Infectious Disease

PCI: Combating the spread of infectious disease

Responding to H1N1

When the H1N1 flu virus was first detected, PCI immediately mobilized our humanitarian assistance response team. With assistance from AmeriCares, PCI distributed 40,100 N95 pleated masks and over 2,000 units of hand sanitizer to clinics throughout areas of Mexico identified as high-risk for H1N1 transmission. By designating critical points of distribution along the U.S.-Mexico Border and in Mexico City, PCI provided the support needed to put H1N1 education materials in the hands of staff and patients of 114 clinics in Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Mexico City, as well as in San Diego County.

Curing TB

Each year, nearly two million people die unnecessarily from TB worldwide. A treatable and curable disease, many people – such as Don Jose (pictured right), a beneficiary of PCI’s TB prevention and treatment program in Mexico – either don’t have access to needed medication or they don’t take the medication properly. PCI works in partnership with the National TB Program in Mexico, and in other countries, to control TB by providing treatment support to patients like Don Jose. The partnership works like this: government health clinics offer diagnostic services and medication, and PCI trains community health volunteers to make home visits, observe patient intake of medication, and provide multi-faceted support during the course of treatment. Because of the efforts of these dedicated, trained TB-exclusive health workers, Don Jose was cured of TB. In fact, last year PCI contributed to an average cure rate of 90.7% in the 13 participating high-risk states, compared to a national rate of 84.1%.

Eradicating Polio

Sazid Shad walks with a stick after falling victim to polio in his childhood. A native Indian, Sazid understands the importance of polio immunizations and works as a PCI community outreach worker, educating parents on why they should immunize their children against this crippling disease. Through the efforts of Sazid and others, as well as education events and immunization campaigns, PCI is helping reduce the incidence of polio in some of India’s most high-risk areas. In collaboration with its partners in the CORE Group Polio Project, PCI helped decrease the number of districts with a high rate of polio from 82 in 2008 to 44 in 2009 – a reduction of 46%.

Combating A Major Childhood Killer

Each year, waterborne diseases cause millions of deaths worldwide, and children under five years of age are especially vulnerable. In communities in the Department of Jinotega, Nicaragua, PCI was able to bring both clean drinking water and access to latrines to 2,220 rural homes, benefiting more than 12,880 people in 2009. Attaining access to potable water in or near their homes not only saved lives, but it also saved the women and children of Jinotega approximately 364 hours a year that they had previously spent traveling to collect water. By improving access to water, sanitation services and hygiene education, PCI reduced the prevalence of diarrheal disease by 20% among children under three years of age.

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