Did you know that in 2011 you helped save 96 lives?
Take a second to think about that. Ignore all the other open tabs and digital noise on your screen, and consider that fact: you helped keep nearly one hundred children from death. These are kids who, at some point, would have been rushed to the emergency room of some dilapidated hospital by terrified parents who would have had to sit and watch as their child slipped away, knowing that the problem was totally correctable, but now it's too late—can you even imagine it?
Thankfully, you don't have to. And neither do the families of those 96 children.
But don't forget training! Along with all the lives saved, 2011 also held an incredible amount of training for Iraqis! Local doctors, nurses and technicians took part in five in-country surgical missions during which they got their hands dirty and gained invaluable experience. And our hospitals are now performing operations that they were incapable of just a year ago. We've identified several factors that led to Iraq's current healthcare conundrum, but the most valuable solution is training. By conservative estimates, each Remedy Mission provides hospital staff with a combined total of 5,000 hours of hands-on learning, which means in 2011 you helped provide 25,000 hours of training!
In a country where most charities are giving fish away, you supported our transition to giving fishing lessons instead—thank you! It's this kind of long-term development that's going to eradicate the backlog! Transitions like this are difficult, though. Where equipment and experience are lacking, the mortality risk is always greater. We lost some incredible children in 2011, and we will never forget them.
And there's so much more to tell! Our director spoke at TEDxBagdad (click the link and skip to minute 58), we launched several new video projects, and, after various trips to new cities in Iraq, we've been asked by eight different hospitals to return with teams in 2012.
You've also changed Iraq's story this past year. In the midst of thousands of headlines about troop withdrawal, the erosion of Iraq's government, and the continued violence across the country, you've provided a different story. One of hope. One of cooperation for the common good. These are the stories that prove things in Iraq can get better, and we'll continue to tell them throughout 2012.
And the bottom line is that we're thankful; thankful for you, for our partners, and for everyone who made 2011 such a success.
I can't wait to see what we're able to do together in 2012!