Direct Relief International Programs


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Learn more about Direct Relief's International work towards strengthening healthcare systems worldwide. Since 1948, Direct Relief has provided medicine to people in need. Over $1.5billion in humanitarian assistance has been provided since 2000 in 72 countries.

To learn more about our International Programs, please visit

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  • Since 1948, Direct Relief has supported local healthcare on a global scale.California’s largest international nonprofit
  • In Fiscal Year 2010, Direct Relief delivered more than $250 million in medical material aid and targeted cash grants to trusted healthcare providers throughout the world…
  • …and in the U.S.Over 46 million people in the U.S. lack health insurance, and that number grows daily.Just as Direct Relief does around the world, Direct Relief USA provides ongoing inventory support to the nation’s safety net providers—free clinics and community health centers—by delivering no-cost pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. This program leverages Direct Relief’s partnerships with companies that donate medicine and medical products to assist safety net providers who care for low-income, uninsured patients.
  • But who is this about? Who benefits from this work?Direct Relief’s medical assistance programs equip health professionals working in resource-poor communities to better meet the challenges of diagnosing, treating, and caring for people without regard to politics, religion, gender, race, or ability to pay.
  • This work is made possible through the generosity of private donors and unflagging corporate support from industry leaders.From 141 companies, Direct Relief received medical products valued at $323 million in the last fiscal year.
  • Through these long-established relationships—and other strategic alliances with health organizations like Marie Stopes International and African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF)—Direct Relief is able to increase access to healthcare for people in need, strengthening the most compromised health systems.
  • While Direct Relief’s work has long been aimed at expanding the quality, availability, and access to health services for all people, a principal focus of this effort is on maternal and child health and, more specifically, interventions that directly address threats to women during pregnancy and childbirth. A woman dies each minute from complications during pregnancy and childbirth—500,000 each year worldwide. Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death and disability among women in developing countries.
  • Having a skilled, well-equipped attendant present during delivery is considered the single most critical intervention for ensuring safe delivery.Direct Relief equips midwives who save lives and significantly increase the chance for a clean, safe delivery.
  • In about 15 percent of deliveries worldwide, an unpredictable complication occurs. That’s when emergency obstetric care (EMOC), such as a cesarean section, becomes necessary. But for women in developing countries, access to EMOC is very limited, and without access, a woman who experiences complications during delivery will likely suffer debilitating injuries like obstetric fistula or even death. The disability or loss of a mother reduces the survival rates of her other children and affects not just her family but the community at large. Direct Relief equips health facilities and providers with the tools they need so they can offer quality EMOC services.
  • Obstetric fistula is a devastating childbirth injury that develops during prolonged labor when adequate medical care is not available. The result is a hole in the birth canal, known as an obstetric fistula, which leaves the woman incontinent and almost always results in stillbirth of the child. Worldwide, more than 2 million women are living with fistula, 80 percent of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 50,000 new cases are reported each year, though the number is likely much higher. Many women who can't access treatment are never counted.Direct Relief supports several fistula repair and prevention programs in Africa, from Ethiopia to Liberia.
  • According to a 2008 UNAIDS report, an estimated 33.2 million people are living withHIV/AIDS.Africa has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as the continent is home to an estimated 22.5 million (68 percent) of those infected. Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), which significantly delay the progression of HIV to AIDS and allow people infected with HIV to live relatively normal, healthy lives, are available on average to only 44 percent of those who require them. Because of the limited number of ARVs available, the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa claims millions of the lives, orphaning millions more children.Direct Relief has partnered with OGRA Foundation in Kenya and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in Zimbabwe to distribute ARVs to more than 6,000 HIV-infected people annually…
  • …but deciding who to treat requires knowing who is HIV-positiveDirect Relief and corporate partner Abbott are working to remove the barriers to HIV testing of pregnant women. In 2007, Direct Relief began distributing free, Abbott-donated HIV rapid test kits.Since 2002, Abbott has donated more than 14 million rapid HIV tests to prevention programs throughout the developing world.69 developing countries are eligible for the program, including all countries in Africa, where the burden of HIV is heaviest.The test is quick—results take 15 minutes—and requires no electricity or water, making it ideal for areas that lack reliable access to these resources.
  • Through the Diflucan® Partnership Program, Pfizer's antifungal medicine Diflucan® (fluconazole) is made available free of charge for the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis and esophageal candidiasis, two opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS, to governments and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries.Cryptococcal meningitis and other serious fungal infections are common complications in patients infected with HIV. Diflucan® is one of the WHO's recommended treatments for cryptococcal meningitis and esophageal candidiasis.Cryptococcal meningitis is a life-threatening opportunistic infection of the brain caused by the yeast Cryptococcus neoformans. The infection invades the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and causes damage to the central nervous system.
  • For the uninsured population, safety net clinics are often the only option for health care. Direct Relief USA supports 1,100 safety net clinics in all 50 states.Direct Relief USA is the largest nonprofit program of its kind in the nation.More than 1,100 community clinics and health centers across the country have received medications, medical supplies, and other resources valued at more than $200 million from Direct Relief since 2004.
  • Emergency Response: Direct Relief’s response efforts are fast, involve local partners, and are coordinated with other international organizations and governmental authorities to ensure the most efficient use of resources. Emergency Preparedness: Being ready for emergencies is as important as knowing how to respond to them. We ensure that when disaster strikes, providers will have immediate access to the medical resources they need to save lives.Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Program spans the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and extends to Central America.In the U.S.:30 packs delivered in 2010 in five statesAlabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and TexasTreat 100 patients for 72 hours (3 days) for chronic and trauma conditions.Pre-positioned to eliminate delivery delays.The packs are also designed to be mobile and easily transported should a medical facility have to evacuate and set up temporary operations elsewhere.Contents of the pack that remain after hurricane season are absorbed into clinic inventories to assure that the resources are used effectively to treat uninsured patients.12 Hurricane Preparedness Modules, larger consignments of medical aid and supplies to partners in the Caribbean: Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.Each module is designed to treat 1,000 people for one month, giving partners the ability to immediately respond as Direct Relief prepares airlifts of needed supplies to resupply healthcare providers.
  • Direct Relief’s response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti has been the largest and most comprehensive in out 62-year history. To date:$6.3million in cash donations received$52 million in donated medicines, supplies & equipment from leading health care companies received400 tons of emergency aid worth $50 million delivered to 53 healthcare providers in HaitiDirect Relief has been working in Haiti since the 1960s and is committed to the recovery. 1.35 million people are displaced and living in compromised shelter, making them vulnerable to the most basic health concerns. Direct Relief continues to supply materials to healthcare providers who are caring for these populations in need.Direct Relief has committed $2 million to help rebuild Haiti’s long-term rehabilitation capacity. Partnering with local groups, we are leveraging our long-standing relationships with international experts to establish prosthetic and orthotic centers staffed by Haitians, including training new prosthetic and orthotic technicians.Direct Relief has committed $500,000 to create a Community Grant Fund that gives local Haitian NGOs and community groups access to cash grants of up to $25,000. These grants ensure that local groups have the funding they need to help their communities recover from the earthquake.
  • Apply commercial expertise for humanitarian purposes.State-of-the-art SAP information technology system to ensure precise inventory control and management.Applies deep analytical capabilities to identify the needs of the medically underserved. Consistently ranks among the nation’s top nonprofitsMember of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD), VAWD Accredited (a nonprofit pharmacy held to the same standards as any for-profit pharmacy, like CVS)100% privately funded – by individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  • Please visit our website to learn more about our work and how you can help.
  • Direct Relief International Programs