Picton Rotary learn about HPIC and the work they do

 

DESIRÉE DECOSTE

STAFF WRITER

The Director of Philanthropy and Communications with Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC), Dayana Gomez spoke to the Rotary Club of Picton about their mission and what they do as a not-for-profit organization.

As said on the HPIC website, HPIC improves the health and well-being of more then one million people around the world every year.

HPIC is set apart by its unique relationship with Canada’s pharmaceutical industry in receiving donations of medicine and medical supplies for ongoing work in international development. HPIC works with many partners including Canadian health care professionals, government and non-government organizations, companies, foundations and everyday Canadians to bring health to children and families living in vulnerable communities.

Director of Philanthropy and Communications with HPIC Dayana Gomez.

“I’ve always worked in the not-for-profit sector and I really am passionate about giving back,” Gomez expressed. “I have been privileged, and it is my privilege to serve, as part of the work that I do here and I look at serving vulnerable people around the world. I’ve been very lucky to grow up in a wonderful country like Canada. I come from Ecuador and I too have experienced need when I arrived here in Canada and the fact organizations like HPIC helped me is probably how I began to take the journey in the kind of work that I do every day.”

Being the only charity licensed by Health Canada to handle donated medicines, Canadians choose to partner with HPIC to support healthcare systems around the world with limited resources.

“HPIC is a charity like no other,” stated Gomez. “We have a very unique license-no one else in Canada has this license. It’s the Canadian Health Establishment License and that allows us to gather medicines from different pharmaceutical partners directly from the manufacturing plant itself and we send these medicines to vulnerable countries.”

Gomez explained HPIC caters to the needs of different countries in real time as opposed to stockpiling medicines for anticipated usage that may or may not be realized.

“It’s really catering to the need locally. So we go out to our partners and say ‘This is the type of medicines we need’ and our pharmaceutical partners provide that and so we partner with different Non-Government Organizations. We don’t have offices all around the world so we partner with different organizations so we can increase our impact so we can mobilize medicine and our partners can do onsite training, pharmaceutical management, awareness and of course the treatment which is the medicine going there,” said Gomez.

The HPIC mission is to increase access to medicine and improve health in vulnerable communities by, equipping medical mission teams, stocking clinics and hospitals in impoverished communities, mobilizing medical relief during emergencies and building local healthcare capacity.

“We are a national organization,” Gomez said to Picton Rotarians. “We have donors all across Canada and throughout the pandemic we were challenged. We faced lots of different barriers and we had to close our volunteer program down. We had to pay more for logistical support and with all the things that were happening all over the world we had more crisis, more emergencies and yet we have responded to every single one. So I sometimes am in awe of what we can accomplish but it really is because people believe in this mission, because they see the difference that we’re making. I’m very passionate about it. HPIC continues to grow, our mission continues to expand, we want to reach as many people as possible and were doing it one emergency, one shipment at a time.”

HPIC is actively providing medical relief to Ukrainians in-country and those that have been displaced as a result of the ongoing war. Throughout 2022, HPIC aims to send 400 Humanitarian Medical Kits to Ukraine and neighbouring refugee camps.

HPIC continues to help with Humanitarian Medical Kits and getting groups such as GEMS (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Saviour) and Cadets to write letters of hope and encouragement to go into the medical packages.

Gomez said the war in Ukraine is top of mind for everyone in the organization and the scenes and news from the ground have proved to be one of the “most emotional emergencies” she and her team have ever encountered

“When our volunteers were packing they were brought to tears. Just two weeks ago we had a volunteer pack and two young girls were there and I knew they spoke Ukrainian they didn’t speak english but as they were packing medicine they began to cry.

Gomez approached the pair and learned they had just found refuge in Canada  

“They were being hosted by two families and they just wanted to say, ‘Tell everyone that supports your mission how much we value what you are doing. We don’t speak english but we are here because we want to make a difference.”

Gomez explained the girls parents and brothers are still in Ukraine and the refugees haven’t been able to contact family to know if they’re okay.

“The fact is this mission has touched the lives of many, many people and it continues to do so,” Gomez added.  “There is so much need but we remain committed, we know we have to do more, and every dollar that we raise, every partner that we bring allows us to continue to do this.”

For more information on HPIC please visit https://hpicanada.ca/