Representatives from Rotary District 6920, the Rotary Clubs of Hinesville and Jesup, MAP International and Diversity Health Center celebrated a huge milestone on April 30. That day the Diversity Health Center received their first delivery of free medications as part of the new Saving Lives with Medicine initiative.
Medical Assistance Program international (MAP), is a Christian non-profit that was founded in 1954 located in Brunswick. Their mission is to provide medicines and health supplies to people in need around the world.
However the folks from the Rotary Club of Hinesville realized there was a great need for this program, right here in Georgia. Working closely with leaders from District 6920 and the Rotary Club in Jesup, a task force was formed in March 2017. By August of 2018 the initiative was shipping monthly supplies of medicine to three clinic partners.
The Saving Lives with Medicine partnership marked the first time MAP International was able to distribute much needed medicines domestically since their inception 65 years ago.
By February of this year the initiative had served 1,667 patients with 2,755 treatments for the care of chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.
And on April 30 the Diversity Health Center, who was recently added as a partner clinic, got their first shipment of medications.
“For us and for the community it means access to medications that a lot of the people in the community would not have had access to,” Diversity Health Director Stephanie Jones-Heath said. “These will be free medications we will be able to dispense to people…and to address some of those diseases that are sometimes overlooked or untreated because people don’t have access to medication.”
Jones-Heath said this will allow Diversity Health to be a one-stop location where patients can be evaluated, prescribed their medication and actually given their free medications before they walk out the door. Diversity has two clinics in Hinesville and one in Ludowici. She added that their new mobile unit will help to provide this service to patients in the rural areas of Riceboro and Midway.
“This is now our fourth clinic in the Rotary 6920 District,” Jason Elliott, MAP International Project Manager said. “We will be able to consistently provide free medications for their chronically diseased patients.”
Elliott said the first shipment was filled with medicine and supplies like gloves and health packs. “It was 27 pounds of medicine and being our first shipment that was a smaller shipment than our typical ones. That was one box and we typically ship 2-3 boxes each month.”
Elliott said without partnerships such as the one they developed with Rotary, many people would still be faced with the difficult decision of whether to buy their medicine or do without due to budget and financial constraints.
Rotary District 6920 Governor Margaret Jacobs added that the partnership is also providing an added benefit by reducing overall healthcare and keeping patients from being repeatedly seen in hospital emergency rooms.
“We heard a testimony last week which has played out in other clinics…60 percent of the people that are getting these life-savings medicines don’t show up at the local emergency rooms,” Jacobs said. “It is saving healthcare costs across the board. To provide life-saving medicine is just outstanding.”