AmeriCares collects donations of medical supplies and equipment from American companies, and ships them to countries in need.In China, it has concentrated on responding to floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, such as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. To assist in recovery efforts AmeriCares delivered, built and equipped two state-of-the-art field hospitals, serving thousands of patients. In addition AmeriCares supplied ambulances for both hospitals. The first of the field hospitals served a community of over 250,000 earthquake survivors and included inpatient, outpatient and emergency treatment, an operating room, laboratory services and a maternity ward. In the early aftermath of the disaster, the hospital averaged between 180-200 patients daily; in the first 30 days alone 30 babies were born. The second hospital opened in July 2008 and provided outpatient services to a community of 20,000, serving between 40 – 50 patients each day. Some of the more common illnesses treated were respiratory conditions, digestion and high blood pressure.
AmeriCares also supports the long-term health care programs of the China Primary Healthcare Foundation, which has a nationwide distribution and programme network. AmeriCares usually sends two regular shipments of aid a year, consistng primarily of medicines and medical supplies; but in the event of a disaster it also supports the efforts of the Primary Heathcare Foundation. For example, during the SARS epidemic and at the request of the Chinese partner ogranisation, AmeriCares sent a container of cleaning supplies (soaps and disinfectants), gloves and masks.
AmeriCares was founded in 1982, after Pope John Paul II asked its founder, Bob Macauley, to help deliver medical supplies to the Pope’s native Poland. Macauley and two friends pooled their social and political resources to solicit donations from major pharmaceutical companies. After successfully completing the Poland mission, Macauley decided to expand this model to other countries around the world. Today, AmeriCares provides aid the 137 countries around the world ranging from the United States, to Cote D’Ivoire to China.