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News Archive - 2010

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The Order of Malta has a new Cardinal Patronus

Rome, 20 November 2010

In a moving ceremony at the Basilica of St.Peter’s, Pope Benedict XVI has created as cardinal Archbishop Paolo Sardi, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.  His Eminence was appointed Patron of the Order in 2009, following the death of Cardinal Pio Laghi, who had served the Order is this role for many years. His Eminence is the Vice Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, and since 1996 has been Apostolic Nuncio with special responsibilities and now also Cardinal Patronus of the Order.

Since his appointment by the Pope to the role of Patron, the new cardinal has been working closely with senior members of the Order, lending his presence and his wisdom to ongoing activities in both the religious and hospitaller spheres.   Born 1 September 1934 in Ricaldone, province of Alessandria, diocese of Aqui, Cardinal Sardi has, since the pontificate of John Paul II, coordinated the Vatican office which edits the Pope’s texts and addresses. Ordained a priest on 29 June 1958, after a licentiate in theology he graduated in canon law and jurisprudence at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He taught moral theology in Turin until 1976, when he was called to the Vatican to work in the Secretariat of State. In 1992 he was appointed Vice Councillor and on 10 December 1996, Apostolic Nuncio with special responsibilities and titular Archbishop of Sutrium. On 6 January 1997, Pope John Paul II ordained him bishop in the Vatican Basilica. On 23 October 2004 he was nominated Vice Camerlengo (chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinal Paolo Sardi has the task of promoting the spiritual interests of the Order and its members and its relations with the Holy See.

The members of the Order around the world share the joy of this day and the ascent to high office of their new Cardinal Patronus.

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Countdown to historic birth at the Holy Family Hospital, Bethlehem

As staff await delivery of 50,000th baby, Mobile Outreach Team supports desert communities

Bethlehem, 8 October 2010

Excitement is building for an historic birth at the Holy Family Hospital, Bethlehem, located only 500 yards from the traditional birthplace of Jesus. After 20 years in operation under the Order of Malta, the Holy Family Hospital will welcome into the world its 50,000th baby – as soon as this month!

Up until 4 October, the total stands at 49,803 babies delivered since 1990, the year the Order of Malta reopened the facility as a maternity hospital. It refuses no-one on the basis of race, religion nor ability to pay.

“Because of the shortage of well-trained nurses and doctors in Palestine, our neonatal team is overloaded with work,” Dr. Jacques Keutgen, General Manager of the Hospital, reports. “All the difficult cases, not just from the Bethlehem district, but also from Hebron and sometimes Ramallah, are being sent to the Holy Family Hospital. During June and July 2010 we had an occupancy rate of 97%. That means a strong commitment, not only medically, but financially too.”

Mobile Outreach Team treat desert communities
For the past five years, hospital staff members also have been bringing hope, on weekly visits to desperately poor families living in the desert near Bethlehem. The Holy Family Hospital mobile outreach van regularly visits three locations in the Judean desert. Word has spread through the remote communities, and scores of women and children venture down from the hills to be examined by the team.

“Families exist in dreadful poverty and isolation in this area,” says Colleen Marotta, executive director of the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation in Washington. “They live in canvas tents or metal shacks with no running water, no electricity, no sanitation, in extended family groups of 20-40 … outcasts of a cast-out population.”

The Holy Family Hospital mobile outreach medical team perform prenatal, paediatric and gynaecological examinations, and laboratory tests. The team also educate mothers about hygiene and childcare, and check on living conditions. During an average stop, the team will examine 30 expectant mothers, all in desperate need of prenatal care.

With great joy and satisfaction the Order of Malta family awaits the 50,000th baby to be born at Bethlehem.

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Austrian Malteser group welcomed by British Grand Priory

Anthony Delarue reports

London, 26 August 2010

‘A group of Malades and young volunteers from Malteser Austria visited London this week, and were welcomed by members of the Grand Priory and Companions of the Order. They spent an action-packed five days visiting London, including a boat-trip and a picnic on the lawn along the river at Greenwich, where Fra' Richard Cheffins explained the history of the town and the Royal Naval College, a conducted tour of Catholic sites around his parish of the City of London by Fr.Peter Newby and tea in the sacristy at St Mary Moorfields, a visit to the Tower of London, arriving by boat and greeted by the Governor, Major General Keith Cima, with a guided tour by the Yeoman Gaoler – and the inevitable shopping trip. The group also visited the Order’s Hospital of St.John and St.Elizabeth and the Conventual Church, where Fr.Newby celebrated Mass in Latin and German. The torrential rain in which we finally saw our guests off did not seem to have dampened their spirits in the least, at the end of a really enjoyable week for all involved.’

See also the Conventual Church’s blog at: http://saintjohnofjerusalem.blogspot.com/ 

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Pakistan: the Order’s emergency relief service aids flood victims

Swat/Islamabad, 17 August 2010

In flood-devastated northern Pakistan, medical teams from the Order’s Malteser International are working in three Health Units alongside national health staff to provide emergency medical relief to the devastated population in Swat District, caring for over 1000 patients a day. With roads and bridges destroyed and thousands of homes swept away in the worst floods in living memory, the people of this region are in dire need. The teams are distributing drinking water and water purification tablets, nutrition and hygiene kits, and sending mobile clinics into different villages every day.

Active in Pakistan since the earthquake in 2005, and since last August providing basic health care for internally displaced persons returning to their home villages in Swat District, Malteser International was able to give immediate emergency medical relief to the affected population.

Disaster prevention: Malteser International will aid the health system in Swat District to be better prepared for catastrophes, will rebuild and equip Health Units washed away by the floods and strengthen the disaster preparedness of those still standing. The teams include their international experts and local staff.

Malteser International is the worldwide relief service of the Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. Currently it has over 200 programmes running in 30 countries.

The Order of Malta has launched an appeal for the Pakistan flood victims. Donations may be made by post to the Foreign Aid Service of the British Association of the Order of Malta (FAS). Cheques should be made payable to BASMOM FAS, and sent to: FAS, 40 Eland Road, London SW11 5JY  or with a credit/debit card at www.justgiving.com/FAS


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The Order’s 27th International Summer Camp triumphs in British summer sunshine (and showers)

The 27th International Order
summer camp for handicapped young

‘Il campeggio cambia la vita.’ Enrico, Italian guest from near Genoa, on his second visit to the Order’s camp. ‘The Camp transforms everyone. I love it.’ Enrico was one of the 150 guests and 300 helpers and friends who came from 20 countries to spend a week at the Order’s 27th International Summer Camp for Handicapped Young at Bluestone, Pembrokeshire, in the heart of Wales.

Great Britain hosted the Camp for the first time, organising a full programme of activities, cultural events, sight-seeing, an internet cafe, a disco, and giving guests the chance to greet old friends and meet new ones in a relaxed environment where nationalities and languages mixed happily together.  A highlight was the Mass celebrated in St. David’s Cathedral, where the Grand Master, together with other senior members of the Order and the congregation of guests and volunteers, was welcomed by the Dean, the Very Reverend Jonathan Lean. Another was an excursion the whole Camp made to Pembroke Castle, in 13 buses and 8 ambulances. The sun shone, the Welsh Guards band played in full regalia, delighting everyone, there was a falcon display, face painting, supper al fresco in the Castle Keep, and the fiercely fought Christopher Cup croquet competition which was won by Spain, with the Grand Master presenting the trophy.

The Camp’s sponsors included a special grant from the European Union Youth Programme, the third time the Order has been accorded this honour.

The band

Grand Master presents Spain with Christopher's Cup

The hugely popular disco

Internet Cafe

Interviewing for the
must-read daily newspaper

Group GB!

In 2011, the 28th International Summer Camp of the Order of Malta will be held in Italy in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Udine) from July 23 to 30.

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Great Britain to host the Order of Malta’s 2010 International Holiday Camp

2nd July 2010

For the first time, the Order of Malta’s International Holiday Camp - the 27th - is set to take place in Britain.

Later this month, more than 150 disabled guests and 300 helpers will come together at the Bluestone holiday village in Pembrokeshire, on the South Wales coast.

The annual Order of Malta camp caters for people aged 18 to 35 with a range of backgrounds and disabilities. It offers them the chance to take part in activities that would not normally be accessible to them – including, this year, scuba diving and flying lessons with the British Disabled Flying Association.

The camp’s hosts, the British Association of the Order of Malta, look forward to offering guests, who will come from all over the world, the chance to share a holiday and to experience Catholic spirituality and British hospitality. The theme for the 2010 camp is taken from a Beatles song: “All you need is love”. The Association’s President, Charles Weld, notes:  “The Order’s international summer camp for young people with disabilities gives us the opportunity to welcome both newcomers and old friends to a very special gathering. The theme for this year – “All you need is love” – inspires every one of us.”

The Order of Malta is the oldest Catholic religious charitable order in the world. From its foundation almost ten centuries ago, the Order’s mission has been to live according to Christian principles and to help the poor and the sick with total impartiality. Historically, this included pilgrims to the Holy Land.

Today the Order of Malta has 13,000 members worldwide and works in the field of medical and social care in more than 120 countries, including running hospitals and providing emergency relief.

General Lord Guthrie, Vice-President of the British Association of the Order affirms: "The camp will greatly benefit all those who are attending from 20 countries. Quite apart from giving great pleasure, it may well also alter lives for the better."

The International Holiday Camp will take place from July 10-17th.

For more details contact Gilly Orr: gillyorr@hotmail.com

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Vatican City, 25 June 2010

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in audience Fra’ Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, accompanied by members of the Sovereign Council.

The long private conversation focused on the Order of Malta’s initiatives to foster inter-religious dialogue and its commitment in the Holy Land, as well as its medical and humanitarian work in some of the most devastated areas of the earth, including Haiti and Africa, often mentioned in the Pope’s appeals.

After the meeting with the Pope, the delegation was received by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.

Pope Benedict XVI asked the Grand Master to extend his best wishes to all the Order of Malta’s members for the feast of St. John the Baptist.

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Rome, 8 June 2009

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday appointed Archbishop Paolo Sardi pro-patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Italian, Vice Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, since 1996 Archbishop Sardi has been Apostolic Nuncio with special responsibilities. He succeeds Cardinal Pio Laghi, who died in January.

Born 1 September 1934 in Ricaldone, province of Alessandria, Archbishop Sardi has, since the pontificate of John Paul II, coordinated the Vatican office which edits the Pope’s texts and addresses.

Ordained a priest on 29 June 1958, after a licentiate in theology he graduated in canon law and jurisprudence at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He taught moral theology in Turin until 1976, when he was called to the Vatican to work in the Secretariat of State. In 1992 he was appointed Vice Councillor and on 10 December 1996, Apostolic Nuncio with special responsibilities and titular Archbishop of Sutrium. On 6 January 1997, Pope John Paul II ordained him bishop in the Vatican Basilica. On 23 October 2004 he was nominated Vice Camerlengo (chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church.

Archibishop Paolo Sardi has the task of promoting the spiritual interests of the Order and its members, and its relations with the Holy See.

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In wind and rain, a sanctuary

52nd annual Order of Malta international Lourdes pilgrimage: 6,000 pilgrims from 32 countries

Lourdes, 1 May 2010

The British group pray in the sanctuary

To the thousands of pilgrims who came this week to Lourdes, the most visited of sanctuaries, the heavy rains and cold wind made no difference. They came to find peace and hope in the valley where, over 150 years ago, a young Bernadette received apparitions of the Virgin Mary, and where today so many find solace.  

Every May the Order of Malta makes its international pilgrimage to Lourdes, its members and volunteers accompanying the sick whom they care for throughout the week. This year the pilgrims numbered over 6,000 and came from 32 countries – in Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The Order’s mission was to pray for all who need help, and to give support and love to the sick they brought with them to this extraordinary place.

The British group, led by Hospitaller Tim Orchard, welcomed old friends and new among the infirm pilgrims. ‘It is a privilege to serve them,’ said a new volunteer, following the Order’s historic aspiration to care for the sick.

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The demands of religious life in a secular society

Grand Master presides over historic meeting of professed members of the Order

Oxford, 10 April 2010

Over forty Professed members of the Order of Malta (those who have taken monastic vows) and novices met at Merton College Oxford from 8-12 April. The momentous occasion marked the first international coming together for many years of Professed knights of the Order. Vigorous discussions on the demands of a religious life in a secular society underpinned the meeting’s concerns, which looked at historic as well as modern perspectives in this, the world’s oldest Catholic chivalric lay Order.

The Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, presided over the event, organised by the Grand Priory of England which also arranged for an exceptional concert of sacred music associated with the Order to be performed by the ‘Schola Baptista,’ conducted by Eoghain Murphy.

Also present were the Grand Commander, Fra’ Gherardo Hercolani Fava Simonetti, the Prelate of the Order, Archbishop Angelo Acerbi, Fra’ Carlo Ippolito di Sant’Ippolito, and Order Chaplains in Britain, Fr. Antony Conlon and Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe.

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Grand Master talks to The Times about the Order's historical context, its works and its relevance to today's world

London, 10 April 2010

The Grand Master of the Order has given a rare interview to The Times, published 10 April. For the full text, see under News Area, Publications.

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Haiti: two months on

Good news among the ruins

Leogane, Haiti/Cologne, 10 March 2010

Jim Malte, born in the Order’s health centre in Dargonne.

[Photo: Westfälische Nachrichten/Jürgen Peperhowe]

The Order’s worldwide emergency service, Malteser International, continues to work with victims of the January earthquake which swept away so many lives and dreams. The team on the ground – currently 12 international doctors, nurses, logisticians and administrators and numerous local volunteers - again and again experiences glimmers of hope. Recently, a young mother gave birth to a healthy son in the Order’s centre in Darbonne and spontaneously named him Jim Malte in gratitude to the medical team.

The Order of Malta Master Plan for Haiti takes shape
The Associations and organisations of the Order of Malta working in Haiti recently met in Miami to coordinate their disaster response and develop a Master Plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country. “Basic health care through health centres and mobile medical teams, vaccination campaigns, psychosocial care, access to drinking water, sanitation and - of course - poverty reduction will be focus points of our long-term commitment”, Ingo Radtke Malteser International Secretary General reports. “We don’t work for the people in Haiti - but with them. We will pool all the Order’s relief efforts and integrate our relief measures into Haitian structures to foster long-term reconstruction.”

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Haiti: Water, sanitation and hygiene become the big issues

Order emergency relief, Malteser International, in Leogane

Port-au-Prince/Cologne, 29 January 2010

A medication table,
created from old boards,
in the health camp, Leogane

From today the team from the Order of Malta’s emergency relief organisation, Malteser International, has taken over the health post camp in Leogane from their Argentinian partners. The team - medical doctors, nurses, a midwife and a paramedic - is providing basic medical assistance both in the camp and the surrounding areas. In addition, the team will support urgently needed vaccination campaigns. The World Health Organisation reports occurrences of tetanus and suspicions of measles though this is not yet confirmed.

“Conditions in the camp are still rudimentary and patients have to lie on the floor,” Beate Maass, Malteser International’s humanitarian coordinator, explains. “Transport is a problem. Latrines are needed too. There were complications this morning during a birth and we had to transport the patient to the nearest hospital in a rented staff car. We are very happy that the baby was born safely in the hospital by Caesarean section.” Malteser International’s partner organisation, ArcheNova (‘Initiatives for People in Need’), will build makeshift latrines for the patients in the camp.

Malteser International is installing two water treatment plants in Leogane. Each will give 8,000 people sufficient drinking water daily. Hygiene and health promotion campaigns are planned to start within the next few days.

The British Association of the Order of Malta has raised over £100,000 so far in its appeal for the earthquake victims. Donations go directly to those who have lost everything. You can donate online through our website (www.justgiving.com/fas), or by sending a cheque made payable to BASMOM Foreign Aid Service. If you are a UK taxpayer and complete a GiftAid form (see British Association Appeal, 14 January on this website), we can also reclaim the tax on your donation

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Memorial Mass for Anthony Gerard Edward Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough, 1923 – 2009

London, 28 January 2010

5th Earl of Gainsborough

Brompton Oratory was all but filled for a Memorial Mass to honour and to remember with great affection the life of Anthony Gerard Edward Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough. The Requiem was celebrated by Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe and the music, from Anerio's Missa Pro Defunctis, was sung by the London Oratory Choir.

Thirty members of the family were present, the Dowager Lady Gainsborough escorted by her son Viscount Camden, the new Earl of Gainsborough. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O' Connor and the Grand Prior of England were robed in the sanctuary.

Seventy members of the Order and a multitude of friends attended, including a contingent of estate workers and their families, all of whom the late Lord Gainsborough knew personally.

In his homily, Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe spoke of Tony Gainsborough's sixty years of service to the Order of Malta and the Church, championing the Lourdes pilgrimage, devoting much time to the development of the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth as its chairman, and latterly to the Orders of St John Homes Care Trust. His kindly presence was a comfort to malades over many years of devotion to them.

Lord Gainsborough was a past president of the British Association, chairman of Rutland County Council and a well-loved Commodore of the Bembridge Sailing Club. A generous host and friend, Tony Gainsborough was married for 62 years, was a member of the Order for 60, raised 7 children and lived to know his great grandchild.

Julian Allason

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Malteser International teams in Haiti fight infection risk

Poor hygienic conditions create high infection rates in wounds

Port-au-Prince/Cologne, 22 January 2010

Hospital Francois de Sales,

“Because of the poor hygienic conditions here, even simple wounds after first treatment can become dangerous for the patient. We are facing high infection rates for wounds already treated, so we are reinforcing our medical aid in this field,” reports Dr.Klaus Runggaldier, Malteser International´s head of rescue services. “More emergency health kits with antibiotics, medicines and dressing material arrived in Port-au-Prince yesterday. The timing was vital.”

Hospital Francois de Sales,

Further international medical staff from France, Belgium and Germany have arrived in Haiti today, including Dr. Alfred Kinzelbach, a highly experienced public health expert and regional coordinator for Malteser International in the Great Lakes, who flew in from Uganda.

In response to yesterday’s aftershock, the Malteser International team in Haiti will install an earthquake early warning system.

The British Association of the Order of Malta has already raised $120,000 in its appeal for the victims of this overwhelming tragedy. Donations go directly to those who have lost everything. You can donate online through our website (www.justgiving.com/fas), or by sending a cheque made payable to BASMOM Foreign Aid Service. If you are a UK taxpayer and complete a GiftAid form (see British Association Appeal, 14 January on this website), we can also reclaim the tax on your donation.

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First patients arrive by helicopter at the Order's Hopital Sacre Coeur, Milot

Haiti, 19 January 2010


Many patients are suffering trauma, many need amputations.

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Malteser International team reaches Port-au-Prince

A first report from the 'quake epicentre

Cologne, 16 January 2010

The Malteser International medical aid team with two French, four Haitian and four German staff members finally reached Port-au-Prince last night, flying into the Dominican Republic and driving to Haiti. “The border crossings are completely blocked,” Dr. Georg Nothelle, Malteser International emergency relief coordinator and team head reports. “Numerous teams of helpers want to get in.  Haitian people want to get out. We had to wait more than two hours at the border.” He continues: “The hospitals in the border region in the Dominican Republic meanwhile are filled to capacity with the injured from Haiti.” Malteser International is also planning to support these hospitals.

The local Malteser team in Haiti has provided accommodation for the team in a district of Port-au-Prince that has not been damaged. But many other helpers have had to return to the airport area in the evening to sleep.

Aid actions for the coming week
The Malteser International team will now split up into smaller groups to assess needs and provide firstaid in the different districts of the city. They will also try to reach severely damaged towns and villages to the west and south of Port-au-Prince and provide assistance there. “Help is needed urgently in so many places but the search and rescue teams cannot be everywhere at the same time,” Nothelle explains. “There are dead bodies everywhere. They look just as if they were asleep, with people are just passing by. It’s really terrible.”

On Sunday, 17 January, a second Malteser International team will arrive in the crisis region via Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) to reinforce the medical team on the ground, with whom they are in continuous contact.

On Monday, 18 January, Cesar Russo, Malteser International chief logistician in Myanmar after cyclone Nargis hit the country in 2008, will arrive in Haiti with emergency health kits containing urgently needed medicines; Malteser teams in the USA are preparing to send medicines purchased on the regional market.

Malteser International is the worldwide relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. The organisation provides aid in about 200 projects in more than 20 countries without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence are the foundation of its work.  For more information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.org

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British Association Haiti appeal launched today

14 January 2010

Click here for appeal information

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Haiti: Malteser International responds to devastating earthquake

Medical team leave for emergency relief in the disaster region

Port au Prince/Cologne, 13 January 2010

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in the late evening yesterday, with reports giving many hundreds dead, thousands injured and leaving countless people homeless. Grey dust covers the area where as yet an unknown number of buildings and homes have been destroyed. There is significant damage to the infrastructure, roads and the communication system.

 “Due to the soil erosion, our capital lacks a solid base. With mudslides following the earthquake, the slums built on the hills have completely slipped off,” reports Eduard Aimé from Haiti . “Even the more solid buildings like the presidential palace, the ministries and the cathedral have been severely damaged.”

Top priority: basic medical care, clean drinking water
Malteser International is preparing the deployment of an expert medical team from Germany and France to support local Malteser teams on the ground. “Our colleagues in Haiti are fully aware that basic medical care and the provision of clean drinking water are matters of top priority now,” Ingo Radtke, Secretary General of Malteser International, explains. The emergency relief of Malteser International is coordinated within the worldwide international network of the Order of Malta.

For 15 years the Order of Malta, through its Associations in the United States, has been supporting a hospital (Hôpital Sacré Coeur, Milot) in the north of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. The 73-bed hospital is the only one in the region. In 2008, Hôpital Sacré Coeur treated 56,000 outpatients, with over 4,100 hospital admissions and 1,262 newborn deliveries. There is no other pharmacy or laboratory in the area, so last year the hospital filled 136,000 prescriptions and completed over 77,000 lab tests. It provided almost 2,000 patient visits through the Mobile Clinic project. For more information:

www.malteser-international.org; www.maltausa.org/works_major_projects.php

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