CATHOLIC MEDICAL MISSION BOARD NAMES HONDURAN DOCTOR DIRECTOR OF INTEGRATED PROGRAM TO...

CATHOLIC MEDICAL MISSION BOARD NAMES HONDURAN DOCTOR DIRECTOR OF INTEGRATED PROGRAM TO PREVENT CHILHOOD DISEASE



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New York, NY,–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–February 11, 2003–Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) has named Eduardo H. Retes, M.D., MPH & TM, Regional Technical Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. In this capacity, Dr. Retes will facilitate CMMB’s new initiative in the region known as “Acción por la Salud Familiar,” or Action for Family Health. He will be based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, working closely with CMMB staff in the region. The announcement was made last week by John F. Galbraith, President and Chief Executive Officer of CMMB.

“Dr. Retes brings a unique background in healthcare delivery to CMMB’s program in the region,” said Galbraith, “where he has both practiced medicine and worked with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). He is a humanitarian in the truest sense, and a man of deep faith. CMMB is fortunate to have Dr. Retes’ experience and wisdom as we take an important step in reversing mortality rates associated with childhood illnesses.”

Each year, around 200,000 deaths occur in the Americas among children under five years of age due to preventable diseases such as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections (pneumonia), measles, malaria, dengue, and malnutrition. The medical knowledge to prevent this catastrophe exists, but 30%-40% of the population has no access to healthcare. CMMB’s program will help build the capacity of local, faith-based organizations to end this cycle of death.

Dr. Retes and his staff will focus their initial efforts in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. “Acción por la Salud Familiar” will be based on components of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) initiative, which is designed to prevent the onset of disease, recognize early signs of complications, and promote key health practices at the community and household levels. The idea is to prevent children from dying from common diseases, provide mothers with adequate prenatal control and the delivery of a healthy baby, and ensure the healthy growth and development of children. “Once we complete our needs assessment” said Dr. Retes, “we will begin to train local people from the community in disease prevention, working primarily through the vast network of the Catholic Church-parishes, universities, even Catholic radio stations.”

According to Dr. Retes, the overall goal of CMMB’s program is to strengthen the health of the family. “When we have strong families, we’ll have strong communities with zero tolerance for preventable diseases. We also want to change attitudes about statistics so that even if just one child dies, it is considered an epidemic.” Dr. Retes believes that CMMB’s IMCI program in Latin America and the Caribbean will help create a model for other parts of the world that experience high childhood mortality rates from preventable diseases.

Dr. Retes received his medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras in Tegucigalpa; and his Master’s degree in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University’s School of Public Health in New Orleans. He has served as the Humanitarian Aid Liaison for several NGOs, as a member of the International Response team of the American Red Cross; and regional health consultant for Central America to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which serves as CMMB’s on-the-ground partner for “Acción por la Salud Familiar.”

CMMB is a charitable, nonprofit organization that provides healthcare assistance to developing nations without regard to religious affiliation. It is the leading U.S.-based Catholic organization that focuses exclusively on international healthcare. Through integrated partnerships with other organizations, CMMB focuses on establishing primary healthcare programs with special emphasis on mother and child survival. This year, CMMB celebrates its 75th anniversary. Observances are planned for the Fall.

Editors: To schedule interviews with Dr. Eduardo Retes or John F. Galbraith, please contact Norma Vavolizza at 212-687-0607 or cmmb@nvcommunications.com.

For additional news about the history and work of the Catholic Medical Mission Board, visit http://www.cmmb.org.Photo of Dr. Eduardo Retes is available on request.

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Contact:

Norma Vavolizza

NV Communications, 212-687-0607

CATHOLIC MEDICAL MISSION BOARD NAMES HONDURAN DOCTOR DIRECTOR OF INTEGRATED PROGRAM TO PREVENT CHILHOOD DISEASE