

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Emergency rooms like Dr. Arthur’s are using the few supplies they have to keep their doors open to those who desperately need medical services. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

Exterior view of the second emergency room. There are large downed trees everywhere here. Fortunately, this one did not land on the building.

Meet Dr. Arthur. He works at the second emergency…

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With no electricity, the clinics and emergency rooms operate strictly on backup generator power. Medical providers like Dr. Rivera are in urgent need of help. RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

RMF’s team gathered 250 lb. of basic medications and supplies in Miami, en route to San Juan.

Meet Dr. Emilio Rivera, our first contact in Vega Alta. He runs 5…

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As our friends and neighbors in Puerto Rico struggle to find food, water, shelter, and basic medical care after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, RMF has sent a team to bring some initial medical supplies, as well as analyze the situation and form local partnerships. This is the first in a series of daily posts from our team on the ground. To learn more about RMF’s proposed program, read more on our initiative page.

Outside the Ritz Carlton, San Juan. There are no working traffic signals in any part of the island, according to…

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Since 2011, RMF has been inspiring hope in the young people of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement and the host community, by offering skills training at our Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). The program started, as suggested by the community, with training in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy and Tailoring and Garment Cutting, and has grown to offer two more courses: Carpentry and Joinery and Bricklaying and Concrete Practice. After completing the three-month training program, students take DIT examinations to be certified in their field of study. Many graduates have gone on to start successful businesses or join established…

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Noemi: Case Study

A Specific Financial Need in Peru

December 05, 2016 - Peru

Magali M. de Pujalt


Hope Through Continued Treatment

View this story, as well as the report, on it’s original page.

7-year-old Noemí is youngest of four siblings, and was born on March 11, 2009 in San Clemente. At two days old, she was taken to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia and had to stay in an incubator for several days.

In 2011, when Noemí was 2 years old, she would try to stand up, but was not able to. Her legs had no strength or stability. Her parents…

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Click here to listen to the interview on the BBC News Website

BBC World Service interviewed RMF Nepal Program Program Coordinator, Barsha Dharel on April 24, 2016. Please follow the link above to listen to the interview. The Barsha Dharel interview, conducted by David Deng, starts around 46:20 mark. Below is a transcript of the interview.

David Deng: The devastating earthquake that shook Nepal last year has come and gone, but the aftershock is far from over. Twelve months on, the destruction that overtook the nation has left thousands desperate to find…

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Day of the African Child

Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement Celebration

June 29, 2015 - Uganda

Naku Charles Lwanga and Alphonse Mwanamwolho

Celebration of the Day of the African Child

We had a great day at the ‘Day of the African Child’ celebrations: Poem presentations from different schools within Kiryandongo Resettlement Camp, band marching, drama and cultural presentations, and art competitions. Please see the paintings and drawings below.

A joint banner was made by all partners who contributed to this day:

All the children were seated in different tents that we had procured, watching educational, drama and cultural presentations, and listening to speeches and poems from various invited presenters and guests:

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World Refugee Day

Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement Celebration

June 29, 2015 - Uganda

Naku Charles Lwanga and Alphonse Mwanamwolho

Celebration of World Refugee Day

The invited guests were the Minister for Disaster, the UNHCR Country Representative, the OPM Commissioner, all IP/OP Country Directors, and the Residential District Commissioner.

Every organization working at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement was tasked to exhibit what they do; as RMF we exhibited vocational materials which included tailoring products, carpentry products, we staged a temporary salon at the compound where a function was taking place, and invited guests inclusive of the UNHCR Country Representative were extremely happy to see what the refugees can do. “Vocational Training is solely in the hands of RMF,…

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by Dr. Patrick Dupont

On the 5th anniversary of the 2010 earthquake which weakened already failing systems and institutions and amongst sensible but still insufficient efforts to rebuild its infrastructures, Haiti’s health care system is still failing as showed by the last health indicators.

Access to quality health care is very limited and very patchy as insufficient public health initiatives are further lessened by lack of resources amongst the rebuilding effort. In the current public health panorama, a few decentralised hospitals have risen with the help or through infrastructure funding from partnered organisations and…

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Pakistan: Polio Vaccine Campaign

Workers Are a Target for Extremist Violence

April 18, 2014

By Rubina Mumtaz, BDS, MPH, Country Director, Pakistan

Update: Just today the Pakistani army has agreed to provide security to those providing polio vaccinations following a series of attacks against individuals involved in the campaign. Full Story.

Polio Campaign Pakistan is one of three countries (Nigeria and Afghanistan) in the world where Polio has yet to be eradicated. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Pakistan stepped up its eradication efforts and numbers fell from 173 cases in 2011 to 58 in 2012. Unfortunately, with the advent of 2013, Pakistan became the most hazardous country in the world in terms of Polio where…

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Pakistan’s Agra Health Project Closed

The Lives We Touched

April 17, 2014

By Rubina Mumtaz BDS, MPH, Country Director, Pakistan

In August 2013, three years after the fateful floods of 2010, District Charsadda was the last to be struck off the list of flood affected areas of KPK and the government announced that the road to recovery was at last present. The Pakistan People’s Health Initiative (PPHI), a semi-government body had signed an MOU with the KPK Health Department to adopt all the BHUs in the main districts of Charsadda, Nowshera and Swabi, effectively revitalizing the BHU in Union Council Agra. Given RMF’s mission to avoid duplicating services, the primary health care services in the Agra Health Project were…

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The Steady Fight Against Malnutrition – RMF Community Nutrition Educators Work to Improve Health Outcomes by Michael Matheke-Fischer, Country Director, India

Convincing people to adopt healthier behaviors can be a difficult job. In Southwestern Madhya Pradesh, where RMF’s Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs) work in 600 villages across 5 districts everyday, targeted health education is crucial to combating malnutrition. For four years, each CNE has patiently worked in communities, identifying children and families in need of counseling, referring serious cases to treatment, and building crucial bonds with the community. Since 2010, our program has…

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Martina returned from the Philippines with wonderful stories about the resilience of the people and an urgency to get the hospital and livelihood projects moving. Here are a few photos from the second half of her journey.

Damaged power lines

Children in Medellin. When it starts getting dark there is no light in the streets or in the houses. The fire in the background is where people are burning debris, broken trees, etc. from Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in an effort to clean up.

Little girl in Medellin.

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Map showing Martina’s itinerary: Cebu City, north to Bogo City to Don Pedro Barangay to Nailon Barangay to San Remigio to Medellin, cross over to Bantayan island to visit Bantayan and Santa Fe, back to Cebu Island to visit Daanbantayan.

Town hall meeting with the Mayor of Bogo City and Dr. Minerva Millor.

Dr. Martina Fuchs is asked to speak at the Town Hall meeting.

Severo Verallo Memorial District Hospital in Bogo City.

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Photos from Nailon Barangay Health Station, Don Pedro Barangay Health Station and Daycare Center.

A small patient.

Dr. Minerva Millor in front of Barangay Health Station.

Nailon Barangay Health Station.

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En route to San Remigio and Medellin and a few small friends and patients along the way.

On the road to San Remigio and Medellin.

Destroyed banana trees. The locals kept saying "they go first, then the coconut trees."

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by Michael Matheke

In August 2012, RMF CNE Santosh Pall found Pooja, a 9 month old girl, in Devigarh village, with a MUAC of 7.9. Picture the circumference of your thumb: that was the size of her upper arm.

Pooja was immediately rushed to the closest Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) in the Thandla Hospital. There, she received the care that was required, and slowly began gaining weight. After 16 days in the NRC, she was released for home feeding.

One advantage that Pooja has is that her family…

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by Michael Mattheke

Over the course of the past three years, RMF’s Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs) have helped thousands of children recover from malnutrition. Some times these cases are easy to handle: the CNE diagnoses a child, refers them to treatment, and the family agrees to do everything they can to help their child. Often, however, there are too many challenges for these families to overcome to give their child the treatment they require.

Right now in Madhya Pradesh, the only treatment option for children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is a 14 to…

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RMF India Program Manager – Health and Nutrition Pratik Phadkule writes about his experience with CommCare and the challenges of treating Malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh.

Living in an age of extreme technological advancement certainly is a boon for mankind. This technological advancement has helped us in all the fields – communication, space travel, medicine, and engineering. Most importantly, with the help of this, our lives have become so much easier. I think, on this point, no one would disagree.

There is no question that technology is helping our lives in many ways,…

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Voices From The Field:

First Impressions of RMF India

September 02, 2011 - India

by Marshall Singh

Virgil wrote that fortune favors the bold, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he had in mind.

I’ve been in India for a grand total of 36 hours, most of it in transit, and it’s this last leg that is the most terrifying. Flashes of colour and sound as we hurdle down a road with what might generously be called lane markers, drivers in opposite directions flashing their headlights and honking frantically.  There are seat belts in the car, but somewhat incongruously, the ones that actually have clips don’t seem to have anything in…

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by Roma Patel

Real Medicine Foundation Guest Entry I heard about the Real Medicine Foundation and that they would be needing help in Ahmedabad, Gujarat through a friend of a friend. Always looking for any unique volunteer opportunity, I jumped to the occasion. They needed me to assist patients and their families that came to the Civil Hospital, a local government hospital, for advanced medical care. Even though I had vast experience at hospitals in the United States, I had never before been to a hospital at India. I was only vaguely familiar with how healthcare worked…

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This past weekend, Real Medicine Foundation & the Florence Western Medical Center hosted their first “Back to School” Event, providing more than 60 children and families with brand new backpacks filled with school supplies.

Recognizing the needs of this community has not been the challenge; the challenge has been how to encourage the community to show up for the services available to them. Free health and fitness programs for adults and children are offered at the center by Real Medicine, yet often we find a low attendance due to lack of access to information, transportation…

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In March 2010, Caitlin and I were driving around Khandwa district on a motorcycle desperately searching for staff to begin operations of our ambitious “Eradicate Malnutrition” program. In our heads, we had a checklist of criteria for potential new staff, mostly focusing on education levels and any experience in the health, nutrition, or NGO sector. As we drove from hamlet to hamlet, over dried streambeds and through fallow, dusty farmland, the checklist was whittled down to one item: literate.

In July of 2011, 5 of our amazing CNEs from Khandwa are now on the cutting…

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Monitoring and evaluation is often the most difficult part of any development program.  It’s often an afterthought for implementers, too busy worrying about rolling out the immediate and the tangible to worry about how they’ll evaluate their work at some later stage.

It’s important that data is not something that’s just written down in a grid each month and never seen again.  The strongest programs are the ones in which ground level staff find their reporting useful in their daily work.  By making data helpful to ground level staff it makes their reporting in turn more accurate.

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Voices from the field: Señora Maria

August 03, 2011 - Peru

by Jana Siu

I got to know Señora Maria over her prescribed 5 day course of antibiotics. Everyday she’d shuffle in around 2pm, hand over her prescription and give one large sigh before I gave her an injection into her hip. Afterwards, we’d have a little chat about the importance of getting the whole course of antibiotics. I always fear that patients won’t come back because of the pain. On the contrary, I’ve found the patients here to be very diligent on coming in day after day, whether for an injection or excruciating wound care. When I asked her about this,…

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by Jana Siu

Vicki the pharmacist described to me the neighborhood of Cleto Rojas in San Clemente as rustic. I found “rustic” to be an understatement. This area increased dramatically in size after the earthquake. Houses are constructed of wooden poles and mats of weaved reed stalks as roofs and walls. Plastic sheeting, some that have the emblem of medical relief organizations long gone, insulate these homes. It’s a very dusty, windy, dry part of town. We chose Cleto Rojas as the location to do our preventative health campaign.

Tumbling out of our cramped motos with…

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Voices from the Field: Giving the Green Light

June 16, 2011 - India

by Ximena Prugue

The first week of March, I had the pleasure of visiting Caitlin McQuilling, Nyamat Bindra, and Naiara Tejados in Madhya Pradesh, India as part of a project I started to distribute solar-powered flashlights to the rural villages called Giving the Green Light. I traveled with my best friend and business partner, Stephany Torres. We met up with Caitlin in Khandwa who greeted us with a bright smile and fresh attitude along with Manisha and Anjana, RMF field workers. We were off to Ranai, a village in Khandwa that is home to Korku tribe of India, to…

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India Malnutrition Program: Community Mapping Pilot

May 09, 2011 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling

Community Mapping

The month of April was RMF’s Community Mapping Month in Barwani district as part of our Community Mobilization Pilot with the Department of Women and Child Development.  The team started this community mobilization activity by having a two day training on the method for Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs).  This was to ensure that all CNEs used similar, participatory methods in doing the mappings.

 The first day was at the office in conjunction with the weekly team meeting where mapping techniques, use of symbols, and methods to involve community stakeholders were discussed.  The…

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photo: Naiara with Anandini

I still remember vividly those days, long ago in terms of time, but mentally like it was yesterday. After two days in shock, unable to sleep or eat after finding Gila (5 year old girl with tuberculosis meningitis and hydrocephalus) in her home on January 27th, I received a call from Caitlin informing me that the poor little girl had died despite all the efforts of the doctors in Ahmedabad. Honestly I must admit that I felt a slight relief, as I believe if she had survived her quality…

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by Jaimie Shaff

photo: Shakuntala before surgery

We’ve all played the classic game “heads, shoulders, knees, and toes (knees and toes!)” Actually, I’ve been so wrapped up in adulthood, I had forgotten about it. One night when we visited the Bhil Academy, I saw Naiara playing the game with the smallest kids and remembered singing the song with my cousins and preschool students, back in the day. Part of the song goes “eyes and ears and nose and mouth…” and the children point to the respective parts of the face. Two eyes. Two ears.…

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For the friends and family who know me best, it goes without saying that my date of birth is a sore spot for me. Last year, I actually skipped town and went on an AcroYoga retreat out of state!

This year, I’m unbelievably grateful to report I had the best birthday ever, and it’s all because of you (and causes, of course). I began with a goal of raising $1,000 for some of the sweetest kids, and ended up with an astonishing $7,025. The money raised gave us the opportunity to follow up with kids from my “love”…

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Voices from the Field: Returning to Khandwa

March 04, 2011 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling

photo: RMF Community Nutrition Educator, Samoti, and a child recovering from SAM. Photo Credit: Ximena Prugue

In March 2009, when I was conducting the initial field visits to develop RMF’s Malnutrition Eradication Program I visited a village called Shali Dana, in Kalwa block of Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh.  I remember being shocked and overwhelmed by the amount of children with severe acute malnutrition I saw in this village and the complete apathy and absence of government services in this village.  We saw dozens of glassy eyed children with thinning hair, bulging stomachs,…

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Jhabua, India, 16th of February 2011



It has really been a pleasure for me to see how, little by little, renewable green energies have become a part of our lovely school, the Bhil Academy ( or search Bhil Kids on Facebook). Because of the hard work and dedication of donors, volunteers, and partners, the Bhil Academy is becoming more and more ¨green¨ every day!

photo: eV Renewables´s staff members working at the Bhil Academy

Solar Electricity from eV Renewables and Loop Solutions

In Jhabua,…

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Voices from the Field: An Angel, from

February 15, 2011 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling

I’m often asked what keeps me going in the face of the hardships and emotionally taxing situations we face working on issues such as childhood malnutrition and HIV/AIDS day in and day out.  My answer is simple: it’s all about finding inspiration in the most unexpected of places and circumstances.

photo: Caitlin, and the mothers and children at the Malnutrition clinic

On Tuesday while out on a village visit we came across a little girl, Gila, who was extremely sick and dangerously malnourished.  She and her family had just returned from a month long…

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Continuing with our series from Jaimie Shaff in the field in India, here is Part 2!

Naiara joined me on the second day and we began the day with a quick trip to the toy store. Luckily, the toy storeowners had just gone to Indore and had some more toys for us! We picked up a couple of our CNEs and headed back out to the villages, this time starting with some of the kids living in villages outside of our program’s reach.


Day Two:

photo: Manoj

Manoj lives in a village…

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We have lost seven children since I arrived. For these seven children, our best was not enough. They were too sick, adequate medical care too scarce, and their bodies too weak. We have treated hundreds of children at the NRC since I came here late July, but some of these cases were so terrible and challenging that our “best” was all that we could promise.  Most of them made it, their resiliency evident by the smiles we finally saw, but a few we just couldn’t save.

In honor of these children, I decided…

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Voices From the Field: A Volunteer’s Story

January 31, 2011 - India

by Naiara Tejados

Jhabua, January 24, 2011

I cannot stop thinking of how happy I feel knowing I made the right decision. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to have an experience like this. I can still remember how during the first year of my PhD studies I tried to contact several NGOs to try and volunteer in a developing country during my summer holidays. Most of the NGO´s would not accept my help for only a single month. I decided at that point to postpone this experience until my PhD was over.


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Jhabua, 24 de enero de 2011

Pienso en cada momento cuán feliz me hace saber que he tomado la decisión correcta. Desde que tengo uso de razón he querido vivir una experiencia así: recuerdo, cómo el primer año después de haber comenzado mi Tesis Doctoral intenté contactar con algunas ONG-s para durante mis vacaciones estivales ofrecer lo mejor de mí en algún país en vías de desarrollo. Tal y como me dijeron entonces, pocas ONG-s aceptarían mi ayuda de ser sólo para un mes. Fue entonces cuando decidí definitivamente posponer la experiencia hasta completar mi Tesis. Me…

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Voices from the Field: Goals for the New Year in India

January 19, 2011 - India

by Jamie Shaff

photo: Pankaj walking

Happy New Year!

I finally arrived back to Jhabua after several planes, trains, automobiles, rickshaws, and countries. Go ahead and throw a bicycle in there for good measure. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for skis, but it was definitely worth sacrificing the slopes for some family time. The United States showed me a wonderful Christmas and New Year, with as much family, friends, and food as I could cram in my short reprieve from India. And don’t forget the hot showers!

As I sit on my porch and watch the sunset…

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Last 3 days to give!

December 29, 2010

If you were considering donating to a worthy cause in 2010 and taking advantage of the tax benefits of charitable donations, now is your last chance to contribute!

As we look towards new efforts and projects in 2011 it is only through your generous funding that we will be able to continue our long term development projects in some of the poorest areas on this planet.

As you know, we have set the goal of raising $100,000 by December 31st, and would greatly appreciate if you consider Real Medicine for your year-end donation.

In the spirit of Real Medicine…

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Malnourished Miracles: Vishal’s Story

December 03, 2010 - India

by Jamie Shaff

Continuing with our Malnutrition Eradication Program series and fundraiser another great blog from Jaimie Shaff in the field in India…

Every morning, when I wake up to the honking horns, howling dogs, and bustles of morning life I wonder how the day is going to be. As I lay out my yoga mat and dedicate my practice to what will be, I try to take a deep breath for all that I can not anticipate. See, life in the field is a constant state of uncertainty, a question of what will happen next, and a sequence of…

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Jana and baby patient

Scrubs, check. Stethoscope, check. Anti-malaria medication, check. Headlamp, check. I packed my bag for India with the same ingredients as I had for my last international nursing trip. I didn’t have a crystal clear idea of what my volunteer role would be, but I was pretty sure I would be doing some direct-patient bedside care. 37 hours of traveling later, I found myself working as part public health nurse, part nurse consultant, and part tribal field nurse.  As for what I had packed, malaria season was over, locals stared oddly at…

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India: On the Road

Migration and HIV/AIDS

November 15, 2010 - India

by Jamie Shaff

Street Play

Far from Jack Kerouac’s spontaneous journeys of self-discovery across the United States, here in Jhabua migration is a fact of life, with an averageof 60% of the population migrating seasonally for work. Our calendars revolve around crop cycles, and all holidays and planned family events coincide with the comings and goings of relatives and members of the village.  The locals know the bus and train schedules by heart, and special migrant buses are scheduled to carry the farmers away for work in other parts of the state, or other states in the country.…

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Sonu-NRC Patient of the Month

It's all in the follow-up

November 03, 2010 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling

Its all in the follow-up.

photo: Sonu, when he first arrived at the NRC

Sonu, one of our NRC’s most dramatic success stories, was back at the NRC for his second follow up looking positively chubby.  All children who are treated at RMF’s NRC come back every 15 days for 2 months for follow-up clinics to ensure that the children are still healthy and gaining weight.  They are seen by our pediatrician, given a nutritious meal, and given a transportation allowance to allow them to get to the NRC and back home.  These are always…

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By Caitlin McQuilling

Over a year ago Ganesh Kamath was shocked to read about the staggering malnutrition rates in India.  A native of Kerala who has lived in California for over 50 years, Ganesh knows India well, but was shocked to find out that almost half of all Indian children are malnourished.  He started to research the problem some more and was moved by the grim tales of malnutrition coming out of the media in India.  He and friends, who all felt that malnutrition should not exist in India, formed a group to look into…

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India: Seven and HIV+

September 23, 2010 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling and Jaimie Shaff

Manoj and his friend Sunil (names changed) strolled into the ART office today and quietly sat down, neither of their feet touching the ground as their skinny legs and knobby knees dangled over the chairs. At 7 years old Manoj is one of our youngest HIV+ patients, but also one of the most responsible.  Manoj and Sunil walked 15 km to get to our office today so that Sunil could pick up his ART medication from us for the month.  In his high little voice he told me how important it is to take his ART medication every day…

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The Most Beautiful Smile, Part II

September 20, 2010 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling

Back in April I blogged about an HIV+ pregnant woman who came to talk about terminating a pregnancy.  She had already lost 4 children, still births, before she was diagnosed HIV, and then saw no hope in this 5th pregnancy.  When she came in however, she was already past 3 months pregnant, too late for an abortion.  We counseled the family that its possible for an HIV mother to have an HIV- child, 99% positive actually, if the family follows the proper Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission protocol (PMTCT).  I’ve never seen someone more relieved and hopeful…

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Voices from the Field: India

Stories of Traditional Female Sex Workers

September 16, 2010 - India

by Jis Jose and Jamie Shaff

In April 2010, RMF and JJHSS joined with UNFPA to develop interventions targeting Female Sex Workers (FSWs), one of the High Risk Groups for HIV/AIDS. Currently, we have programs in two districts of Madhya Pradesh, Jhabua and Nimach. Jis Jose is the Documentation Officer for the program, and recently visited the Nimach branch of the program. He returned with some fascinating stories, and agreed to share a couple of them in this blog.

photo: Meenu

Before I tell you about this girl you must know about the Bhanֽchara caste that exists in the District…

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photo: Maria and Pankaj

With malaria season at its peak and migrant families returning home, complicated cases of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) are presenting themselves at the NRC daily. In my short time here, I have seen a steady caseload of children presenting signs of tuberculosis, worms, malaria, diarrhea, and vomiting. For every child that comes into our NRC, we attempt to provide the best possible treatment, addressing underlying health conditions and symptomatic responses. Most complicated cases will flourish with antibiotics, de-worming tablets, and nutritional support while more serious cases might require a blood…

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Program Manager: Health and Nutrition

This past Tuesday marked my 14th day in India, aka my deadline for registration with the government of India. Since landing in this beautiful country, I have hit the ground running. The programs developed and implemented by RMF-India are absolutely incredible. Despite the fact that I was here evaluating the malnutrition program in January, I was certainly unprepared for how much the programs have expanded. The community has become more familiar with the faces of Caitlin, Michael, Fabian, and the rest of the field-staff, and the programs are developing with…

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Pakistan’s hospitality

July 12, 2010 - Pakistan

This is a post for my mother.  Everyone who hears that Real Medicine Foundation is working in Pakistan wonders about the security.  All we hear about Pakistan in the media is about the violence and War on Terror.  I have to admit, despite being a seasoned traveler, as a blonde American I was a little worried about my trip to Pakistan to visit RMF’s clinic in Balakot, KPK (formerly NWFP), especially when blast went off at a famous Sufi shrine in Lahore a day before my arrival.  After two weeks in Pakistan however, I have to say that…

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Today I had the privilege of visiting RMF’s Clinic in Talhatta, Balakot, KPK (formerly NWFP).  I have to admit I didn’t quite believe the RMF team when they said that we’re the only health care provider in Balakot, the valley worst hit by the 2005 earthquake and with a population of over 120,000 people.  While I had no doubt that RMF must be doing amazing work in Balakot, I assumed there had to be other NGOs providing health care.  Hadn’t the whole world run up to the mountains of NWFP after the earthquake?  Doesn’t USAID give billions to…

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When Jonathan White, RMF Director of International Relations, was planning his 2010 trip across Uganda, Sudan, and Nigeria to visit our programs, we asked him to help us meet the people that make up Real Medicine on the ground–our coordinators, our doctors, our patients.

In response, he created “The RMF Proust Questionnaire (like the ones in the back of a Vanity Fair magazine)” and returned with the first interview: Meet Charles Naku,  RMF Project Coordinator, Uganda.

Here, in the second interview, we meet Bilha Achieng, RMF Project Coordinator, South Sudan.

What is…

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On the Road in Nigeria: a Journey in Photos

May 25, 2010 - Nigeria

Jonathan White

Visiting RMF programs, Jonathan White, RMF Director of International Relations, has traveled from Uganda to Southern Sudan, completing his marathon 3-week journey across Africa in Nigeria where he met staff and patients at the Gure Model Healthcare Clinic.

Nigeria has the 4th lowest survival rate of children under five out of 191 countries, a child mortality rate of 140 of 1000, and a maternal mortality rate accounting for 10% of the global burden of maternal deaths.

Real Medicine Foundation has partnered with the Kwara State Ministry of Health, The Nigerian Youth Service Corps and Gure Gwassoro Ward…

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Proud New Nursing & Midwifery Students and Principal

May 2010

After leaving Uganda, Jonathan heads to Southern Sudan to visit our Nursing & Midwifery College and to meet the new students who have recently begun classes on May 10th, 2010.

Southern Sudan hold ones of the the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world. When Real Medicine landed in the new country to address this issue we realized that, more than anything, they needed trained staff to fill the facilities already in place throughout the country.

This is the first school…

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After the clinic, and our support of the Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools make up the next biggest component of our program in the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. The students we support are mostly Kenyan refugees, but there is also a small group of Sudanese students and one Congolese that receive full support for school fees and supplies as well.

Unfortunately, due to travel logistics, the week spent in Uganda was the same week as the inter-semester student holiday, leaving the school halls and classrooms virtually deserted. Fortunately however, I was able to visit one small…

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After the rousing and heart warming welcome I received on my first day’s visit to Kiryandongo, I spent the next two days immersed in our projects and meeting everyone I’d heard from in the community meetings one on one.  Partly to make personal connections with those who manage our projects, but also to gauge the effectiveness of our funding and prioritize the rest of our year.

The majority of our year’s funding was already committed to the operating costs of our primary clinic (staffing, medicine, and other supplies) and the school fees for the students we support, with…

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As RMF’s Jonathan White travels through Africa, you can follow him in photos. Click here to see Jonathan’s complete collection of photos with short descriptions.

If you’d like to donate to this cause:

$50 covers 7 additional Nursery School students

$100 covers one Primary or Secondary student for one year

$200 can cover emergency malnutrition treatment for one child

$500 purchases two weeks of medicine for our clinic

Donate here.

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by Jonathan White, RMF Director of International Relations

Reporting from Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Uganda (May 2010)


What a day

Not sure if I have the right words to describe this humbling experience and very full day, but I’ll try… This was all on the first of three days of my visiting the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda, where RMF manages a broad initiative with the help of generous funding from the World Children’s Fund (WCF).  Kiryandongo, like a lot of refugee camps/settlements, is run by the UN refugee…

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by Jonathan White, RMF Director of International Relations — Reporting from the Field (May 3rd 2010)

photo: Road to Tororo

28 hours of travel, layovers and in-flight entertainment and I finally land in Entebbe, Kampala airport bright and early at 7:30 am local time.

This is a trip of firsts for me, first trip to Uganda, first to Africa for that matter, and the first time representing RMF in the field, so I’m a little excited and nervous upon arrival to say the least. Coming in on our approach to Entebbe airport…

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