Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 02, 2019
Santa Barbara-Based Direct Relief
Provides Medical Aid to the Needy
The largest charitable medical aid organization in the world is based in our own back yard: Santa Barbara. It's Direct Relief, and has been providing much-needed medical services, free of charge, to people in need around the world for more than 70 years. On Monday, April 1, Dean Axelrod of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, spoke to our members and guests about Direct Relief's mission and goals.
"Maternal health is the bedrock of any strong community and family," said Dean, "and that is a core mission of Direct Relief." He noted that it is also one of the key areas of focus for Rotary International. "Every year," said Dean, "303,000 women die from pregnancy-related illnesses, most of them in third-world nations." He added that a great many of these deaths are preventable with simple medical care, which is often unavailable. "A basic human need is that of healthy families," said Dean.
To that end, Direct Relief serves 102 countries, all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. "We partner with local organizations to provide free medical resources for people in poverty, after disasters, or as the result of civil conflict," said Dean. He noted that Direct Relief provides significant support to midwives who are frequently the "first responders" in many areas of the world.
Last year, Direct Relief provided $1.1 billion in donated aid. For more information, visit