San Jose State University Students Operate Mobile Health Clinic in Honduras

Dental issues, parasites, hypertension, bacterial infections and colds: these innocuous-when-treated medical issues can be lethal in a community lacking in resources and medical service.

In 2010, two groups of San Jose State University students committed to travel to Honduras to treat community members with illnesses like these with dignity and respect.

Volunteers serving in Honduras

A lofty goal, sure; but by recognizing the power of many and utilizing resources like MedShare’s MedTeam Store, these students served over 300 patients over the course of two trips in 2011.

Lily Yu, President of the San Jose State University Chapter of Global Medical Brigades, shared with us her account of the trip:

On behalf of the San Jose State University Global Medical Brigades team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the MedShare Team for all of your help and support once again.

San Jose State University students serving in Honduras

In the summer of 2010, a team of 20 students came together to achieve a common goal: provide access to health care to a part of the world where it was limited. With MedShare’s help, we were able to successfully operate mobile clinics to help treat some of the most preventable health issues in San Antonio de Oriente, Honduras.

Our first medical brigade was in January 2011, where we successfully mobilized a free clinic to Honduras, treating over 300 patients with severe wounds from working on sugarcane fields, intestinal parasites, hypertension, bacterial infections, dental issues, and coughs and colds that have turned lethal due to the community’s location and lack of resources. After this first brigade, we knew that our work could not end there. In order to keep healthcare accessible to this community, my team and I decided we needed to continue our efforts.

Children in Honduras

In February 2011, we assembled another team of 25 student volunteers to mobilize a clinic back to Honduras for a brigade on August 14-20, 2011. I reached out to MedShare, and was delighted to hear that we had your support once again. Because MedShare believed in our work, we were inspired to serve San Antonio de Oriente again, where many new patients lined up to receive the care they deserved. We see the positive impact we made in this community in January and in August, and know that our efforts have helped improve their quality of life.

MedShare has empowered our organization to help change and impact the world, one healthy patient at a time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope to continue our efforts with your support.

If you would like to learn more about MedShare’s Medical Mission Team Store, click here.

This story is an excerpt from our January e-news. To read more – including a story of fate’s role in a Haiti container delivery and an incredibly dedicated high school volunteer – click here.

MedShare Included in Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Strengthen Health Systems in Bangladesh

At MedShare, we care deeply about not only meeting our recipients’ need for supplies and equipment in the short-term, but also – and more importantly – about strengthening and sustaining healthcare systems worldwide.

To this end, we’re pleased to announce our commitment to strengthen healthcare systems in a network of 12 hospitals in Bangladesh in collaboration with The International Center for Diarrheal Disease and Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh and Americares. Announced at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative, the commitment will lead to the distribution of nearly $8 million worth of donated medicines and supplies and will establish best practice guidelines for patient care and treatment. Over three-years, this project will provide direct benefit to more than 5 million people, the vast majority of whom subsist on less than $2 per day.

Although Bangladesh’s economy has grown at 5% or more the past 15 years, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The 12 hospitals included in thie commitment each have 200+ beds and are located throughout Bangladesh in a mix of rural and urban settings. MedShare’s contribution to the commitment will include 7 ocean containers of medical supplies and equipment.

In celebration of the occasion, MedShare was honored to participate in a special dinner in New York during the Clinton Global Initiative hosted by icddr,b, who is the coordinating NGO for the project. icddr,b translates knowledge from research into policy using strategic health programs. This allows basic research to rapidly influence policy applications and action if the evidence supports meaningful public health benefit. Research priorities at icddr,b are cross cutting, such as to child health, infectious diseases & vaccine sciences, reproductive health, nutrition, population, HIV/AIDS & safe water.

Representing MedShare at the event were Meridith Rentz, CEO & President, A.B. Short, Senior Advisor to the CEO, Sandy Tytel, Chair of MedShare’s New York Regional Council, David Pass, Chief Advancement Officer, and Angie Fife Engelberger and Ralph Engelberger. Angie is a member of MedShare’s Southeast Regional Council and her company, Project Development Services, Inc. (PDSI), sponsored MedShare’s first container of medical supplies and equipment for the project in celebration of their 10th Anniversary. PDSI is a privately-held hotel development and renovation company that specializes in hotel project management.

Projects like this and our relationships with The Atlantic Philanthropies and CURE International demonstrate how MedShare is working within the World Health Organization’sframework for action to improve healthcare systems. WHO identified six building blocks necessary to improve health systems, one of which is access to medical products and technologies. By sending MedShare supplies and equipment to projects where other partners are in place to provide human capital, clinical expertise, physical infrastructure, and pharmaceutical product, we are contributing to a more sustainable system that has the potential to make a long-term, measurable impact that we can then report back to you, our stakeholders, without whom MedShare’s mission would not be possible.

This story is an excerpt from our October e-newsletter. For more – including a first-hand account of a Trustee’s trip to NYC, a letter from our CEO Meridith Rentz, and how to get your family and friends involved – click here.

MedShare Celebrates 700th Container Shipment

MedShare staff, volunteers and supporters celebrate the 700th container shipment

On Friday, September 2nd, MedShare celebrated a milestone achievement: we shipped our 700th container of humanitarian aid. This shipment paid tribute to A.B. Short and Bob Freeman’s founding vision, and celebrated the success of our past 13 years, during which we’ve shipped over $93 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to 88 developing countries and territories around the world. In the process, over 2 million cubic feet of space has been saved from landfills, as well as millions of lives around the world.

The container was sent from our Western Region Distribution and Volunteer Center in Northern California, and will benefit beleaguered hospitals in Misrata, Libya.

Turn-out at the ceremony was fitting for an event of this magnitude: Mr. Homdi Soliman, Operation Director of HOPE International Relief & Development Agency and sponsor, Dr. Heshaam Fallah, a Libyan-American physician with Kaiser Permanente and project coordinator, the Chief Medical Officer from Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente representatives, a Council Member from the City of San Leandro, MedShare Trustees and Regional Council members, and many of our volunteers were in attendance. Mr. Soliman and Dr. Fallah spoke about the grave healthcare situation in Libya, and Mary Bersot, Trustee and Western Region Council Chair, shared her appreciation to our staff and volunteers.

“It has been an exceptional experience working with MedShare and all their staff throughout the Libyan conflict. With their extraordinary service and vision, we were able to help save the lives of thousands of men, women, and children,” said Homdi Soliman, Operation Director of HOPE.

The container was sponsored by HOPE International Relief & Development Agency (USA)based out of Columbus, Ohio. I-GO Aid Foundation, based in Malta, Libya, will coordinate delivery of the supplies and equipment to hospitals in Libya. The 1,000 boxes of medical supplies we sent were supplemented with biomedical equipment and durable medical goods, including hospital beds, gurneys, exam lights, exam tables, a ventilator for pediatric and adult patients, surgical packs, syringes, gloves and oxygen masks. Hospitals throughout Libya are dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe, as they are running short on critically needed medical supplies. This marked the fourth shipment we’ve sent to hospitals in Libyacollaborating with these partners.

We must give credit where credit is due: MedShare wouldn’t be celebrating this milestone achievement were it not for our wonderful community. For those that support MedShare through your gift of time, in-kind or financial donations or community advocacy, we thank you for all that you do, and ask that you continue helping us bridge the gap between surplus and need. With your partnership, there is no limit to what we can achieve, and we look forward to celebrating our 1,000th, 2,500th, and 5,000th container shipments with you!

To view more photos of this shipment ceremony, click here.

This is an excerpt from September’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a letter from CEO Meridith Rentz and the story of a medical mission team in South Georgia – click here.