Saturday, January 30, 2010

Asthma Relief

Direct Relief's Activities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a group of 30 small islands in the Caribbean with a total area of 345 square miles and a population of just over 100,000. Most of the country's economy is based on tourism and agriculture, both of which are inconsistent sources of national income. Frequent tropical storms and hurricanes damage this already fragile economy and nation.

Respiratory disease is prevalent in St. Vincent and has been on the rise in the last decade. Asthma-related incidents account for at least 2,500 emergency room visits per year; forty-five percent of these patients are children.

Direct Relief has provided more than $160,000 (wholesale) in medicines and medical supplies to St. Vincent and the Grenadines since 2008, focusing on basic medical supplies and respiratory health.

Direct Relief's partner in-country is the Asthma Clinic of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which operates in a wing of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in the capital city of Kingston. The Asthma Clinic was founded by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with local and international Rotary Clubs, and it currently supports about 2,300 patients with approximately 200 new referrals each year. Although the number of asthma cases in has risen fourfold in the past decade, the government is only able to provide only half of the funding for the supplies needed.

With a generous donation from Schering-Plough, Direct Relief has been able to help those with respiratory conditions by providing necessary medications like the Foradil Aerolizer (for long-term asthma patients to use twice daily), Proventil inhalers (for prevention and treatment of wheezing and increasing air flow to the lungs), Nasonex (for treating allergy symptoms), and Asmanex Twisthalers (for treating asthma in children).