Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All
Contribution to the Annual Report 2012 of the MMI Network

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary

(c) Medicus Mundi Poland
(c) Medicus Mundi Poland

Medicus Mundi Poland was created on the basis of “Redemptoris Missio” Foundation in Poznań, Poland. The Foundation started at the Clinic of Tropical and Parasitic Diseases, University of Medical Sciences in Poznań, Poland in the year 1992, and in 2012 has celebrated its 20-years anniversary. The major aims of the Foundation were: (1) professional medical support to Polish missions abroad and missionaries; (2) promotion of an interest in international health among the students and a population at large. The Foundation’s Council consists of university professors and medical students. The icons of the Foundation are late Marian Żelazek, SVD, creator of an ecumenical Leprosy Center in Puri (India) and Dr h.c. Wanda Błeńska, creator and medical doctor working over 42 years in Buluba (Uganda) Leprosy Hospital. The Foundation is well collaborating with Catholic Church institutions in Poland (including Caritas), with Medicus Mundi International as well as with CUAMM, action medeor and European Community project offices. The activities are financed mainly by individual donations, by Poznań Medical University, by non-governmental and governmental institutions support, by participation in international projects and by some promotional actions. The annual budget is usually less than 100.000 Euro.

Medicus Mundi Poland started as an affiliated member of Medicus Mundi International in 1994 and became the full MMI member in 1997 – fifteen years ago. The MMI membership greatly enriched the Foundation’s activities and made its closer to international health requirements and policy.

Shortly after the Foundation’s creation the training in basic tropical medicine and hygiene has become a regular part of missionaries formation at the Mission Formation Centre in Warsaw. Thirteen annual training courses for students, medical doctors and nurses (so far over 400) have been organized in Poznań. Forty three issues of a quarterly journal Medicus Mundi Polonia, 1000 copies each, has been published up to now.

For over 25 years the Clinic of Tropical and Parasitic Diseases Medicine takes care about the missionaries health both by hospitalization – if needed – and by preventive screening and ambulatory treatments. In 2008 a modern health center has been built in Kiabakari (Tanzania) and passed to be run by local Church authorities. Several medical visits have been organized to Puri (India), Madang (Papua New Guinea), Bangassu (Central African Republic), Garoua Boulai (Cameroon). Up to now all together 42 medical doctors and 10 nurses were working in various mission’s medical centers abroad.

A lot of activities are performed by volunteers, mainly students; every year there are about 40 of these working in the Foundation’s Voluntary Center and organizing promotional activities outside. All together 67 medical students had their 3-months summer medical practices in the missions, mainly in Africa and in India. The contact with the poorest segments of word population and humanitarian activities had an impressive impact on their future professional life. Several of them have chosen their carriers in international health institutions.

Over 20 years the Foundation send to Catholic missions in 4 continents more than 2200 parcel with medicaments, dressings, educational materials and other requested items. A part of humanitarian help was passed by sending money (e.g. to hunger areas in East Africa) or by sending equipment such as dentistry units, incubators, microscopes or ultrasonographs.

The interest of population at large in humanitarian actions was promoted by distributing a quarterly magazine, meetings with school children, distance adoption (67 children and 2 students), provision of some educational materials, sending warm dresses for Afghanistan children, collection used tins for earning money. The Foundation is organizing the annual concerts for 800 people, issuing leaflets, books, expositions and films. The Foundation has over 3000 faithful individual supporters in addition to some supporting institutions.

As long as the marginalized people exist a medical, educational and humanitarian help is our obligation. This should be best realized through non-governmental missions, working in the peripheral poor areas. Such a message has to be popularized in better off societies in order to reduce the existing inequalities.

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