Europe Peace Foundation (EPF) is committed to providing medicines, medical equipment and the services of professional medical staff to people recovering from violent conflict and natural disasters. In a crisis situation, health services become the most urgent need, a need that local governments and communities rarely have the capacity to meet.
EPF stands by the principle of access to health services as a fundamental right for all people. Thus, we call on governments, organizations and companies to facilitate the delivery of low-cost medicines and supplies to those most in need. Certainly health is the underlying basis of a peaceful and productive society. Without health services and medicines, communities cannot prosper nor recover from conflict or disasters.
Often times, rural communities throughout the developing world suffer from the absolute lack of proper health care and medical facilities. This essential lack forces people living in those marginalized areas to venture to cities in search of medical attention. This implies for them a great financial cost, difficulty in following up on medical treatments and, frequently, a general risk to their health. However, in times of crises, this lack of medical attention is aggravated, increasing the possibility of outbreaks of contagious diseases and the risk of death in treatable diseases. Statistically, women and children are the most vulnerable to treatable and preventable illnesses, as well as malnutrition and trauma. In the EPF we are committed to providing basic health care to the people most in need.
The collapse of public health systems in times of crisis leave communities in state of vulnerability. In this context, many diseases that shouldn’t have a place in the 21st century, such as polio, cholera, typhoid and dysentery, resurface and threaten to become epidemics. In addition, a poor diet contributes to this vulnerability and ability to fight diseases. On the other hand, a protracted armed conflict greatly diminishes the food and nutritional security of the people affected. For these reasons, the EPF works with making available to these communities generic drugs and vaccines for treatable diseases, as well as vitamins, disinfectants and first aid supplies.
The hidden damages of a violent conflict are the psychological scars that many victims endure and battle with for the rest of their lives. For this reason, it is a priority that as part of the reinstating of the health system after an armed conflict, the psychological needs of victims must be also taken into consideration. In this way, we can help them to regain a feeling of security and trust and become active members of society and its reconstruction process.
Children with prolonged exposure to violence need the support of trained professionals to provide an alternative vision of a future, a future of peace and prosperity. At the same time, severe traumas and post-traumatic stress disorder, if not treated, can prevent people from living ordinary lives. In the EPF we place at the service of these communities psychologists specialized in post-trauma recovery; furthermore, we seek to provide workshops and train teachers and community leaders in psychological and social services, as well as provide materials to parents and children and create networks of support and trust.
In times of crisis, remote and impoverished communities face the lack of medical supplies and services. In addition, the limited quality of the road infrastructure limits the access of these communities to larger cities where they can find medical treatment. These problems are solved with the construction of strategically located health posts and the provision of an ambulance in each one of them. In general, patients seek medical attention when they are in a state of advanced or even serious illness. For these reasons, in the FEP we build health posts equipped with medicines, supplies and trained medical staff; medical centers that also act as vaccination centers, prenatal care, and the places to carry out blood donation campaigns and training in first aid. In turn, we equip each ambulance for advanced critical care, mobile blood donation, women’s health and natal care, and dental care.