|HIV Medicine Crisis in Panama|
We just returned to Panama from being in the United States after the sudden death of my Dad, when we found out that the entire country of Panama had been out of 1 of the crucial drugs, AZT, that is used to combat HIV/AIDS. This medicine is used particularly in children's cases as part of the triple therapy that works to keep the viral load down. One of the orphanages we work with on a regular basis, Malambo, cares for many children whom are HIV positive. We know personally many of these children and teenagers, so this was shocking and very upsetting. 1 day without the medication can be life threatening to all these kids. So, Matt immediately jumped on the problem and started scouting any and every resource that was presented. Here is Matt's latest update on the situation:
First of all THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your prayers, suggestions, leads and hard work on this. I have contacted several of the recommended sources and have finally made some headway. I am now working with AmeriCares as well as UNAIDS. UNAIDS called me yesterday afternoon to thank us for our diligent work on finding a solution to this crisis. Last week I had recommended that Dr Dora Estripeau (Panama's head pediatric HIV doctor) call other HIV clinics in Colombia to see if she could buy, on behalf of Hospital del Niņo - Panama, the medicine direct without having to go through Panama's Ministry of Health, which would add about a month delay. Today with the help of UNAIDS, they found a clinic in Cali, Colombia that appears to be willing to help in a big way! I will be meeting with the UN in Panama today at 1:30 pm (that's 2:30 Eastern Standard Time) to discuss the plan of action and to give them more information we have found about just how severe the problem is. Its' still not over and I will still be working hard on getting the medicine from other sources.
Also, miraculously one night after I sent out my original email, a Christian photo journalist team with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) arrived in Panama looking for God to give them a project to do regarding orphans. Immediately my dear friend and YWAM director, David Tracy, put them on the assignment of creating a well done, 3 minute video exposing this medical crisis and asking for help. I spent time with them taking them to orphanages and Hospital del Nino to get video footage of interviews with various people closely connected with the problem. They just finished the video and it will be given to all major Latin American TV networks as well as many organizations around the world to try and get this medicine here to Panama. Here's the site for the video, which is on YouTube as well:
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