by Matt MacGregor
Perhaps the best part of my job is the few times a year that I get to see Timmyâ€™s work up close. Visiting our programs in the developing world, and hearing first hand the stories of lives transformed, programmatic achievements, and the enthusiasm with which our partner organizations tackle countless challenges alongside the communities we support, is a poignant reminder of what all the long hours of fundraising, the speeches, and special events really mean in the end.
After my recent trip to Ecuador in July, Iâ€™m more convinced than ever that the incredible support of our donors, the contributions of Timmyâ€™s volunteers, and the efforts of our student chapters are indeed helping to enhance, expand, and deepen Timmyâ€™s impact on the ground.
But donâ€™t take my word for it. Take the words I heard on the ground in Napo Province, the Amazon Basin, Tena, and Quito.
“What Makes Timmy Global Health Different…”
In a meeting with myself and Dr. Sergio Chacon, the Governor of Napo Province, Ecuador, the head of our government partner in the Amazon Basin said these words:
â€œMr. Governor, I want to stress to you what makes Timmy Global Health different. They do what they promise. They support the communities consistently and they spend their time, money, and resources on patient follow up. It truly separates them from any of the other organizations working here.”
Don Ramiro, Patronato Provincial
Nothing is more pleasing when our own partners recognize Timmyâ€™s efforts to enhance the quality of our service provision in rural areas. For the past year and a half, Timmy has worked closely with the regional government of Napo to ensure that our primary care medical clinics become a reliable entry point into the local healthcare system. After each clinic, dozens of patients are referred to Timmyâ€™s partner hospital, Stadler Richter. It is our unique collaboration with the Napo government that ensures they receive the transportation, logistical assistance, and financial support they need to get the care they deserve. In fact, the regional government has been so supportive of Timmy’s model that they have proactively suggested making it the standard for any short-term medical team operating in the region.Â Hearing Don Ramiroâ€™s unsolicited comments were a heartfelt validation of the model Timmy has spent the last 17 months developing in the Amazon Basin.
“Coming together to construct a better facility…”Â
One of Timmyâ€™s adopted communities, San Rafael, faces some of the most difficult logistical barriers to accessing quality healthcare in Ecuador. It is, quite literally, an island. Located miles down the Napo Riverâ€”a tributary of the Amazonâ€”it is accessible only via canoe. As such, San Rafael is largely cut off from the network of public clinics that dot parts of the Amazon Basin. Combined with our follow-up and trainings of community health workers, Timmyâ€™s bi-monthly clinics have become such an important source of pride for the community that they are putting up their own resources and labor to construct a better facility. During a tour of San Rafael with one of Timmy’s Community Health workers, I was awed to hear that the community is building upon Timmy’s own efforts by coming together to enhance their infrastructure. Â According to Aida:
“We see a bright future with Timmy…”Â
One of our partner organizations, Tierra Nueva, is was where Timmy’s work in Ecuador began. And as Tierra Nueva has grown from the dream of its founder to a full-fledged foundation now operating one of the largest hospitals in Southern Quitoâ€”Timmyâ€™s work with Tierra Nueva has grown as well. During a meeting I had with Tierra Nueva directors, Timmy re-affirmed its commitment to the organization, agreeing to send five primary care medical teams and two public health teams to support their community outreach in 2012-2013. We also pledged to donate nearly $25,000 in financial support for the Tierra Nueva patient solidarity fund, as well as $5,000 for a program focused on providing medical care to low-income elderly patients in South Quito. The encouraging words that Tierra Nueva’s Executive Director exchanged with Timmy’s founder and President, Dr. Chuck Dietzen, during that meeting were music to our ears:
“Working with Timmy was an amazing reminder of why I went into medicine in the first place”Â
Timmy has always strived to provide future healthcare leaders with the opportunity to see, and dissect, firsthand the challenges faced by patients in the developing world. I had the pleasure of meeting with Matt Nolan during my trip to Ecuador as well. Matt is one of Timmy’s first long-term volunteers to work in Ecuador and was an incredible reminder of why our new long-term volunteer initiative is going to be such an integral part of the organization’s future.Â Through the process of volunteering with Timmy, Matt didn’t just learnâ€”he also strengthened Timmy’s on the ground team, assisted with patient follow up, and set a high standard for the many long-term Timmy volunteers yet to come. And his own comments about that experience reflect just the type of learning experiences and values we hope to inspire in each of our volunteers: