MOROCCO — The Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF), an esteemed U.S.-based international non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with chronic diseases, has forged an impactful partnership with the Darna Center, the Global Center for Gender, Race, and Health Equity.

This partnership is poised to make significant strides in advancing healthcare equity among African women, particularly in the regions of North Western and Eastern Africa where women’s health issues take center stage.

The partnership between GHLF and Darna Center takes root in the pressing concerns outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In North Western and Eastern Africa, women face unique and multifaceted challenges, ranging from sexual and gender-based violence to inadequate maternal and perinatal services, and unequal access to healthcare.

Darna Center’s mission is resolutely focused on improving the overall quality of life for African women, especially those living in poverty.

At its core, it strives to dismantle the gender and racial disparities that severely impede women’s access to equitable healthcare services.

Through collaborative efforts with global communities, Darna Center serves as a catalyst for change, deploying transformative research, policy advocacy, education, and community engagement.

Dr. Maha Marouan, Ph.D., Founder of Darna Center, underscores the urgency of addressing systemic inequities impacting the lives of African women, particularly those affected by poverty and migrant women facing the added burdens of racism and xenophobia.

“In Moroccan dialect, ‘Darna’ translates to ‘our home,'” Dr. Marouan explains, “This reflects a shared space of security and care. We aspire for Darna Center to embody this concept, offering vital assistance to vulnerable women and addressing their unique challenges, including healthcare disparities.

“Our mission extends beyond healthcare solutions; we are constructing a haven of hope, dignity, and opportunity for the women in the region who need it most.”

A timely response to disaster

This partnership announcement arrives at a critical juncture, following the devastating earthquake in Morocco that has exacerbated healthcare access challenges for women in the region.

Shilpa Venkatachalam, PhD, MPH, Director of Patient-Centered Research Operations and Ethical Oversight at GHLF and President of GHLF North Africa, expresses deep concern: “This earthquake is a tragedy of unprecedented magnitude that should concern us all.

“The healthcare infrastructure and the people of Morocco will bear an immense burden, one that should not be shouldered alone.

“As a global organization, it is our moral duty to step forward and help alleviate some of these burdens, supporting relief efforts to the best of our ability. We stand in unity with efforts to uplift a community devastated by this terrible disaster.

With this dynamic partnership, GHLF broadens its reach to connect with patients worldwide. GHLF’s current sphere of influence extends across North and South America, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, and Nepal.

Ghlf, Darna Center, and Moroccan doctors respond to earthquake crisis

In a remarkable display of solidarity, the Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) and the Darna Center have partnered with the National Association of Doctors, a local Moroccan physician organization, to mobilize vital funds for immediate medical aid in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

These crucial funds will be directed to the National Association of Doctors, ensuring that essential medical support and supplies reach the affected Moroccan communities.

Dr. Venkatachalam, a leading figure at GHLF, underscores the gravity of the situation, stating, “The aftermath of this earthquake will leave indelible scars, and your assistance is invaluable, regardless of when it arrives.”

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Humanitarian needs escalate in the wake of earthquake

Two weeks have elapsed since the catastrophic 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, approximately 70 kilometers from Marrakesh.

Tragically, the disaster’s toll, as reported by the Moroccan government, now stands at over 3,000 lives lost, with thousands more left injured.

While humanitarian aid is gradually reaching isolated regions, logistical challenges persist due to obstructed roads and treacherous terrain.

Many survivors find themselves in dire straits, desperately in need of the most fundamental necessities: clean water, sustenance, and shelter.

The trauma runs deep, as memories of buildings collapsing and the relentless aftershocks continue to haunt the affected population, leading to severe psychological distress.

Compounding the crisis, the efforts to access remote areas within the High Atlas Mountains with heavy machinery remain fraught with challenges.

Rescuers on the ground have sounded a grim warning, stating that the window for finding survivors is rapidly closing.

Recapping the Morocco earthquake

The earthquake struck shortly after 11 pm local time, catching many residents off-guard as they slept. The devastation was swift, with buildings crumbling and several villages near the epicenter, including Tafeghaghte, located 37 miles from Marrakesh, virtually obliterated.

The Moroccan Red Crescent has been diligently deploying teams on the ground, actively engaged in search and rescue operations.

They are also providing vital emergency medical care and essential psychosocial support to those affected.

Caroline Holt, the Global Director of Operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has emphasized the critical need for safe, clean water.

She highlights that providing this basic necessity is paramount to addressing the immediate humanitarian crisis caused by the earthquake.

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