Imagine going to the hospital with a serious illness and finding out that the basic machines and medicines needed to treat you simply weren’t there. It’s hard to imagine, but in parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa, that scenario happens all the time.
It’s also why Dan Dewey and Kevin Bergman, two friends and fellow doctors, founded World Altering Medicine – an organization dedicated to providing medical care to needy patients, particularly children and families, in the developing world. Founded in 2006, WAM has already made incredible strides in changing the medical landscape in the communities where they work – and they are just getting started.
Julie Nusbaum, who is WAM’s Marketing Director (and Kevin’s sister) took a few minutes to speak with Repair the World about the dire medical conditions in Malawi and other parts of the developing world, what inspired her to get involved with WAM, and how kids and teens can make a significant impact on their work.
What was the inspiration behind World Altering Medicine?
The organization was founded by two ER doctors who did their residencies together, Dr. Dan Dewey and my brother Dr. Kevin Bergman. Throughout medical school Kevin did volunteer work in Africa and Dan had served with the Peace Corps. They could not believe what they saw in hospitals in Africa, and particularly Malawi.
In Malawi the child mortality rate is very high, and a lot of that has to do with the lack of oxygen concentrators in emergency rooms. A large percentage of the illnesses in Africa have respiratory components and if kids can’t breathe, they can’t get treated. Without oxygen machines, doctors literally had to choose which patients to treat based on who they thought had the greatest chance of survival. That’s why one of the first projects WAM did was take a small amount of seed money to buy 22 oxygen machines for hospitals – that’s our Breath of Life program.
Find out more at the video below:
What other services and programs does WAM provide?