Real Medicine Foundation provides humanitarian support to people living in disaster and poverty stricken areas, focusing on the person as a whole by providing medical/physical, emotional, economic, and social support.
RMF’s founding in 2005 was based on a disaster relief initiative providing immediate relief to the victims of the December 2004 Tsunami in Southeast Asia, and over the years has continued providing relief to the victims of disasters in Pakistan, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar/Burma, Peru, Haiti, Japan, Philippines, South Sudan and the United States.
Always striving to be fast, lean, and effective, RMF works hand in hand with local populations to ensure aid goes where it is needed most. Many of our disaster relief projects have turned into successful longer term development projects as we always aim to stay until we leave a sustainable impact and build capacity, and are not needed anymore.
The hospitals and clinics we manage and support act as the main hubs for many of our projects worldwide. We generally start programs in a new area by setting up and/or supporting a primary health clinic with medicine and supplies and hiring of local medical and other staff. We always strive to create welcoming, hygienic, well stocked, well locally staffed health centers by using existing under-utilized buildings and infrastructure.
Once we understand the main medical needs of the local population by close management of these clinics and hospitals, we bring in other health programs to supplement or expand, and look into other areas where the community needs support. Our health centers are located in rural areas, refugee settlements and in larger towns where local facilities are overwhelmed or non-existent. Many of our health centers have been running smoothly for several years and have become very successful hubs of community support.
In order to break the cycle of poverty and lack of opportunities for many of the populations we serve, the importance of an education for the younger generations is just as vital for the healing of the entire community as treating the immediate healthcare needs of these families.
Where we are able to, we assist with school fees, supplies, uniforms, teachers’ salaries, and even the infrastructure and supplies for schools that help giving the children a chance.
Refugees are some of the most vulnerable populations in the world and are usually in need of a myriad of services, not just food and healthcare. One of our refugee support programs is located at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda, and provides healthcare, education, solar powered water pumps, vocational training, and small business support to refugees from all over Central Africa.
By providing medicine and supplies to the main clinic at the settlement we are able to make sure refugees are treated free of charge, while they attempt to rebuild their lives in another country. We also support the refugee children’s school fees and fund a Vocational Training Institute inside the settlement.
Our Malnutrition Eradication projects in India, Kenya, Uganda and the United States are highly ambitious and impactful. The main goal is to reduce the prevalence of malnourished children under the age of 5 years and reduce child mortality from malnutrition by strengthening communities and village level government facilities’ capacity to identify, treat, and prevent malnutrition. We aim to prove that a holistic, decentralized, community-based approach to malnutrition eradication, empowering communities through health literacy and connecting rural communities with the government health and nutrition services available, is ultimately more successful and cost-effective than centralized approaches, especially for rural, marginalized communities.
In addition, we provide food where immediate survival is at stake, in disaster situations and for families and communities that live in extreme poverty.
Combining the power of mobile internet applications and teams of Community Health Workers results in a very powerful mHealth addition to our health programs. Using smart phones, tablets, and central databases we are able to access, track and follow-up on patient cases from virtually anywhere. This exciting technology also enables us to educate and reach people in rural areas with tools that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
Many of the communities we serve not only have a lack of resources to provide for medical equipment, medicine and supplies, but also do not have enough trained local healthcare personnel to (re)build a sustainable healthcare system. RMF’s Healthcare Capacity Building programs are contributions to the Health Systems Strengthening efforts in several of the countries we work in.
From training Community Health Workers to do outreach and education in rural villages, to educating diploma level Nurses and Midwives, our capacity building programs are covering many levels of necessary training, aiming for long term solutions in addition to filling the immediate needs. Our Health Systems Strengthening work also encompasses the support and upgrade of hospitals in underserved areas, significantly impacting health outcomes by improving access to advanced quality healthcare.
In addition to meeting a population’s immediate medical needs, long term health can be achieved through reaching out to the local populations and educating them with health and social programs tailor made for their local cultures and norms.
From a team of more than 60 local Community Nutrition Educators to treat and prevent Childhood Malnutrition in India, to our Community Health Outreach programs in Los Angeles, our education and outreach programs strive to make a long term difference through giving the tools necessary to make healthy decisions. RMF’s Malnutrition Eradication Program in India has directly improved the health of more than 29,000 malnourished children and educated/reached more than 370,000 individuals.
With misunderstanding of the causes and lack of affordable medicine HIV/AIDS continues to affect the lives of many of the poor populations we serve. From mobile testing/diagnosis and education workshops to treatment and referral networks in India, Mozambique and Kenya, we are continuing to focus on the goal to bring about an HIV/AIDS free generation.
Real Medicine’s Mobile Clinic concept is a flexible model of health care provision for our organization, conceptualized to reach remote and rural communities with no prior access to health care. Our Mobile Clinic vehicles are custom built and operate as “mini-health clinic on wheels” and provide an extremely versatile and flexible platform to provide not only primary health care services, but also health education, outreach and counseling.
The economic component of RMF’s overall humanitarian vision, the ‘focus on the person as a whole’, aims to help people escape the cycle of poverty and provide for themselves. The longer term vision of our economic programs is to have several models for vocational training and income generating opportunities for the populations we are supporting around the world so they eventually can be self-sufficient again.
In alignment with our concept of ‘real’ medicine, healing the person as a whole, RMF’s Community Support programs add a social component to the medical/physical, economic and emotional support we provide. These programs include community walks, sports and yoga programs, arts and crafts projects for children, sponsoring celebrations at refugee camps, and initiating creative and fun activities for people in post-disaster areas.
Currently, our Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda trains young adult students in Tailoring and Hairdressing/Beautician skills, and with the generous support of donors we have also been able to start off several of the top graduates with start-up funds to start their own businesses. A key component of the start-up funding is that recipients are required to give back a small portion of their profits to the school to ensure its sustainability.
We provide long-term medical support and treatment to selected individual children suffering from congenital and other health conditions, coordinating and managing the system which delivers treatment to the children, providing medical consultations and ensuring patient compliance to optimize the children’s chances for growth and maximum health benefits.
After the initial emergency survival, medical, and safety needs are met in a post-disaster situation, the psychological trauma of the populations is just as important to handle in order to begin rebuilding lives. From sourcing trained psychologists to facilitating support groups, we work on supporting and healing people affected after the initial relief efforts move on.
Our Health Research programs aim to provide empirical evidence for formulation of (maternal and child) health policies and health care system practices. Partnering with Universities’ Schools of Public Health we are researching and identifying innovative, contextually specific solutions to the many problems the poor and marginalized, especially women, experience.