After Earthquake, BWHers Coordinate Relief Efforts in Nepal

BWH’s Duncan Maru, MD, PhD, of the Division of Global Health Equity

When an earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, April 25, two Brigham and Women’s Hospital faculty members were in Achham District, in the far west of Nepal, about  200 miles from the epicenter. Duncan Maru, MD, PhD, and Dan Schwarz, MD, MPH, both of the BWH Division of Global Health Equity, were in Nepal working for Possible, a partner program of the Division of Global Health Equity based in Achham District. The staff at Possible felt the earthquake’s powerful tremors and aftershocks, but fortunately all are safe. As lines of communication were re-established later in the weekend, Possible’s staff members communicated with family and friends in other parts of Nepal, all of whom were thankfully safe. While Achham District gracefully sustained itself through the earthquake with no reported loss of life, buildings, or farmland, the same cannot be said for the rest of the country.

Dan Schwarz
BWH’s Dan Schwarz, MD, MPH, of the Division of Global Health Equity

The death toll now stands at over 5,000 and more than 10,000 have been injured in this country of 30 million. These numbers will climb in the coming days as rescue teams reach the more rural districts closer to the earthquake’s epicenter. These areas were already marginalized prior to the earthquake, and the media has paid little attention to them so far. Preliminary reports on social media and from various local organizations indicate that up to 80-90% of homes and buildings have been destroyed in some communities in Gorkha, Lamjung, and Sindhupalchowk Districts, among others. The scope of the devastation is astounding. Continue reading “After Earthquake, BWHers Coordinate Relief Efforts in Nepal”

Eight Years of Changing Lives: Operation Walk Boston

Abel Rodriguez gets back on his feet after hip replacement surgery.

For five years following a traumatic injury, 20-year-old Abel Rodriguez, of the Dominican Republic, experienced excruciating pain in both of his hips, forcing him to walk hunched over with crutches. Xiomara Concepcion, a 34-year-old woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and bilateral knee pain since adolescence, required a wheelchair to get around.

Rodriguez and Concepcion are among 39 patients whose lives were transformed last month when they received joint replacements, thanks to Operation Walk Boston.

For one week in March, a team of more than 50 volunteers, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists and operating room staff traveled to the Hospital General de La Plaza de la Salud in Santa Domingo for Operation Walk Boston’s eighth mission. The BWH-led team performed 56 knee and hip replacements. Additionally, 58 volunteer medical students from the Dominican Republic cared for patients as part of the team’s goal of educating the next generation of health care professionals in the country.

Read the story in BWH Bulletin and visit Operation Walk Boston for more information.

Slowing the Spread of Cholera

The Crisis in Haiti
Louise Ivers leading earthquake relief efforts in Haiti in 2010; at right, caring for a young patient at a clinic in Haiti.

Louise C. Ivers, MD, MPH, and colleagues published a paper that shows exactly how much the vaccine Shanchol slowed the spread of cholera in villages north of St. Marc, Haiti, in 2012.

Writing in The Lancet Global Health online, Ivers, the senior health and policy adviser at Partners In Health, finds that Shanchol was widely effective when administered to thousands of adults and children in the region. “We found that there were about 65 percent fewer cholera cases among people that were vaccinated than there were in those

that were unvaccinated,” says Ivers, who is a member of BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity in the Department of Medicine.

It’s fantastic news, and not just for the obvious reason that fewer cholera cases means fewer cholera fatalities. Read the original story on the Partners In Health website.