We believe that access to health care is a basic human right, and our founder/CEO Deb Yoder has a passion for this that stems from the heartbreak of experience. Nito was in the same hospital room where our Ms Yoder had once lay as a patient. Although almost 20 years separated her experience from Nito’s, as Ms. Yoder looked around the hospital room it seemed very little had changed in the resources available to help providers care for their patients.
As an outer island school teacher from 1996-1997, Ms. Yoder not only had the honor of living on two different outer islands, she also had the opportunity to attend the birth of a baby in the outer island setting, and to have her medical care initiated by a health assistant on Arno. She eventually found herself hospitalized in Majuro for almost a week when she was told she was dying. Signing out of the hospital in Majuro against medical advice in an attempt to obtain definitive care in the United States was a very risky option that she decided to take, and a luxury not afforded the people in the local communities of the Marshall Islands.
Our goal is to collaborate with local service providers in helping meet the health care needs of Marshallese within their local communities, both in the Marshall Islands and throughout the world, at standards available to other populations in similar settings. Strong relationships and collaborations with our partners will be key to meeting these goals. We are grateful for our sister organization, Nito’s Butterfly Foundation, for letting us walk this journey beside them with their work in the Marshall Islands.
Pictured: Our founder/CEO’s classroom on Jeh, Ailinglaplap, in 1996.