Western region volunteers see MedShare’s impact first-hand on trip to Tanzania

Our volunteers consistently go above and beyond in their service to MedShare. In the summer of 2013, MedShare’s Western Region volunteers came together to raise over $22,000 to ship a container of much-needed medical supplies to a hospital in Tanzania. But that wasn’t enough. Some volunteers decided to travel to the recipient hospital in Tanzania to volunteer their time and talents on the ground.

In mid-February 2014, Camille Harris, Fran Jursco, and Nancy Menne traveled to Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania. MedShare’s 40-foot container was still en route at the time, but they hand-carried additional medical supplies from MedShare’s Western Region Distribution Center as well as specially requested items for the hospital staff.tanzaniamap2During their stay in Shirati, these intrepid volunteers provided meals for patients at the hospital, toured the facility, and got to observe Dr. Chirangi in the operating room. “Fran and I were recognizing all the stuff we sort (at MedShare): bovies, tips, vicryl sutures, drapes, etc. [in the operating room]. Camille decided surgery was not her thing so she folded gauze for future surgeries,” said Nancy. “Even though it appears we will miss the arrival of the container, this has been a very fulfilling trip to see just how desperately our work at Medshare is needed.” The volunteers reported that most of the supply cabinets in the hospital are bare and Dr. Chirangi was already using the supplies they brought with them.

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Above: Fran Jursco serving food to the patients at Shirati Hospital. Photo credit: Nancy Menne

 The group has left Shirati and is now travelling through other parts of Africa.  Nancy writes: We have said goodbye to Tanzania and it was sad to leave. Dr. Chirangi had all his department heads waiting to see us off when we came to say goodbye. Each one of them were so grateful for the work all of the volunteers at MedShare do, for the volunteers putting in the effort and money to ship the container, and for the expense we undertook to travel to Shirati. It was an unbelievable experience, and made me truly understand how much is needed in developing countries where they have no clean water, walk several miles to school each day, no nutritious food at the hospitals or schools, and basically just fight to survive.” 

What an eye-opening experience and incredible testament to the importance and impact of our work at MedShare. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing these insights from your trip. And thank you to all of MedShare’s volunteers and supporters who go above and beyond every day to make our work possible. We are grateful for your dedication to our mission to bridge the gap between the surplus of medical supplies in the United States and the need in hospitals like Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania

MedShare container has arrived in Shirati!

Editor’s Note: The 40-foot container with medical supplies and equipment sponsored by MedShare’s Western Region volunteers was shipped from the U.S. west coast in November 2013. It arrived at Shirati KMT Hospital on Monday, March 10! See photos of the arrival below.
TanzaniaPicsBlog

Biomed Volunteer Gives MedShare His Summer and Gets a Jump Start to His Senior Year

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Robert at work on a vital signs monitor.

Robert Charkowicz, a 20 year old college student from Castro Valley, CA, volunteered for the summer at MedShare’s Western Region Distribution and Volunteer Center. Robert, who is studying Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis, spent 2-3 days a week this summer working in the Biomedical Lab.  Adept with the computer Robert assisted with the Biomedical Publications Library establishing a naming/organizational structure for operation and maintenance publications. He researched equipment publications on line to find repair information and resources increasing our library and maintenance capability. These publications will be sent out with the equipment to the recipients in developing countries so that they can operate and repair the equipment when needed.

Robert also assisted with daily work, conducting inventory of equipment and testing and repairing equipment.  The equipment included items such as: Vital Signs Monitors, ECG, NIBP and SPO2 equipment, CPAP machines and respirators/nebulizers, surgical tables, ultrasound equipment and an anesthesia machine.

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Volunteer Robert Charkowicz and MedShare’s Biomedical Technician Rene Steinkellner in the lab.

He’s now returning back to UC Davis to start his Senior year.  We will miss his work and his presence here at MedShare, and wish him all the best in his future.  The work that he completed here at MedShare will continue to enhance the success of our mission providing medical equipment to those in need.

President Barack Obama learns of MedShare’s mission

President Barack Obama learns of MedShare’s mission from Elijah Levy. Elijah is a young man that has volunteered at MedShare’s Western Region 12 times since January. Elijah had an opportunity to present President Obama with a MedShare brochure and to discuss the work we do around the world. Thanks Elijah!

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President Barack Obama meets Elijah Levy and his family