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#485: Albert Schweitzer of Deschapelles, Haiti Receives a $2.5 Million... (fwd)


Tuesday September 14, 7:01 am Eastern Time Company Press Release
SOURCE: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Hospital Albert Schweitzer of Deschapelles, Haiti Receives a $2.5
Million Gift From Bill and MelindaGates

SARASOTA, Fla., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hospital Albert Schweitzer
of Deschapelles, Haiti today announced a $2.5 million gift from Bill and
Melinda Gates to improve health and survival of women of childbearing
age in the 610-square-mile district of Haiti's Artibonite Valley. This
grant is the largest single grant in the organization's 44-year history.

``This generous gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation signals
a new level of hope and health for the women of Haiti's Artibonite
Valley,'' said William Dunn, executive vice president of the Grant
Foundation of the Hospital Albert Schweitzer.``This grant will support
the Women's Health Program, further enabling Hospital Albert Schweitzer
to fulfill its mission of providing women's health services at the
hospital and expanding to reach women of the Artibonite Valley with
preventive care,health and family planning education, and better
prenatal care.''

``Bill and Melinda are committed to providing equal access to modern
medicine for women and children worldwide,'' said Bill Gates, Sr.,
co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. ``Supporting the
efforts of Hospital Albert Schweitzer's is just one step -- but an
important step -- in improving the lives of women in the global
community.''The hospital raises $3.5 million in annual private
contributions -- primarily through the Sarasota-based Grant Foundation
-- to sustain its medical services and outreach programs. The 108-bed
acute-care hospital with two operating rooms, a laboratory,
x-ray services, and a pharmacy sees up to 300 outpatients a day. The
600-member staff is joined by more than 20 visiting specialists in
fields such as ophthalmology, orthopedics and neurology who serve for
one or more weeks each year.Additional support is provided by volunteers
from service organizations such as Rotary and Lions Club International
from France, India and the Netherlands who share their veterinary,
engineering, medical, and hydraulics skills with Hospital Albert
Schweitzer's community health and development outreach programs.The
Hospital Albert Schweitzer was built in 1956, fulfilling a dream of its
founders, Dr. Larimer Mellon and his wife Gwen. Dr.Mellon, who had left
his family home in Pittsburgh as a young man to become a rancher in
Arizona, became inspired by a 1948 Life magazine article about Albert
Schweitzer and his hospital in Gabone, West Africa. Dr. Mellon began
correspondence with Dr. Schweitzer, through which they shared their
concern for humanity, along with the love of music and respect for
nature. With Dr. Schweitzer's encouragement, Mellon attended Tulane
Medical School which offered special training in tropical medicine.
During his senior year, he visited Haiti to complete a malaria research
project, and discovered a setting for what would become
his life's efforts.

Dr. Mellon died August 1989 but Gwen Mellon has remained in
Deschapelles, providing continuing inspiration and leadership
for the hospital staff.The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation places a
major focus on helping to improve people's lives through health and
learning.Led by William H. Gates, Sr. and Patty Stonesifer, the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation is located in Seattle, Wash.Significant
Foundation projects include: the Bill and Melinda Gates Children's
Vaccine Program, a $100 million commitment to speed the delivery of
lifesaving vaccines to children in developing countries; the Maternal
Mortality Reduction Program, a $50 million commitment to prevent
pregnancy-related deaths of women in developing countries; and the Gates
Library Initiative, a major effort to help close the ``digital divide''
by bringing Internet access to libraries in the poorest communities in
Canada and the United States.

CONTACT: William E. Dunn of the Gates Foundation, 941-752-1525.