HOUSTON and RIOHACHA, Colombia, April 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Simón Bolívar Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of vulnerable individuals affected by disaster, conflict, and poverty, with special attention to children and mothers in and from Venezuela.

Adam Gibson (Texas Children's Hospital), Ana María Galvis (Baylor Colombia Foundation),  Micheal Mizwa (Texas Children's Hospital), Flor Saa (Simón Bolívar Foundation), Mariela Poleo (Simón Bolívar Foundation), and Holly Nini (CITGO)

"Our partnership with Texas Children's Hospital, the fiscal sponsor for Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Colombia, aligns with the mission of the Simón Bolívar Foundation to address the complex humanitarian crisis in Venezuela." Foundation President Mariela Poleo continued, "We achieve this through initiatives that improve access to medicine, nutrition and healthcare for vulnerable populations in and from Venezuela."

With the help of the Simón Bolívar Foundation, the charitable program implemented by Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Colombia has impacted an estimated 7,766 migrants, mainly pregnant women and children, in La Guajira in the northern border of Colombia since 2022.

According to Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Colombia Executive Director Ana Maria Galvis, "This work will continue in 2024 with the extension and expansion of the Children and Mother's Care project in La Guajira. The project will strengthen health and nutrition services; strengthen psychosocial support; increase the capacity of health professionals and health workers; and meet unmet basic needs." 

Over recent years, the displacement of Venezuelan citizens has increased. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 7.7 million Venezuelans are outside their country of origin, marking them the second-largest displacement in the world.

This extension and expansion of the initial grant agreement will benefit more than 9,700 people, including approximately 1,600 children and will enable an estimated 1,200 people with access to psychosocial support.

Michael Mizwa, Director of Texas Children's Global and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine Global Health noted, "This grant agreement signing aligns with the celebration of the 10 th year of our partnership with Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Colombia and ensures the continuation of quality health care for these communities in La Guajira that are living in distress." Mizwa added, "We can ensure the children, women and communities served receive health care and nutritional services, capacity building for health workers and their basic needs are met."

About Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children's Hospital, through Texas Children's Global, partners with Baylor College of Medicine Global Health to share extensive knowledge and expert technical assistance, staff presence and support with implementing partner foundations across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Together, the Texas Children's Global Health Network has a strong reputation developing local clinical, technical and management capacity through mentorship and workforce training at all levels, from peer supporters to physicians, nurses and pharmacists, to administrative staff and executive leaders. Training and education efforts cover all facets of program implementation to enhance local leadership and program sustainability. The Network operates 11 outpatient clinical centers of excellence and 9 satellite centers in Argentina, Botswana, Colombia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Romania, Tanzania and Uganda.

About Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Colombia
Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Colombia (Baylor Foundation Colombia or Fundación Baylor Colombia) was established in 2014 to reduce child and maternal morbidity rates in the remote state of La Guajira, which struggles with various critical health problems, including high rates of infant and maternal mortality. The Foundation works in partnership with the public health system in La Guajira, and in the communities of Riohacha and Manaure. Activities are aimed at providing integrated solutions, driven by the local community, and focused on 5 key objectives: access, capacity, surveillance, prevention, and partnership.

Baylor Foundation Colombia also supports the health needs of unregistered Venezuelan migrants, refugees and host communities and increases capacity within the public health system to adequately respond to this humanitarian crisis through a holistic maternal and child health program.

About The Simón Bolívar Foundation
Simón Bolívar Foundation Inc. is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private foundation of CITGO Petroleum Corporation. The Foundation supports charitable initiatives, leverages existing resources and provides charitable grants to qualified organizations to meet the immediate and long-term health needs of the most vulnerable individuals, particularly in and from Venezuela with a special focus on the health and well-being of children and their mothers.

Cesar Alvarez (Ecopetrol Permian), Mariela Poleo (Simón Bolívar Foundation), Micheal Mizwa (Texas Children's Hospital), Ana María Galvis (Baylor Colombia Foundation), and Andrés Diez, General Consul of Colombia in Houston

SBF Logo (PRNewsfoto/CITGO Corporation)

SOURCE The Simón Bolívar Foundation