LDS-sponsored U.N. event discusses helping women

Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 11:26 p.m. MST

"There are more than 1 million infants every year that die of asphyxia," she said. Many doctors know how to save these babies but do not have the equipment.

To help address the problem, LDS Charities donates medical equipment to hospitals, and couples such as the Hughes train medical professionals. Last year, LDS Charities trained 28,000 medical professions in 48 countries.

During the event, Dennis Hughes, using a training doll, demonstrated some of the equipment and training given to these professionals.

"We know our work is very valuable," Nancy Hughes said. "The distribution of medical equipment through LDS Charities and the skills that are learned help babies live."

To those attending the U.N. conference, she added, "Our goals are your goals."

Ntwaagae said Botswana is one of the countries that has, over the years, benefited tremendously from the support of LDS Charities — especially when it comes to wheelchair distribution. Later this year, Botswana will be among the first African countries to implement the newly released World Health Organization wheelchair-training curricula. The multiyear effort between the Botswana Ministry of Health and LDS Charities trains physical therapists and technicians to properly fit wheelchair recipients and then provides a variety of mobility aids for distribution.

There are 45 million people in the world who need wheelchairs but don't have access to a wheelchair, said Eubank, adding that men and boys get 70 percent of this equipment. "When we distribute wheelchairs we look for partnering organizations that have a commitment to address this gender bias," she said.

Ntwaagae expressed appreciation for years of support from LDS Charities.

"This particular commitment has been very helpful in uplifting the lives of our vulnerable population, especially the women and children," he said.

He said, as a country, Botswana is committed to the concept of social inclusion and integration, including people with disabilities. However, he added, "we continue to face challenges in terms of a shortage of equipment."

He said he wanted to take the opportunity while participating in the U.N. side event "in conveying the deep appreciation of the government and the people of Botswana for the support LDS Charities has given to our country through the provision of wheelchairs over the years."

Eubank closed by asking those in attendance to work with her to "inoculate people at an early age against violence and the acceptance of violence because it is like a disease."

"We can commit that we will speak and learn ourselves and then train eight other people by our personal example," she said. "We can find ways for inclusion and rehabilitation to bring people back into the mainstream of society. It is only in those skills that we have a clear road to be able to go forward in this way. It is important for every person in this room."

Email: sarah@desnews.com

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