First annual call for social action and health projects

It is aimed at social entities throughout Spain that work with vulnerable populations and that could submit a project

 On Monday October15th, Probitas Foundation opened the first annual call for grants for social action and health projects developed in Spain. This call is aimed at social entities throughout Spain that work with vulnerable populations that could submit a project within the following lines of action:
  • Challenges of social intervention in multicultural or poverty contexts.
  • New approaches to tackle in the approach to mental health in children and young people.

From 15th October onwards, the terms and conditions of this call for proposals can be accessed on the Foundation's website. The deadline for submission of projects will be November 16th and the resolution of the selected projects call will take place in January.

Probitas Foundation intends to promote the healthy development of the most vulnerable children and youth people at the physical, psychological and emotional levels and therefore offers comprehensive support through nutritional resources, socio-educational, psychosocial and care resources for children at risk.

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Amazonia field visit

Probitas Foundation travels to Ecuador and to the Colombian Vaupés to follow-up the projects run there

GLI Equador
GLI Ecuador project began in 2012 with the collaboration of UNHCR and later OXFAM Italia with whom Probitas signed a collaboration agreement in 2015. The purpose of this project was to help vulnerable populations in the border area between Ecuador and Colombia that were fleeing the fighting and instability of the country, applying an integral approach to the health needs of these communities. At the beginning, the project requested an emergency response due to an oil spill in the waters of San Miguel River, which prevented access to drinking water becoming a public health emergency.

Nowadays, the project is completed and Probitas Foundation has moved to make a follow-up visit aiming to evaluate the current situation a year since its closure and aiming to reinforce it to sine extent with: 
  • Offering a training workshop for the health staff of the two new laboratories (the subject should yet be decided by local health authorities).
  • Recommending starring external quality controls to the laboratories that would be funded by Probitas. 
  • Contributing, together with the Ministry of Public Health with the budget for serving maintenance of laboratory equipment.
  • Proposing an eventual installation of the GLI Software to all project laboratories to improve their internal management.

During the visit it was determined too that the laboratories in the area are performing as planned and that the health staff working there are highly motivated.

Sinergias Project (International Collaboration Project, ICP)
The International Collaboration Project carried out by Sinergias aims to improve prevention and control of six neglected infectious diseases in 18 indigenous communities in the rural area of Mitú, in Vaupés department located in the Amazonia region of Colombia. The project, which is part of a broader program, intends to improve access to health services with an intercultural and gender equity approach.

In this country, the visit has allowed to acknowledge the different activities that are being carried out in this second year of execution of the project. Some of the conclusions that could be drawn are that the project is working with a high level of participation of the beneficiaries as well as of the country's public health administrations and that the project's approach towards cultural integrity is being maintained.

Both projects have worked with the target populations of Probitas Foundation, such as the indigenous, isolated and very disadvantaged populations of the Peruvian and Colombian Amazonia and the trip has served, once again, to get to know the everyday reality lived by certain communities in the world.


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Interview to the external evaluator Mr. Duncan Ochieng

The external evaluator Mr Duncan Ochieng, laboratory specialist, came back to Probitas Foundation HQ to present the final evaluation results of the assessments of the laboratories in Lunsar (Sierra Leone) and Kumasi (Ghana)

You can read below the interview we made him about the process of assessing the GLI Projects mentioned above

1) First of all, which guidelines did you follow to make the evaluations?  

There are two different orientations. The first one was to evaluate the project according to the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, viability and participation to see if the action coincides with the planned objectives and the needs identified. In order to get the information I developed and used specific questionnaires for different groups of people who were involved in the project. Once the specific data is analysed I can see the impact of the entire project. In addition to that, from the information I received I identified  the challenges and the limitations and provide recommendations to improve the project and to consider them for future activities. This evaluation will help in the management of GLI projects.

The second tool was more specific on the technical laboratory activities.In this one I developed and checklist for laboratory assessments and this one was divided into 10 different parameters. These parameters refer to laboratories' structure, staff's competences, the activities they are doing, the biosecurity, etc. So from this, it is possible to identify the gaps in the technical activities of the laboratory.

So the findings of the second checklist will be most specific to ensure that the laboratories improve in terms of quality service. Through these questionnaires you can identify what are the areas that are not working well, which areas needs to be improved and what is need to be done. So with both tools/guidelines and the level of functional laboratory and the project itself then it's easy to identify if there are any gaps and what has been improved because of the project.

2)    What can you explain of each laboratory?
Kumasi (Ghana)
The key in Ghana's laboratory is that is in a public hospital. The staff level in terms of training and qualification is higher than in Sierra Leone. In Ghana there is more activity at the hospital, the catchment area is much bigger and because of that they have students who come for internship in the laboratory because it has become a centre of reference.

Thanks to the activities that have been carried out in the project and the optimal conditions to do so many tests, healthcare staff and trainees are getting experience so they can be able to work in other laboratory's departments. In this laboratory there were working at the time I was there 7 staff, 10 students on internships and 10 national staff. One of the most remarkable things is that it has really improved the number of the tests done.

Sierra Leone (Lunsar)
Lunsar's laboratory is better organized in terms of structure. One of the key things is that they have more standard operations proceeds in right places. In addition, the staffs tend to follow best the procedures. In this laboratory there are six people as staff. And these six are supported by the catholic brother's hospital. 

3)    Which problems did you find during the evaluations?
Kumasi (Ghana)
When I went to Ghana there was a national laboratories' strike which caused that many workers were not there. Another problem was that the laboratory does not always follow standard procedures which are dictated by national protocols. Besides, some of the machines were not working and there were some specific tests that are not being done due to the lack of reagents. This happens because Probitas is no longer giving financial support and the laboratory cannot continue buying them.

Sierra Leone (Lunsar)
In the same way that in Ghana's laboratory there are some specific tests that are not being done because of the lack of reagents. Another problem is that the staff level is lower comparing to Ghana. However, Sierra Leone's laboratory is the reference for the entire community and the only one of the area capable of doing these kind of tests.

4)    What do you think about GLI Program?
GLI Program itself is very relevant because it introduces tests, ensures the quality of them and supports the management of patients in areas that have not been done before. Then the areas that were targeted are also very good delimited. In Ghana, for example, there is an approximate population of 250,000 inhabitants and most of them come to the hospital when they have some health.

I can conclude that GLI Program is very complete because it strengthens basic infrastructures and provides laboratory equipment; it trains local staff in diagnostic techniques and laboratory management, promotes other health programs appropriate for each context and measures the effectiveness, efficiency and impact. 

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Samuel goes back home recovered from the operation

Probitas Foundation has been supporting Cuida'm program for 8 years with the aim of providing care to children and youth from countries with limited resources

Cuida'm program is a project initiated in Sant Joan de Déu Hospital in Barcelona and has been receiving Probitas support during eight years. Its objective is to care for children and young people from countries with limited resources so they can gain access to highly complex medical treatments unavailable in their countries of origin. 

Among the first six beneficiaries of 2018
Samuel Andrés is a 7 years old boy, from Nicaragua and one of the 12 minors beneficiaries which are part of this year's Cuida'm program. He came to Barcelona 4 months ago to treat orbital vascular malformation in his left eye, a pathology that caused a lot of pain and prevented him from living a normal life. The intervention has been separated in two parts: embolization of the malformation and exoneration with preserved palpebral edges that has allowed an aesthetic and health improvement to Samuel's eye.

His mother Lucia explains that Samuel was born with a normal left eye but when he was two the problem started. As it was not treated, more complications appeared until he lost his eye. Because of this pathology his parents decided not to sign him up in school to avoid bullying situations and as a consequence the child isn't able to express himself correctly. Thanks to the treatment he has received, his parents are now considering to enrol him in school.

In this context, Probitas Foundation is the one in charge of covering the travel expenses of the minor, accompanying person and all fees derived of the surgical intervention (surgeons, medical material, etc).

Samuel's family got to know Cuida'm program through Infancia Solidaria NGO and this organization presented Samuel case at Sant Joan de Déu Hospital. Besides, this organization is responsible for the sustenance and provides escort and emotional support services. On another hand, Petit Món foundation takes care of the accommodation of Samuel and his mother.

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World Refugee Day

More than 68.5 million people live displaced from their country of origin

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of displaced people has increased for 5th consecutive years. The Agency states that if "20 people fled in 2016 per minute, this year there are 31 people who are forced to leave their homes every 60 seconds." The main causes of displacement are the wars of South Sudan and Syria and the brutal violence against Rohingya in Myanmar, especially during the second half of 2017. UNHCR reveals that "more than 5,600 minors have become heads of household" and that the world is facing up the "biggest humanitarian crisis since the World War II".

On June 20th World Refugee Day is celebrated to remember these millions of people who are forced to leave their countries for warlike reasons, violence, persecution, conflicts or human rights violations. This day is celebrated since 2001, when the fiftieth anniversary of the Convention on the 1951 Refugees Statute takes place and the General Assembly of the United Nations designates June 20th the World Refugee Day as an expression of solidarity and sensitivity to all people fleeing their country.

UNHCR has published a decalogue of the most shocking figures of the refugee crisis. They are the following:
  1. Every minute, 31 people have to flee their home.
  2. This means that 1 in 110 people cannot return home.
  3. In the world there are more than 68.5 million people displaced by force.
  4. 25.4 million people crossed the borders becoming refugees.
  5. They flee from countries in war or conflict like Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia from where more than half of the refugees come from.
  6. 85% of refugees live in developing countries. Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran are the mostly host countries.
  7. Lebanon is the country with the highest proportion of refugees: 1 in 6 people in the country.
  8. More than half are boys and girls.
  9. 173,800 minors have fled alone, without their parents or other elderly relatives. The majority from Afghanistan, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  10. In 2017, only 57% of the necessary funds to provide food, water, education or health for those who have lost everything were obtained to those who have lost everything.

All these data is collected in the - Global Trends – report published annually by UNHCR which includes updated information on refugees.

The time that refugees spend living outside of their countries of origin also warns about their situation. According to UNHCR, in 2017 there were 13.4 million refugees and of these, 3 million have been living for 38 years in refugee conditions. 6.9 million have been between 5 and 9 years living as refugees in other countries and 3.5 million refugees are in this situation between 10 and 37 years.

Probitas support in the refugee crisis
Despite the fact that these projects are over, the Foundation considered it appropriate to continue to contribute to initiatives that seek to improve living conditions and restore dignity to refugees. Thus, Probitas is supporting a program in Chad that seeks to improve the living conditions of the Sudanese refugee population. It is being carried out in collaboration with UNHCR and the Asturian Agency for Development Cooperation at four refugee camps in the east of the country. The goal is to provide support to 170,726 Sudanese refugees.

In this way and in line with the values upheld by the Foundation, it has continued to support projects to bolster sanitation, nutrition and physical and mental health, with the aim of improving refugees' living conditions.

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Probitas Foundation inaugurates 2 laboratories in Belize

A follow-up visit and parasitology training have also been performed

From June 4 to 8, GLI's Project Manager, Mercè Claret, has traveled to Belize to inaugurate the Health Center Laboratory located in Santa Theresa and the Southern Regional Hospital Laboratory in Dangriga. The trip has also served to carry out a follow-up visit, to perform a parasitology course (with the aim of training local staff in laboratory management and diagnostic techniques as well) and to assess the needs of 2 new laboratories in the north of the country.

Trip's purpose was to follow up the project that consists of strengthening the capacities of clinical laboratories in the early detection, diagnosis and management of prevalent diseases in the country. More specifically, the visit served to follow up the constructions work of the infrastructures (already completed) at the Regional Hospital in Dangriga and at the Health Centre Laboratory in the south region in Santa Theresa.

On the other hand, two more laboratories in remote areas were visited to identify the needs they have and analyze the possibility to start collaboration next year together with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of Belize.

Context of GLI Belize
GLI Belize main objective is to improve the country's capacity for early detection, diagnosis and guarantee the proper medical management of diseases that affect Toledo and Stann Creek communities. In addition, the challenges of improving the capacities of 3 laboratories in the center and south areas of Belize (Dangriga, San Antonio and Santa Theresa) for them to be able to offer a medical service adapted to the needs of the population in these areas.

Besides, another goal is to increase the abilities of laboratory and medical staff, as well as provide services to the most vulnerable population (mothers and children) during the most critical periods of pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.

Some of the benefits to achieve are the reduction of the waiting time for the test laboratory results (aim already reached in Dangriga's laboratory), the improvement of the quality of these results and the reduction of the costs.

   || Regional Hospital Laboratory in Dangriga

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Probitas Foundation travels to Richard-Toll municipality to visit ALVES project

A centre delivering school reinforcement, health, access to vocational training and nutritional support for children

From May 14th to May 17th Cristina Vico from Probitas Foundation voyaged to Richard-Toll town (Senegal) in order to follow up ALVES project (Association Against Social Exclusion and Vulnerability), a centre delivering school reinforcement, health, access to vocational training and nutritional support for children to prevent and tackle against social exclusion of children and youth in this area of northern Senegal.

Inside the project
Some of the trip goals that stand out are: identify areas for improvement through meetings with all staff involved, the community and families, to review their accounts status, to establish common procedures, to interview the new coordinator of the centre, Mr. Amadou Diack, to review the status of the AGR (Income Generating Activity, French acronym) and to study the feasibility of new proposals such as the reform of the centre track or to have a motorcycle for Social Worker and Nurse journeys. The visit also served to get in touch with its director, Mr. Ngary BA, a community leader in Richard-Toll.

ALVES project is characterized by:
  • To be the only centre of these characteristics in Richard-Toll.
  • It has more than 10 years of experience in helping children between 3 and 18 years old.
  • Offering a wide variety of activities:
  1. Children Attention and psychostimulation
  2. School reinforcement for children in primary school
  3. Nutritional support
  4. Access to vocational training: electricity, carpentry, hairdressing and sewing
  5. Talibés Youth access to non-formal education, health and access to training of different careers.
  6. Internet cafe
  7. AGR (Income Generating Activity, French acronym) are activities that generate income and are proposed to centre mothers attending the centre. Among these we can find: market garden, rice decorticating machine, millet and chicken breeding. This group in particular, is also given the possibility of doing a literacy course
  • The most costly part of the project –such as infrastructure- is already covered therefore the funds can allocated to improve and innovate the activities already implemented.
  • ALVES project director, Mr. Ngary BA is a community leader and a key figure in the area.
  • It is a project that has more than 300 beneficiaries (children and young people) and is highly valued by all of them.
Through all these activities ALVES aims is to support children and teens to ensure good integration in the school system and in upcoming professional future, to achieving centre sustainability and the develop the potential of mothers who attend. To make it possible, Probitas continues providing expertise and experience in this area of Senegal and reinforcing the needs of the centre with technical resources that are now co-financed by the Cooperation of Monaco.

Context Richard-Toll
Richard-Toll municipality is located in the Saint-Louis region, on the border with Mauritania. Its population has increased from 34.00 0 inhabitants in 1985 to around 127,000 people nowadays. Due to its strategic location, Richard-Toll is a crossing area that attracts families looking to work on the cultivation of sugar cane.

Its health situation is characterized by having a population that lives, mostly, in precarious conditions where two out of three people live under poverty threshold in rural areas. In general, income does not allow them to meet all their daily health and nutrition needs. This is one of the reasons why children and young people suffer from diseases such as diarrhoea, urinary schistosomiasis, skin diseases, respiratory diseases, intestinal parasites and malaria.

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