A look back: MedShare’s Visit to Guatemala

Earlier this year, MedShare’s Josh Kravitz (Chief Operating Officer), Amanda Paniagua (Shipments Manager), and Terry Monday (Volunteer Manager for MedShare’s Western Region) visited Guatemala.

MedShare's Josh Kravitz, Amanda Paniagua and Terry Monday with hospital staff in Antigua, Guatemala

Why did they visit? “Our mission on this trip was to dive into the Guatemalan medical community to learn just who will be our best partner hospitals over the next year or two and truly understand their unique needs,” said Josh Kravitz, COO. “Without a doubt, we prepared to leave this wonderful country with a better understanding that will lead to even higher quality medical aid shipments.”

To learn more, we invite you to read Josh and Amanda’s accounts of their trip. Which of our recipient countries would you like to travel to?

MedShare Ships Five Containers in Final Days of August

Here at MedShare, we’ve been busy bees preparing and sending off shipments! In fact, in the last few days of August, we sent 5 containers out. This is amazing in terms of staff efficiency, especially when compared to the fact that in 1999, we shipped only one container the whole year! Even more incredible, of course, is the impact it will have in recipient countries.

Read along to find out where these containers were shipped…

1. Ghana

Volunteers listen as Mme. Nell Diallo speaks about the region of Kumasi, Ghana

  • Ship date: August 24 2011
  • MedShare Distribution Center: Southeast
  • Recipient Country: Ghana
  • Recipient: Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi
  • Total Pieces: 1,071
  • Total Weight: 12,696 lbs
  • Items of interest: electric beds, bandaids, surgical drapes, tissue forceps, ventilator, OR celiing light, spinal needles

2. Ecuador

  • Ship date: August 25, 2011
  • MedShare Distribution Center: Southeast
  • Recipient Country: Ecuador
  • Recipient: Municipio de Limon-Indanza
  • Total Pieces: 1,038
  • Total Weight: 12,698 lbs
  • Items of interest: surgical towels, insuline syringes, P.E.T. carts, pulse oximeters, iodine, patient beds

3. Libya

Container preparing to leave our warehouse

  • Ship date: August 26, 2011
  • MedShare Distribution Center: Southeast
  • Recipient Country: Libya
  • Recipient: Libyan Red Crescent
  • Sponsor: Hope Relief International
  • Total Pieces: 1,245
  • Total Weight: 10,637 lbs
  • Items of interest: ambu bags, suction catheters, orthopedic surgical instruments, plates, and screws, sphygmomanometers, thoracic draines, bandages, exam table

4. Ethiopia

  • Ship date: August 31, 2011
  • MedShare Distribution Center: West
  • Recipient Country: Ethiopia
  • Recipient: Nejo Hospital
  • Total Pieces: 962
  • Total Weight: 10,110 lbs
  • Items of interest: ostomy kit, ortho screws and plates, surgical masks, IV extension sets, stretcher, suction pumps, Microscope
  • More information: http://www.medshare.org/media/news/146

5. Guatemala

  • Ship date: August 31, 2011
  • MedShare Distribution Center: Southeast
  • Recipient Country: Guatemala
  • Recipient: Hospital Materno Infantil Juan Pablo II
  • Sponsor: Kimberly-Clark
  • Total Pieces: 1,387
  • Total Weight: 15,342 lbs
  • Items of interest: nasal cannulas, urinary catheters, ventilator, feeding tubes, gloves, nebulizers, OR light

To view all MedShare shipments, click here.

Report: MedShare International on Hospitalito Atitlan’s Blog

MedShare staff Josh Kravitz, Amanda Paniagua and Terry Monday traveled to Guatemala last week to visit various recipient hospitals, one of which was Hospitalito Atitlan. The hospital posted the following photo and text on their blog, and we wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

(L to R) Bonnie O'Neill, Terry Monday, Amanda Paniagua and Josh Kravitz

When Bonnie O’Neill, Chair of Amigos Hospitalito Atitlán lived in Atlanta, she was instrumental in founding MedShare. MedShare collects and sorts medical equipment and supplies and then finds donors to help with the costs of shipping full containers to hospitals in developing countries. A year ago Hospitalito Atitlán received it’s first Medshare container. This week, Bonnie brought MedShare administrators to visit the Hospitalito. Terry Monday from Medshare’s Western Region in San Leandro, CA and Amanda Paniagua and Josh Kravitz  from their headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

It was great to finally meet the MedShare people we have been working with. Thank you for the visit and all the excellent quality medical equipment and supplies!

To view photos from their trip, visit our Flickr page here.

Inspired by his father’s death, Guatemala’s Pedro Sosof became a nurse.

By Amanda Paniagua, Shipments Manager, MedShare

Pedro Sosof, LPN

“When I was 17 my father passed away.  He had a brain hemorrhage.  We took him to the National Hospital but they didn’t do anything to help him.  That is what made me want to become a nurse.”  -Pedro Sosof, LPN

Pedro Sosof is a 26 year old indigenous Tz´tujil Mayan from Santiago Atitlan who has been practicing nursing at Hospitalito Atitlan for five years.  The fifth child of eight born to a fisherman father and housewife mother, he grew up poor. Thanks to a level head and a lot of dedication and hard work, however, Pedro was able to put himself through nursing school by working part-time selling artisan crafts.  He is now a respected clinician with a flair for emergency and surgical care.

Hospitalito Atitlan

The Hospitalito is located on the shores of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala, and serves a population of about 43,000 indingenous Mayan, many of whom speak no or very limited Spanish.  Pedro and the other nurses and some medical staff speak Tz´tutjil and translate it into Spanish for the rest.  MedShare shipped a container of medical supplies and equipment here about a year ago, and since then Pedro and the other nursing and medical staff have used the items to save lives and improve health and wellness in this remote region.  A second MedShare container is in the early fundraising stage and will likely ship later this year.

I think understand what he means when he says ¨they didn´t do anything¨ for his father at the National Hospital before he passed away.  It´s not that the doctors and nurses didn’t want to help Pedro´s father eight years ago; more likely, due to a lack of trained medical personnel, medications, supplies, equipment, and funding and other necessary resources, they just couldn’t.

The National Hospital in Solola doesn’t have a working ventilator.  The Antigua National Hospital lacks basic equipment like stethoscopes and pulse oximeters for their newborn nursery and pediatric ICU.   Critical cases have to be referred to Guatemala City, where there may be more advanced equipment available, but not all patients can survive the journey.

Pregnant patient with a kidney infection

In contract, Hospitalito Atitlan is well-equipped in both staff and supplies, thanks to donations received from MedShare and other international foundations and NGOs.  Today I watched as Pedro rushed to grab a speculum and gauze from a fully-stocked supply closet when a young pregnant Tz´tutujil woman came into the emergency room with vaginal bleeding.  Her pregnancy was lost, but her life was saved.  Later in the day I witnessed a young Mayan woman in her third trimester with a dangerous kindey infection receive stat antibiotics via IV, saving her life and that of her baby.  Two years ago her term baby was stillborn, delivered at home by a local midwife.  The Hospitalito doctors suspect a similar kidney infection was the cause of death; thankfully this time she is getting the care she needs.  More donated eqiupment and supplies are still desperately needed here, but all in all, this small Guatemalan Hospital is producing more success stories than one ever could have imagined.

¨I do this job to help my people,¨ Pedro told me. ¨Even though sometimes it is hard, I keep going, because I feel like I´m doing something good for my people¨