Tia Foundation

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The Tia Foundation is a group dedicated to trying to find health solutions in rural Mexico. Laura Libman, Founder and President of Tia Foundation talks about the organization’s mission.

>> Good evening, and thank you
for joining us.Organization,
known as W.H.O., raised its
alert level to phase 6 in
regards to the H1N1 swine flu
virus.
W.H.O. officials say Mexico
appears to be the epicenter of
the virus outbreak.
Arizona-based T.I.A. foundation
is an organization helping to
train healthcare workers to help
people living in the rural
Mexico.
Joining me to talk about the
organization is Laura Libman,
founder and president of the
T.I.A. foundation.
Laura, welcome to "Horizonte."
>> Thank you.
>> Before we talk about what the
foundation does and the
situation with swine flu in
Mexico, give us a little bit
about your background.
It's unusual in terms of what
you're doing right now.
>> I started out as a project
manager consultant doing global
project management on knowledge
engineering, which is sort of a
high tech area.
So it is a bit of a career
switch.
I went back to school and
studied at thunderbird, the
school of global management.
>> Instead of going into the
business world, again, where you
had plenty of opportunities, you
ended up with this program in
Mexico.
How did that happen?
>> I grew up, part of my family,
in Mexico.
I have more family in Mexico
than in the states.
>> Your mother is Mexican?
>> Yes.
I loved Mexico and my time and
family there and especially the
time on the ranch where I got to
meet a lot of people and loved
Mexico very much.
>> How did that translate into
establishing this health
program?
>> Well, I knew I wanted to do
something with Mexico after I
finished at Thunderbird and
lived in various communities in
the mountains, to try to get a
feel for what are the biggest
issues and in most cases, the
sort of precipitating event that
brought them into the spiral of
poverty was health related and
an injury or a mother dying in
childbirth.
Something health-related
precipitated it and it was them
telling me what they needed.
>> And ended up working in rural
villages, in central Mexico.
>> Yes.
>> Tell us about the program
you've established.
>> Well, we have a fabulous
partner in Guadalajara.
The university there.
And we partner with their
medical schools and community
medicine program.
And they have brigades of
medical students that we're able
to take to these communities and
provide one-on-one training for
the community health workers and
we have trained so far 98
community health workers and
each serve around 300 or 400
people.
30,000 rural villagers.
>> And we have a group picture
of some of them who have been in
the program.
Now, the whole philosophy, the
biblical, teach them how to fish
rather than giving them fish,
how has it worked out?
>> Really well.
Not only have they learned a lot
in the realm of health and
preventive education in health,
but a lot of communities -- in
fact, all of them, have taken
that lesson and the confidence
they've gained in what we would
call a self-development model,
the teach them to fish model,
and transferred it to other
areas that they wanted to
improve quality of life in their
communities.
Water, access to education or
infrastructure.
>> Give us an example of some of
the success stories that you've
had with them.
>> Well, one that comes to mind
is an amazing woman in El
Salvador -- she was really
excited to start our program.
Wasn't able to finish her
education when she was young.
Her family was poor and she had
to work.
She married young and was so
thrilled that her village had
elected her -- all of our
villages elect their own health
workers.
And within three weeks after
completing a really rigorous
curriculum and practicum exam,
she's given her medical kit and
was woken in the middle of the
night by her best friend's
husband.
His wife had gone into early
labor and was having problems
and she rushed over and
successfully delivered a breech
baby, turned it around.
>> And you mentioned a medical
kit.
We've got one on the screen.
>> About $500 worth of medical
supplies in them.
Including I.V., manual
respirators and what she needed
was a medicine to slow bleeding.
After she delivered the baby,
the woman started to hemorrhage.
So she sent her husband to find
a doctor.
The nearest doctor was a dentist
two and a half hours away.
So it took five hours for them
to return.
She saved her friend's life and
the life of the baby and as
turned out, there was a
stillborn, and if she hadn't
been there, she would have died.
>> And saved lives the week
following.
>> we have anti-scorpion venom
in the kit.
And an elderly woman and a baby
she saved.
And told taught her children
C.P.R. and Heimlich maneuver.
And her son was -- saved one of
his classmates.
>> Let's talk about the swine
flu virus and the impact it has
had on the program.
In Mexico and the program
itself.
>> The H1N1 virus has caused
delays for our projects, that's
certainly true.
We were slated to do another
project in April.
It got postponed to May and then
June and now the end of August.
Partly due to closures and the
need for the brigade to help
combat the virus.
But the happy news is that as of
last week, we don't have a
single case in any of our
villages and we credit that to
the preventive education that's
given through our program and
that they do on their own.
Hygiene practices, hand-washing,
and how to recognize disease and
care for it.
>> The impact that the programs
like this have on immigration
from Mexico to the United
States?
>> Oh, it's amazing.
If you go to our website, we
have a study.
>> And that is?
>> Tiafoundation.org.
And thunderbird did a field
study.
Of those not receiving "teach to
fish" assistance and a group
that was.
And the group that did had four
times --
>> A modest investment cuts down
on the rate of immigration to
the United States?
>> Yes.
>> The other point, the
unintended, unexpected positive
consequences of having these
women in this program.
>> Uh-huh.
First of all, we don't specify
gender.
They're chosen by the villages.
We use a gender non-specific
word in Spanish.
>> But because of this program,
they become leaders?
>> Yes, and instead of
lower-class citizens, they're
now respected members of their
community who are organizing
efforts in their community to
improve other aspects.
>> It's a wonderful story.
Thank you for joining us.
>> It's a pleasure.
>> Thank you.

Laura Libman:Founder and President, Tia Foundation;

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