Medicine for Everyone
MAP International, founded 65 years ago as Medical Assistance Programs (MAP) International has provided medicines and medical supplies to billions of people who need them the most.

For those of us with easy access to a drugstore on every intersection, it can be hard to imagine that in developing countries, even hospitals often don’t have access to critical medicines and supplies. In fact, before I sat down to write this post, I gave my dog her morning dose of an antibiotic prescribed by our veterinarian, and then I was reminded that nearly 1.6 million children will die this year due to the lack of access to a simple antibiotic.

But this is why organizations like MAP exist, to give people who would otherwise not have medicine, a chance at recovery and hope. MAP’s Bringing Children Health program is designed specifically to give children access to simple antibiotics like amoxicillin, a medicine that can mean the difference a life-time of disability from untreated strep infection and getting back to school quickly.

Facilitating these types of simple interventions, like providing essential medicine and health supplies, is what MAP has become most known for, particularly in times of disaster.

When Disaster Strikes
Already strained medical supplies and resources cannot begin to cover the drastic increase in demand in the aftermath of a disaster. Earthquakes, hurricanes and floods can leave hundreds or even thousands of people injured and even more homeless.

MAP helps in times of disaster by keeping an Interagency Emergency Health Kit, ready to airlift, with enough medicine and health supplies to prevent the spread of illness and treat injuries for 10,000 people during the 90 days following a disaster. This intervention is critical to saving lives in times of disaster. In addition to helping on this large scale, MAP also provides help and hope on an individual level through Disaster Health Kits, which contain basic health supplies, such as toothbrushes, bandages, soap and first aid supplies. These kits help those living in a temporary shelter maintain good hygiene and stay healthy. “This is a great way to provide those who have nothing a measure of dignity and give them hope as they seek to rebuild their lives and their communities,” said Jason Elliott, MAP’s Disaster Response Manager.

Getting People Involved
In the philanthropic world, we know that in order to help people, we need funding. In order to receive funding, we have to engage donors. Donors who volunteer with an organization typically also contribute more financially, but it is often hard for people to make time to volunteer. And it can be equally difficult for charitable organizations to develop volunteer programs that provide potential donors the opportunity to get to know them on a more intimate level. To increase employee engagement, Global Impact has helped its corporate partners facilitate several events using MAP’s Disaster Health Kits as a focal point.

The Disaster Health Kits are perfect for workplace engagement activities. MAP offers a low cost and low minimum order, making it easy for a team of just 10 to participate. The activity helps employees realize how fortunate they are to have such easy access to these essential items needed by those who find themselves forcibly displaced from their homes with no time to prepare. The supplies that employees pack are readily available to many of us; we find them at the grocery store, in gas stations and provided to us plentifully during hotel stays.

MAP takes a hands-off approach with teams while maintaining a high level of quality control. This allows employees the opportunity to really take ownership of the project. Employees work together to determine the best way to set up and pack kits in a timely and efficient way. Often employees form assembly lines to place health supplies in large plastic, zipped bags. Then those bags are inserted in MAP drawstring bags and stacked in boxes – ready to ship wherever, whenever they are needed around the world. It is a relatively simple action that produces big results.

The Results
Activities like these increase awareness of the needs around the world and expose participants to small actions that can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Being involved in a hands-on activity to help others makes people feel good. When this happens in the workplace, it builds morale and improves employee satisfaction. Employees use a unique skill set as they determine how best to tackle putting together the kits: communication, problem solving and leadership.

It is good for the employee. It is good for the employer. It is good for the charitable organization. It is good for the people who will receive help in their time of need. Who knew a toothbrush and a bar of soap could be life changing?

Photos courtesy of MAP International