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Local non-profit organization works to improve access to health care for underserved communities

SALT LAKE CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the health care inequities that persist, even as the world continues to return to normal.

Some communities continue to struggle to access even basic health services, especially in the most remote rural areas, where access to equipment such as crutches can require hours of driving to another state.

“The past two years have been unprecedented,” Sam Philips, chief operating officer of the nonprofit Project Embrace, said in an interview with FOX 13’s Amy Nay on Good Day Utah. “Apart from tragedies…we see it interfering with processes around the world, whether it’s the global supply chain or being able to get the right healthcare service at your local hospital or clinic. “

Project Embrace restores and repairs previously used medical equipment, such as canes, crutches and walkers, which are then distributed to low- and middle-income communities that would otherwise not have access to them. In January, the group collected over 400 pieces of equipment which were then distributed to the Navajo community living near the Four Corners.

“We have worked extensively with the Navajo tribe around the Four Corners region, as well as surrounding indigenous groups in the region,” said Abhi Harikumar, executive director of Project Embrace, in the same interview. “As long as we’re doing this, we’re trying to gather as detailed a picture as possible of the health needs of this community and how they may have changed during the pandemic.”

Founded in 2017, Project Embrace has provided medical supplies to people in need, from Salt Lake City to Zimbabwe. In addition to the indigenous community, they also work with patients within the homeless, undocumented and refugee communities to provide the equipment and resources they need to receive medical care.

If you want to learn more about their efforts, you can visit their website at projectembrace.org.

Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.