"Healing the World"
Over 150,000 people died when a tsunami
swept the Indian Ocean December 26. About 5,000,000 are homeless.
Many organizations help with both
disaster relief, and with year-in, year-out assistance around the world.
Most aren't as likely to get mentioned on the news as, say, Red Cross or
Catholic Medical Mission Board, or CMMB
is a Catholic charity based in the USA that provides health care around
the world. Their motto is "Healing the World, One Person At A Time."
Survivors of the tsunami who get help
from relief organizations in their area may be healed with medicine and
supplies provided by CMMB.
The Catholic Medical Mission Board has
been at work for over 75 years. Back in the 1920s, a young
anesthesiologist at St.Vincent's Hospital in New York, Dr. Paluel Flagg,
visited Haiti. Leprosy was a serious problem there. Dr. Flagg began
recruiting doctors, nurses, and missionaries to bring medical help to
needy people around the world.
In 1928 the Catholic Medical Mission
Board (CMMB) was incorporated with Father Edward Garesche, SJ (Society
of Jesus), as director.
In the 1930s, CMMB had an office and
warehouse in Manhattan. Volunteers there, and in clubs called Blue Cross
Circles around the country prepared medical materials for use overseas.
Bishop Fulton Sheen joined CMMB's Board
of Directors in 1949. Bishop Sheen was national director of the
Propagation of the Faith and a prominent television personality at the
time. He encouraged pharmaceutical companies to donate medicines to
Catholic Medical Mission Board. The materials were packed and shipped
from Manhattan to affiliate organizations around the world.
Father Joseph J. Walter, SJ, became
CMMB director in 1966. During his 23 years as director, CMMB started
giving funds to appropriate healthcare programs in developing countries.
Dr. Flagg's concern with health care in
other countries had started when he saw victims of leprosy in Haiti. In
1989 Catholic Medical Mission Board earned the Damian-Dutton Award for
its work towards the eradication of leprosy.
CMMB started funding Lithuania's first
Early Intervention Training Program in neuro-developmental therapy in
1993. This program is teaching Lithuanian health professionals how to
diagnose and treat children with neurological disorders.
Zambia got help fighting TB when CMMB
started a program of cure and prevention there in 1999. The program is
now a national model, with an 85% cure rate.
People in southern Africa got help
fighting AIDS in 2000 when CMMB started a five-year program called
Choose to Care. Over 70 community-based programs supported by Catholic
Medical Mission Board help take care of orphans. They also care for the
dying, provide HIV/AIDS education and help with community development.
Since 2001 CMMB has been working at
building sustainable healthcare programs all over the world.
Now Catholic Medical Mission Board is
helping people recover from the India Ocean tsunami. As usual, the best
idea for us is to contribute money and let people on the ground decide
what is needed most. CMMB asks that donations be sent to:
Catholic Medical Mission Board
10 West 17th St.
New York, NY 10011-5765
Call 212 242 7757 or 800 678 5659
Or contribute online at
Brian H. Gill, Editor,
Sauk Centre K of C Bulletin