I was inspired to start this organization after my experience in the Republic of Palau while completing my Master of Public Health internship with the Ministry of Health. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with excellent public health specialists, compassionate physicians, and to live with wonderful, friendly people. The more I experienced, the more motivated I was to help improve the health problems and disparities I saw everyday in the clinic and read in charts.
Upon my completion of graduate school, I recruited a number of professionals from different backgrounds and experiences to found the Red Hibiscus Foundation with the hopes of continuing our work to make further change in the lives of those not only in the Pacific, but across the world. I know that together we can make an impact.
One project that we have been diligently working on is our hearing health program. Hearing loss, whether congenital or from infections, effects people of all ages. In Micronesia, the World Health Organization has found that 2% of children suffer from some type of hearing loss, one of the highest rates in the world. Many of the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands have implemented hearing screening programs, however, many people who fail the screenings are never seen by audiologists for diagnosis or potential interventional services and they are lost to any follow-up. Our goal is to bring volunteer audiologists to the islands as well as low-cost, high quality hearing aids and rechargers that are able to allow for those with hearing disabilities to receive an affordable intervention.
Another project in the future is providing prosthetics and diabetic foot ulcer wound care. Numerous people are losing limbs due to infected wounds related to diabetic neuropathies and become homebound as a result. We hope to facilitate the introduction of prosthetic services to get people standing tall on two feet and using secondary prevention methods to prevent foot ulcers from progressing to the level of amputation.
With your support, we hope to continue working to help improve the quality of care in these under-resourced areas and are committed to working through collaboration to provide sustainable interventions in healthful communities.