Continuing to support health needs in Haiti

maquette haiti hospital

Today marked a very special celebration for the Canadian Red Cross and Haitian Red Cross. Almost four years after the January 2010 earthquake, as a part of the Canadian Red Cross’ Haitian Integrated Health Program, the cornerstone at the Saint-Michel hospital in Jacmel was laid.

Working with the Ministry of Public Health and Population, and with financial support of the American Red Cross, the hospital reconstruction project aims to  build back a better healthcare system to improve the health of vulnerable groups, which include mothers, children, and those affected by the earthquake.

This is the beginning of phase one of three reconstruction phases of the Saint-Michel hospital. The photo above is a scale model of the hospital.

Learn more about the Canadian Red Cross’ Haitian Integrated Health Program.

The Red Cross Round-up

The Round-up offers a weekly sample of what our sister Red Cross Societies are working on around the world.

nelson mandela

South Africa: It is with sadness that we bid farewell to a man who dedicated his life to advancing the cause of equality for all of humanity. In 2006, the South African Red Cross Society honoured Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela as their first humanitarian award recipient for his outstanding achievement on humanitarian issues. Nelson Mandela, a former political prisoner and later the first black President of South Africa, inspired millions in his quest for a more equal world, where people and institutions co-exist through global cooperation and a multilateral approach to dealing with problems, conflicts and challenges. Visit the IFRC to read a special tribute dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

Indonesia: More than 70 per cent of Timor-Leste’s population lives in rural communities, often in extremely isolated conditions with little access to formal health care. People need to walk a day or more to get to a health clinic, meaning that those too ill to make the trip must stay and take their chances.

The Red Cross Red Crescent community-based health and first aid (CBHFA) approach is a simple and effective concept where members of a community are trained on basic health care and first aid so they, in turn, can support their neighbours. It has been especially effective in the rural community of Timor-Leste. Through community-based health and first aid, communities become empowered with information and knowledge on health issues. The CBHFA approach is effective not only because it improves the health and well-being of people in the community; it also works because it builds a strong sense of community.

CBHFA activities, which include water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction and a livelihood component, have been implemented in 12 of Timor-Leste’s 13 districts, through 35 CBHFA trained facilitators. An estimated 50,000 people have been reached so far through this programme.



IFRC= International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The Red Cross Round-up

The Round-up offers a weekly sample of what our sister Red Cross Societies are working on around the world.

potd nov 29

Syria: The conflict in Syria has allowed polio to return. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that polio has returned to Syria for the first time since 1995, infecting at least 10 young children. In an already difficult situation where access to medical supplies and medical services is becoming increasingly difficult for people throughout the country, the fear is that without immediate action, the outbreak of polio could turn into an epidemic.Emergency procedures to immunize high-risk areas as quickly as possible and to protect the Syrian children have been taken by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) in cooperation with WHO, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Health. SARC has a number of medical teams who can move among the local communities and vaccinate children.

Belarus: The first walk-in centre for people living with mental disorders in Belarus has been opened by the Red Cross. This centre was opened  to improve the situation of people with mental health disorders as well as increase the understanding of their situation among family members and in society in general. The planning of the centre and the mental health programme was done in cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies health coordinator for Europe as well as the Icelandic Red Cross. Some 50,000 people are believed to live with mental health problems in Belarus, but only five per cent receive treatment in mental institutions. This walk-in centre will allow those living with mental health disorders to have a place to feel comfortable and to not feel excluded. At the same time, its purpose is to change minds, prejudice and stereotypes in the community and society.

The Red Cross Round-up

The Round-up offers a weekly sample of what our sister Red Cross Societies are working on around the world.

round up nov 14

Syria: Last week, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent confirmed nine more deaths among their aid workers, bringing the number of Red Crescent workers in Syria who have died while delivering humanitarian services to 31. The Canadian Red Cross stands in solidarity with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and joins members of the Movement in calling for all parties to the conflict in Syria to protect volunteers and aid workers, allowing them to work in safety.

Australia: Delegates from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have gathered in Sydney, Australia, to take part in the biennial statutory meetings, hosted this year by the Australian Red Cross. Throughout the meeting, 1,000 Movement delegates from nearly every country in the world, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will discuss today’s humanitarian challenges and decide on the priorities and future direction of the Red Cross Red Crescent, the world’s largest humanitarian network.

At these meetings on Tuesday, November 12, more than 1000 delegates rose to their feet to pay tribute to Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar, president of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) when he accepted the Red Cross Red Crescent Peace Prize on behalf of the National Society. 

He dedicated the award to the 31 volunteers who had lost their lives bringing relief and support to civilians and people injured in the Syrian conflict. Since the beginning of the conflict, SARC has delivered vital help across Syria. More than 3,000 SARC volunteers work every day in dramatic conditions, putting their lives at risk and facing daily challenges to carry out relief operations.

Recognizing Delegates with the Pindoff Award

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This past spring, a new award was officially launched by the Canadian Red Cross, in honour of Kroum Pindoff, a compassionate humanitarian and long-time supporter of the work of the Canadian Red Cross around the world.

Over the years, Kroum Pindoff and his wife Eva have donated over 17 million dollars supporting projects that addressed the needs of women, children and seniors and first began their philanthropy by supporting those who were affected by war in the former Yugoslavia. Since then, the Pindoffs have generously contributed several million dollars to assist victims of landmines, those suffering due to droughts in Africa, and other projects throughout the Americas and Asia.

Other examples include their $5 million dollar donation to support Canadian Red Cross relief and recovery efforts after the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in South Asia. This was the largest ever personal contribution to a Canadian Red Cross disaster appeal.

The Kroum Pindoff Award will be given on an annual basis to a Canadian Red Cross international delegate who has, in the course of her/his Red Cross work overseas, contributed to translating the generosity of Canadians into effective and tangible humanitarian action in support of the needs of vulnerable people and communities.

This year, the first ever recipient of the 2013 Kroum Pindoff Award was Elaine Hernandez. Elaine is recognized for her recent work with the Red Cross where she coordinated Canadian Red Cross support to the Honduran Red Cross and Ministry of Health to deliver Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) programming to 229 vulnerable and isolated communities in rural Honduras.

Through her humanitarian work, Elaine has demonstrated both the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and the caring and compassion of Kroum and Eva Pindoff.   

The Canadian Red Cross is extremely grateful for the efforts and leadership demonstrated by both the Pindoffs and Elaine. Their impact on the Red Cross inspires and motivates others to improve the quality of life of those who need support around the world.


Photo of the Day: Burning Love

potd oct 23

While many families and individuals have been affected by the New South Wales Bushfires, the Australian Red Cross is lending lots of love and support to those in need. Hundreds of staff and volunteers are in evacuation centres across New South Wales (NSW) in Springwood, Lithgow and North Richmond.

The volunteers are working around the clock helping out and providing a comforting shoulder for the thousands who face an uncertain future. The Red Cross is also assisting people to find out about the safety of family and friends.

While the flames continue to burn, the Red Cross continues to respond.

These fires are a reminder to all of us to have a plan. To learn more about the communities affected by the devastating fires, read these stories of families and volunteers.

Photo of the Day: The journey of a Syrian food parcel

potd oct 10

Photo: Ibrahim Malla/IFRC

At the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s al-Maisat centre, many families await the distribution of food parcels. Each food parcel contains 15 kg of rice, five litres of sunflower oil, three cans of tuna, five kg of sugar, one kg of lentils and 15 cans of beans.

While Syrians in need line up and wait for hours for their packages, an even longer journey has been made by these food parcels until they are handed to these families.

The food parcels are packed by hand in Dubai and then shipped from Dubai via Egypt to the port of Latakia in western Syria. After being released from customs in Latakia, they are then delivered by trucks 90 km away to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent central warehouse in Tartous. From there, based on the relief distribution plans, the parcels are transported to different Red Crescent distribution sites.

At the end of the food parcel journey, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent meets the needs of Syrian families. Pictured above, Laila Abd-al Kareem, a Red Crescent volunteer in Damascus, talks to Rania about her situation and her family’s urgent needs, which will increase with winter approaching. She has four children, her youngest is in her arms.


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