MedShare Ships 1st of 3 Containers to the Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo: Container Destination

On Monday, July 18,  a 40-foot container full of medical humanitarian aid for the Democratic Republic of Congo was shipped out of MedShare’s Southeast Distribution Center in Decatur, Georgia.  The 1,200+ pieces of medical supplies and equipment were selected by representatives of the Congolese Ministry of Health and will be going to a 260-bed medical facility in Kinshasa called Clinique Kinoise, which serves the poor.

Some of the items on the container include:

  • bandages
  • catheters
  • cervical collars
  • gauze
  • tracheotomy tubes
  • pulse oximeters
  • an electrosurgical unit
  • an oxygen concentrator
  • four electric beds.

This is the first of a series of three container shipments to through the Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Health.  The remaining two are scheduled to leave in August.

Thanks to all who contributed to make this project a reality!

MedShare Ships Medical Supplies & Equipment to Libya

Libya

On Monday, July 18, a 40-foot container carrying medical supplies and equipment for emergency relief in Libya was shipped out of MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center in Decatur, Georgia.  This is the second such project generously sponsored by the HOPE International Relief and Development Agency, a non-profit that has set up a special Libyan Relief Fund with the objective of providing emergency aid to Libyan peoples facing violence and medical and food supply shortages.

Boxes containing the 13,000+ donated supplies

The container shipped is carrying over 10,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment which were hand-selected by Dr. Heshaam Fallah of the California-based organization American Libyan Medical Relief, which facilitated the project.  Included among the 13,000-plus donated items are: ambu bags, bandage rolls, blood vacutainers, urinary catheters, surgical drapes, exam gloves, an OR ceiling light, an electrosurgical unit, a ventilator, and an oxygen concentrator.

Container shipment bound for Libya

The Tunisian Red Crescent is receiving the donated cargo in Tunisia and will handle delivery to the Zintan and Nalut General Hospitals in Western Libya. These hospitals are treating hundreds of victims of the violence and armed combat occurring in Libya now.

Please view these links for information about the humanitarian crisis in Libya:

Thanks to all who contributed to this project!

Container Arrival: Hospital San Miguel Arcangel in Panama

In April, MedShare’s Western Region shipped a container of medical supplies and equipment to the Hospital San Miguel Arcangel in Panama.

The hospital is one of the largest government run public health institutions in the country, with about 170,000 patients seen annually, a large percentage being indigent populations unable to pay for services. Among the 1,000 supplies on the container were:

  • ambu bags
  • abdominal pads
  • laryngeal mask airways
  • lab coats
  • needles
  • gauze dressings
  • an electrosurgical unit
  • layrngoscopes
  • nebulizers
  • exam tables

We are happy to report that the container arrived safely and was unloaded. Check out these photos they sent us:

Opening the container

Packed full of boxes!

Unloading boxes of supplies from the container

Thanks to the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and Corporation for sponsoring this humanitarian aid shipment!

Thank You Letter from Tonga (the container arrived!)

Remember the Western Region Council sponsored container of medical supplies and equipment that we sent to Tonga in April in collaboration with the LDS Church? We are happy to share the good news that it arrived safely, was unloaded in a secure compound, and distributed between Niu’ui Hospital in Ha’apai and Prince Ngu Hospital in Vava’u.  Both hospitals are remote in the outer islands, and these supplies will certainly go a long way in enabling each to provide better healthcare services.

We received a thank you letter from  Halahuni Langi, the Country Welfare Manager for the LDS Church in Tonga, and wanted to share it with you.

Dear Mr. Haupt,

Greeting from Tonga!

My name is Halahuni Langi and I am the Country Welfare Manager for the LDS Church in Tonga.

This is to acknowledge receipt of the generous donations of medical equipments and supplies donated by  MedShare for the two hospitals in the outer Islands namely: Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital in Vava’u and Niu’ui Hospital in Ha’apai.

The FCL container 40-footer No. MFJU 0859239 landed on Queen Salote Wharf, Tonga on 9th May 2011.  While on hold on  the wharf with Customs seal intact, Ministry of Health was able to clear the said container through Customs on duty free basis without any problem.  The said container was delivered from the Wharf on Friday June 3rd, 2011 to LDS premises at a distance of about one-tenth of a mile secured with a 24-hour security provided by LDS staff.

Hand-over Ceremony of the medical goods and supplies by the church representative to the  Ministry of Health took place on Tuesday June 7th, 2011.  Government Dignitaries including the Minister of Health, Director of Health together with several members of their staff as well as LDS church leaders attended this ceremony.  A ceremony of this type always call for prayers.

Dr. Sililo Tomiki, the Chief Dental Officer offered the Invocation – and at this opening prayer – he was praying for special blessings for the staff of MedShare and its directors for their generous assistance in donating the medical goods for the people of Vava’u and Ha’apai, respectively.

From San Leandro, CA...

...to Tonga!

During the course of this ceremony, the Honorable Minister of Health, Mr ‘Uliti Uta and the Director of Health, Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola jointly acknowledged their gratitude for the great donation of medical goods and supplies by MedShare.  The Hon Minister emphasized of the fact that all the supplies donated by MedShare will be delivered to the two hospitals – none to remain at the Vaiola hospital in Tongatapu.  Surely, this direction was carried out by the Ministry of Health together with the LDS Humanitarian Services in Tonga.   The Minister further warned his staff of the importance of proper handling and proper application of the medical supplies in order to improve the lives of the people of Vava’u and Ha’apai as to meet the expectations of MedShare.

At this ceremony, President Fe’ao Fehoko of the LDS church offered the benediction in which , he was pleading with the Lord for his blessings upon the staff and directors of MedShare and all the people who made it possible for the delivery of the medical goods for Ha’apai and Vava’u.

Following this ceremony, a week later on 17th June 2011, final handover ceremonies took place at the two hospitals.  Again, acknowledgement of the generous assistance by MedShare were expressed during the Course of the Ceremonies.  Dr Edgar ‘Akau’ola of Prince Ngu Hospital and Dr. Tevita Tu’ungafasi of Niu’ui Hospital expressed their gratitude for having been access to MedShare Website in placing their Orders.  Dr. ‘Akau’ola expressed his gratitude for allowing him by MedShare to order more than 500 items.  He was impressed with the donated goods – quality and quantity.

The Hon. Minister of Health at the Handover ceremony of the medical supplies at Niu’ui Hospital challenged the staff to ensure that the  health of Ha’apai people will be improved and their lives would be better and happier.

At the Handover Ceremony at the Prince Ngu Hospital, the Hon. Minister of Police, Dr. Viliami Latu in representing the Government of Tonga, expressed gratitude to MedShare and the donors for the successful handover of the medical supplies.  Finally, on behalf of the Humanitarian Services, I would like to express our heart-felt thanks to the directors and staff of MedShare for their generous assistance in donating the medical goods and supplies for the improvement of the health of the people of Ha’apai and Vava’u, respectively.

Congratulation to you at MedShare and your staff for your great donations.  Accordingly, all the recipients who are receiving treatments at the two hospitals can only say thank you- God  bless you and the staff of MedShare on your endeavors to improve the health of the people of Tonga.

On behalf of our people, we owe it to MedShare – and we always pray for your protection in all areas of your developments.

Thank you again – God bless MedShare.

Sincerely,

Halahuni Langi
Country Welfare Manager

Thanks to MedShare’s Western Region Council for your direct efforts that made this aid to the people of Tonga possible!

To view photos of the shipment ceremony, click here.

Thanks to Conor Flannery, MedShare Ships Supplies to Tanzania!

On Wednesday, June 8, a 40-foot container of medical humanitarian aid for Shirati KMT Designated Hospital in Rorya, Mara, Tanzania shipped out of MedShare’s Distribution Center in San Leandro, California.

Over 1,000 individual pieces of equipment and supplies were selected by their hospital director, Dr. Bwire Chirangi, and included on the container, including ambu bags, hospital beds, surgical drapes, sterilization packing an anesthesia machine, patient gowns, an ultrasound, and much more.

Many thanks to the Friends of Shirati organization and AISCS for their support. AISCS is a local group that helps African immigrants and has various projects with the Shirati Hospital including an improved water system.

Members of AISCS, MedShare Staff and Volunteers

Pediatric Ward

Inside the OR

This project was made possible thanks to Mr. Conor Flannery, who fundraised $20,000 for MedShare by kayaking 2,500 miles from Seattle, Washington to Achorage, Alaska last March! To learn more, click here.

Mrs. Christine Chacha from Shirati Hospital, Tanzania, and Conor Flannery

To read Conor’s account of the shipment, click here.

MedShare Ships Containers to World’s Soon-to-be Newest Nation

Earlier this year, officials in Southern Sudan announced the preliminary tally for the referendum on splitting Africa’s largest country in two. The results were an avalanche as nearly 99 percent voted to secede from the north. Thus, Southern Sudan will become the world’s newest nation in July. On May 19, 2011, MedShare supported the health of this nation by shipping two 40-foot ocean containers of medical humanitarian aid for Juba Teaching Hospital.

One of two Juba Teaching Hospital containers leaving MedShare

Sudan is a low-income country with a GDP per capita of US $700. Bolstered by higher oil production, good harvest and a continuing boom in construction and services, the economy has recently grown at a faster pace. However, this growth has been unevenly distributed and is geographically concentrated in central states around the capital city. There are huge urban-rural and regional disparities in health conditions as the Southern states are more deprived and underserved. There is also a high burden of infectious diseases in the country and epidemics of infectious diseases are common.

The nation of Sudan still faces challenges that jeopardize the chances of recovering the healthcare system. Among these are:

  • The excessive burden of communicable diseases, e.g. malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis, vaccine-preventable diseases, and other neglected tropical diseases in the South and the emerging problems of non-communicable disease and of HIV/AIDS. Further areas of concern are high maternal and child mortality as well as widespread malnutrition.
  • The country is prone to natural disasters such as floods and droughts. While these disrupt infrastructure, including that of the healthcare system, they also cause illness and bring suffering through displacement, loss of shelter, food and income, thus posing a greater demand on the already weak and disrupted health system.
  • Since the main focus has so far been on humanitarian action, recovery and development of the health system has been largely overlooked with an overemphasis placed on clinical care.

The containers are carrying a combined total of over 17,800 lbs of donated medical supplies for the hospital, including 221 hospital mattresses, an oxygen concentrator, infant warmer, pulse oximeter, ventilator, nebulizers, syringes, Personal Energy Transportation vehicles, surgical masks, splints, gauze, band-aids, and much more.

Many people were critically important in making this shipment possible, both within and outside of MedShare. The UPS Foundation aided with the shipment of the containers, Esther Sprague and the faculty and students at the University of California Davis were vital in initiating this project, and the Juba Teaching Hospital staff was a pleasure to work with while ordering supplies. Hewlett-Packard also contributed $5,000 for these container shipments.

Most of all, though, we’d like to recognize our Western Region volunteers for taking on this project as a fundraising initiative. Before our volunteers got involved, a UC Davis group had been trying for over a year to raise money for the container. As of October 2010, they were lacking the $8,000 needed to cover the extra costs associated with the shipping to Southern Sudan. So, our volunteers stepped in. We challenged them to raise the remaining amount, and as is so typical of MedShare volunteers, this group went above and beyond. They collected almost $10,000 – enough to ship a second container of supplies!

Roughly the size of Texas, Southern Sudan consists of 10 states. Both the U. S. Government and private organizations have committed to helping Southern Sudan build a strong state, and MedShare is proud to be among these supporters. Healthcare is an important issue in this developing nation, and the two shipments of medical supplies and equipment will go a long way toward improving the quality of care available.

This is an excerpt from June’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a story of a medical mission team in Ethiopia and an 86 year-old volunteer – click here.

MedShare Ships Container of Medical Aid to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

On June 1, MedShare’s Western Regional Distribution Center loaded and shipped a 40-foot ocean container with medical humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe, Southern Africa.  According to a 2009 WHO report, “the situation in Zimbabwe is characterized by the ‘triple threat’ of poverty and food insecurity, weakened human and material capacity of government and high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.  The health system is very challenged in terms of human resources for health, health financing, drugs and equipment and the overall service delay.”

Over one thousand individual boxes of medical supplies and equipment donations were loaded onto the container that shipped from MedShare today, including ambu bags, surgical blades, tracheotomy tubes, splints, IV sets, a stretcher, 2 exam tables, blood pressure monitors, and much more.  The Harare-based local NGO Spiritage Health will be receiving the container and distributing the supplies amongst several hospitals and clinics that serve the poor, including the Southmed Chitungwiza Hospital, Citimed Southmed Hospital, Citimed Suburban Hospital, and St. Michaels Hospital.

Dr. M.C. Wazara, Spiritage Health Director, comments:

“There has been a drought in many of the provinces of our agriculturally based country and it is anticipated that food aid will be required to sustain people to the next cropping season.  Whenever this happens, diseases related to poor sanitation and general infection are on the rise.

Another fact is that due to the underfunding of our health sector, there is always an ongoing humanitarian crisis created by inadequate supplies, unserviceable equipment and shortage of qualified staff.  It is in these three areas that our organization works and would apply the donated resources.  You gifts will be directed towards relieving urgent situations. Our national health infrastructure has been so stretched that it will be a long time before the need for aid becomes unnecessary.”

Container leaving the Western Region for Zimbabwe

MedShare sends special thanks to our partners at International Relief and Development and Global Assistance for their support in shipping this container.  Also special thanks to the UPS Foundation for their generous financial sponsorship of this project.