Aiming to address primary care and reproductive health issues arising from Typhoon Haiyan, a second team of MGH volunteers is bound for the Philippines.

Amid continuing efforts to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan, a second disaster-response team from Massachusetts General Hospital is bound for the Philippines, working in partnership Project HOPE as part of a a larger mission.   Organized by the Mass General Center for Global Health, the six additional MGH volunteers are expected to depart for the Philippines within days.  With a special emphasis on primary care and reproductive health, the group will be based at a hospital in Tapaz, a city on the Philippines island of Panay.

After receiving word of the planned deployment, Mass General officials spent the day before Thanksgiving contacting and briefing volunteers and finalizing logistics.  “We are here to provide support to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan along with our partners at Project Hope and the International Medical Corps,” said Hilarie Cranmer, MD, MPH, the center’s director of disaster response, as she fielded calls from volunteers ready to go.

Officials from the Mass General Center for Global Health brief volunteers eager to go to the Philippines as part of a second disaster response team deployed in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Officials from the Mass General Center for Global Health brief volunteers eager to go to the Philippines as part of a second disaster response team deployed in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.(Photo by Walter J. Reeves/MGH Photography)

“We have a great team,” Dr. Cranmer said, working from a Mass General office resembling a command center, with a counter full of laptop computers and walls papered with spreadsheet printouts. Dr. Cranmer emphasized that, because of planning, the ongoing effort to provide Typhoon Haiyan relief in Philippines effort can and will be carried out without impeding Mass General’s capacity to continue providing world-class care to patients in Boston.

About 400 Mass General employees have volunteered to take part in missions to the Philippines. In 2010, Mass General first responders worked closely with Project HOPE in responding to a massive earthquake in Haiti.

Medical Facilities in Typhoon Haiyan’s Path

Those hoping to be part of the second deployment included Andrea Mosher, RN, a nurse in Mass General’s Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit.  As she picked up related paperwork at the MGH Center for Global Health , Ms. Mosher said she had been moved by images of people impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, which ripped into the Philippines on Nov. 8.  “I am drawn to them,” Ms. Mosher said. “I feel that I could help.”

The ongoing effort to provide Typhoon Haiyan relief in the Philippines can and will be carried out without impeding Mass General’s capacity to continue providing world-class care to patients in Boston.

Working with the International Medical Corps, a seven-person Mass General disaster response team has been providing care in hard-hit rural areas of the Philippines since Nov. 19.  Hundreds have sought care from them for diarrheal disease, tetanus and chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma.  Leaders of the Mass General effort in the Philippines say they expect MGH teams to be increasingly called upon to provide primary care amid the devastation of many medical facilities that were in the path of Typhoon Haiyan.

David Bangsberg, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Global Health, emphasizes that charitable gifts of support are crucial to the center’s ongoing commitment to mounting professional responses to such disasters. “Our nurses and doctors need equipment, medications, telecommunications and training to be ready to serve our global community at a moment’s notice,” Dr. Bangsberg says. “We cannot fulfill this critical mission without flexible, unrestricted funding and philanthropy plays an important role in meeting that need.”

You Can Help

You can support our Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts by donating to the MGH Disaster Response Fund.

Please visit the Mass General Center for Global Health Facebook Page for updates on the situation and Mass General’s response.

We thank you for your generosity and giving spirit to help those so desperately in need.