HPIC provides $31.4 million of medical aid to hundreds of thousands at risk thanks to Canada's healthcare industry

    MONTREAL, Jan. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Health Partners International of Canada
(HPIC) provided $31.4 million in donated medicines, vaccines and medical
supplies for distribution to at-risk people and communities in the developing
world in 2008.
    "We are very grateful to the 58 companies across Canada's healthcare
industry who make it possible for HPIC to continue to work with Canadian
doctors and NGOs to relieve suffering, prevent and cure diseases, and save
lives," said Glen Shepherd, who took over as President and CEO of HPIC on
Jan.1. "We are also thankful to the thousands of individuals, companies and
foundations who contribute financially to HPIC's various projects."
    In 2008, HPIC concentrated efforts in Zimbabwe, including antibiotics,
oral rehydration and supplies to help victims of the cholera epidemic at the
end of the year. HPIC also responded to natural disasters in Haiti, Myanmar,
China, and Ecuador.
    HPIC continued to work closely with Canadian doctors, dentists and other
healthcare professionals by supplying them with Physician and Dental Travel
Packs. Hundreds of medical professionals travelled to some of the most
desperate places in the world to offer medical care. In total, 775 travel
packs were carried to 59 countries.
    Last year HPIC worked with about a dozen NGOs, including World Vision,
Human Concern International, and Ve'ahavta. Through HPIC's community health
projects, desperately needed medicines were provided to recipients including
refugees in Lebanon, women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
and the working poor in Central America. Several new NGO partners were
welcomed in 2008 and partnerships were strengthened. An example is a strategic
partnership agreement that was signed by HPIC, EMAS and Canadian Baptist
Ministries to provide medical care and aid as well as professional training in
    HPIC wrapped up activities for its five-year project in Cuba with the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in the fall. A total of $4.5
million of medicine was delivered to the Ministry of Public Health in 2008
alone; about $20 million was provided since 2003. In 2008, HPIC also
facilitated a palliative care conference in Cuba and brought respiratory
specialists to Canada to learn about influenza surveillance techniques used
    "Another exciting development last year was the signing of a five-year
project in Afghanistan with CIDA," Shepherd said. "This year HPIC will be
opening a field office in Kabul and beginning to deliver medical aid as well
as planning the sustainable development portion of the project, which involves
improving the operations of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health."
    In total, HPIC is committed to sending $25 million of medical aid,
building capacity and working with Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health to
improve quality control, quality assurance and warehousing operations.
    At the end of December, HPIC's president John Kelsall retired after 15
years of service. "We are grateful for John's dedication to serving the poor
and for his contribution to HPIC," Shepherd said. "We will remember him for
his perseverance and success in attaining tax credits for donations of
medicine, for bringing HPIC into Afghanistan and for his charisma and faith.
He has left HPIC with a much greater capacity to bring about healing and hope
in the world."

    Health Partners International of Canada is a medical aid organization
dedicated to improving access to health care and medicine in the developing
world. Since 1990, HPIC has provided more than $285 million of medical aid to
116 countries. www.hpicanada.ca

For further information:

For further information: Bill Kokesch, Associate Director, Media
Relations, (514) 695-0007, ext. 107, bkokesch@hpicanada.ca

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