MedShare and NWAG Partner to Send Container to Nigeria

Nigeria

On Thursday, March 31th, a container carrying over 11,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment destined for Nigeria was shipped out of MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center in Decatur, Georgia.  The project was sponsored and coordinated by one of MedShare’s longest-standing local partners, the Nigerian Women’s Association of Georgia (NWAG).

The donated items are to be split between three different under-resourced medical centers around the country.  Included on the container are:

  • ambu bags
  • adhesive bandages
  • syringes
  • stretchers
  • surgical packs
  • stethoscopes
  • wheelchairs
  • thermometers

Below are photos below of the NWAG “sending-off” the container from the MedShare Warehouse… enjoy!

Shipments Manager Amanda Paniagua speaking with members of the NWAG

The container being loaded with boxes

Thanks to the hard work of MedShare staff members and the NWAG for making this happen!

Project Medishare prepares opening of new maternal health center (re-post)

Project Medishare for Haiti is a nonprofit based in Florida that was founded in 1994 by Dr. Barth Green and Arthur Fournier. The organization is dedicated to sharing its human and technical resources with its Haitian partners in the quest to achieve quality healthcare and development services for all. As you can imagine, their mission has become ever more vital since the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010.

To support Project Medishare’s opening of a new maternal clinic in the Central Plateau, MedShare recently donated equpiment. Medishare’s Jennifer Browning wrote a great post detailing the project on their blog, and I wanted to share it here:

Project Medishare prepares opening of new maternal health center

By Jennifer Browning

Dr. Gerarde Mondesir conducts a prenatal exam for 24-year-old Jesula Alexander at the clinic in Marmont. Upon opening, the maternal health center will provide women in the Central Plateau a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. "I am so happy about the maternal health center opening," Alexander said. "I hope it is ready by the time I have my baby so that I don’t have to travel far to have my baby and receive healthcare. I can have my baby here." Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Jean Vasula, 17, sits with her 2-month-old son Maté at the clinic in Marmont waiting to see the doctor. Here doctors see everything from pediatrics to adult medicine and for now, even provides family planning as well as prenatal and postnatal exams.

Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction of the Maternal Health Center, and MedShare who donated all of the medical equipment, women in the Central Plateau are closer to having access to a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

A grant provided by Ralph Lauren is assisting with upstart costs such as staff salaries. Currently, Project Medishare is recruiting and interviewing midwives, nurses and other personnel for the center.

Vasula said while she was pregnant with Maté, she visited the Marmont clinic each month for her prenatal care. She said she is excited that there will be a clinic dedicated to women.

“The new maternal health clinic will be so good for [women in the community],” Vasula said. “Right now, here in Marmont we have to depend on the hospital in Thomonde. If we need a test, we have to go to Thomonde; or if we have any complications we have to go to Thomonde or maybe even further in Hinche. I am glad the maternal center is opening here because it will serve the whole community and all women here will have access.”

In Haiti, and particularly in the Central Plateau, the high rate of maternal mortality remains a challenge. Haiti’s statistics regarding maternal mortality are among the highest in the Caribbean: 1 out of every 37 female deaths is linked to a high-risk pregnancy.

Haiti’s poor suffers by far the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere. According to UNICEF, out of 100,000 live births, 670 Haitian women died of pregnancy-related causes in 2006.

Familiar with complications that can come with childbirth, Vasula hopes by having a maternal center in the community, less women will lose their babies during birth.

“It will help because with me, I had trouble during my pregnancy,” Vasula, who had her baby in Thomonde, said. “If I had my baby at home like many women do here, I would have lost my baby.

Vasula said when she was going into labor with Mate, she was at home with a mid-wife, but there were complications. Her family found a way to get her to Thomonde where she eventually had a C-section. While the maternal health center won’t be performing surgeries like C-sections, the medical staff there will be able to monitor the delivery and send women like Vasula to Thomonde for emergencies.

Gillef Mieloudes, 33, gave birth to her son Yadley at home. She said she was lucky that she didn’t have any complications.

Mieloude who lives in Denizrad situated between Thomonde and Marmont went to Thomonde for her prenatal checkups each month and planned to give birth at home, with the help of a midwife. But by the time the midwife showed up she had already had the baby.

She said she is happy knowing the maternal health center will open soon so that women in her community will have the services they need.

“When the maternal health center opens, if any women have complications with their pregnancy then they will know that there is a place for us to go,” Mieloude said. “Right now women in my community rely on Thomonde for the things that we need when it comes to our health. It will be so nice to have a place that is for women only.

The new maternal health center will be equipped with a full laborator, incubators, examination and observation rooms thanks to a generous equipment donation provided by MedShare. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Jacque Balde, an auxillary nurse for the Ministry of Health at the Marmont Clinic said there is a lot of interest in the maternal health center.

For now women go to the clinic in Marmont to receive women’s health services, and the new maternal health center will allow the Marmont clinic to focus more on pediatric and adult medicine.

“This is important that the people here will have such service, a good service in their home in Marmont,” he said. “When the maternal health center opens it will allow us to organized the Marmont clinic better so we can focus on pediatric and adult medicine.”

Balde is all too aware of complications that can come with childbirth. A few months ago, is wife suffered from eclampsia and gave birth to their son two months early.

“She gave birth at Hinche but there were no incubators,” he said. “They wrapped up our baby and kept him close to my wife, but at seven months you need an incubator. When I saw the incubator at the maternal health center it made me think of my son. If there had been an incubator at Hinche, it could have saved the life of my child.”

As the field coordinator for Marmont, Balde also organizes Project Medishare’s community health agents to go out into the community. As soon as he gets word that the center will open, it will be his job to educate the community health agents to let people know about the maternal health center and about the updated medical equipment available for the women in the community.

Project Medishare internist, Dr. Gerarde Mondesir said a big problem right now is that many of the women come to the Marmont clinic for their prenatal follow-up, but then they will go give birth somewhere else like Thomonde or in Hinche.

“The doctors and midwives there have never seen them before and have no clue about how their pregnancy has been the past nine months,” she said. “I think that it is important to have a maternal health center here, because if we detect a possible problem during their prenatal visit, we will know it and it will be on their file when they come in to give birth. We will be able to follow-up with them better because all of their care is happening in one place.”

Dr. Mondesir said it is also essential that women in Marmont will have a center in their community where they can give birth. She hopes by having the maternal health center, less women will have their babies at home. And she feels this will help decrease the maternal mortality rate in the community of Marmont.

“Sometimes the women live very far and getting them on the road and then all the way to Hinche or all the way to Thomonde is very difficult for them,” Dr. Mondesir said. “When the women realized how long it will take to get to the hospital, they just prefer to stay at home and have the baby there. I think that the maternal health center will also help decrease the maternal mortality rate here in this community. While there will be some mothers who still have their babies at home because they can’t make it here in time, I believe more women will come here knowing that there is a place close and someone here who can help them.”

The maternal health center is scheduled to open this spring.

We are proud to support such a wonderful mission, and look forward to working alongside Project Medishare on other projects in the future. Be sure to visit Project Medishare’s site to learn more about their mission (and support it), and their blog to read the lastest news.

MedShare’s Consul of Ecuador Recognition and Welcome Lunch

On Friday, January 21st, 2011, MedShare hosted a lunch at Horseradish Grill to recognize the Honorary Consul of Ecuador, Patricia Boezio, for all her work on behalf of MedShare over the past ten years, and welcome the new Consul of Ecuador, Ambassador Francisco Riofrio.

MedShare CEO A.B. Short, Francisco Riofrio, and Patricia Boezio

 

In her role, Consul Boezio helped MedShare ship 43 containers of medical humanitarian aid to 38 different recipients in Ecuador, which totaled over $7.2 million in value.

Patricia Boezio and MedShare CEO A.B. Short

One of the most notable moments of our long relationship with Consul Boezio was at MedShare’s 500th Container Celebration, in which she gave a most dynamic and inspirational speech about the strength of the Ecuadorian people as well as the need for medical aid.  The recipient of the 500th container was the Angela Loayza de Ollague Obstetrical Hospital in Santa Rosa (near Machala) where staff struggle to care for the town’s maternal infant population with limited supplies, equipment and staff resources.

Consul Boezio’s commitment to go the extra mile to help MedShare meet our short deadlines is deeply appreciated, and far exceeded our greatest expectations.

Luis Gallegos, the Ambassador in Ecuador in Washington, D.C., sent a note to MedShare’s COO Josh Kravitz recognizing Consul Boezio’s work. The letter was read during the ceremony by MedShare’s Shipments Manager, Amanda Panaigua.

Dear Mr. Kravitz,

MedShare's Amanda Paniagua reading a letter from Luis Gallegos, Ambassador of Ecuador in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your invitation to attend MedShare’s formal lunch in Atlanta to recognize Mrs. Boezio and to welcome the new Consul General, Ambassador Riofrio. Most unfortunately I will be unable to attend due to prior engagements. I would, however, like to be there in spirit through the reading of this letter at the lunch.

I proudly commend both Mrs. Boezio and MedShare for their truly wonderful and inspiring humanitarian service to medically underserved hospitals throughout Ecuador. I think I speak for all of Ecuador when I say how honored I am to know of fellow Ecuadorians like Mrs. Boezio and of humanitarian organizations like MedShare. You are gifts to the world and I thank you dearly for your beautiful will to serve others.

I would also like to extend a warm welcome to Ambassador Riofrio as the new Consul General of Ecuador in Atlanta. The great significance and importance this region of the United States has for our National Government has been underlined by the designation of an Ambassador, a career diplomat, to the Ecuadorian Consulate. I wish Ambassador Riofrio all the best at his new post in Georgia. I have no doubt that he will be well received by the wonderful people of that state, which I have had the pleasure of visiting on many occasions.

With warm regards and gratitude.

Sincerely,

Luis Gallegos, Washington D.C. Ambassador of Ecuador

We also welcome the new Consul of Ecuador, Francisco Riofrio. A career diplomat of over 35 years, Consul Riofrio has previously held the Consul of Ecuador position on San Franciso and was the Ambassador of Ecuador in Israel. He was appointed General Consul of Ecuador in Atlanta by the new government of Economista Rafael Correa, President of the Republic of Ecuador, and his jurisdiction includes NC, SC, TN, AL, and GA.

In attendance were a representative from Kimberly Clark and Southeastern Regional Council Members Sally Dean and Angie Engelberger.

Lunch attendees, including Kimberly Clark representative

La Vision, an Atlanta Hispanic newspaper, wrote a great article covering the event; it can be viewed here.

Attendees chatting post-lunch

MedShare visits Ecuador’s Amazonian Region

By Amanda Paniagua, Shipments Manager, MedShare

Paztaza Province, Ecuador

This week, thanks to a generous grant from an anonymous benefactor, MedShare’s Regional Repesentative in Ecuador Marco Galarza, MedShare supporter Dr. Dan Goldberg, and myself, Shipments Manager Amanda Paniagua, have had the remarkable opportunity to visit several recipient health care centers in Ecuador’s Amazonian basin.  We arrived at midday on Monday in Puyo, the capital city of Pastaza Province, to the warmest of welcomes.  The Municipal Government of Puyo, which has just sponsored the shipment of two containers of medical supplies and equipment from MedShare for the local healthcare system, had prepared a most touching ceremony for us in the Coliseum, complete with a brass band and local press!  After speeches by the Mayor Mr. Gérman Flores, his wife and President of the municipal charity foundation Mrs. Jimena Brito, and other community representatives, donated walkers and PET vehicles were ceremoniously presented to local disabled children, adults, and the elderly.

Mrs. Jimena Britos presents PET cart to young Daniel Vargas, who has Cerebral Palsey

Puyo community members at Ceremony in Coliseum. Medical supplies from containers are displayed behind

After lunch, we were taken on a tour of Puyo Hospital, one of the central Ministry of Health referral hospitals for the entire Pastaza Province, a territory that expands over 29,800 square km and 60,000 inhabitants!  “The hospital is running over 300% capacity right now,” said Dr. Barroso, Chief of Pediatrics and Medical Director of the Municipal charity foundation that sponsored the container.  “The average hospital stay for is 3-5 days per patient, and we don’t have enough beds.”  As luck would have it, MedShare received a donation of electric hospital beds just in time to include 26 on one of the two containers that were shipped to Puyo in December.

Puyo Hospital’s jurisdiction includes thousands of square miles of thick Amazon jungle, where seven different ethnic tribes live in tiny rural settlements without electricity, running water or roads to Puyo city.   In many of these indigenous communities, the only way to reach the hospital during medical emergencies is by small planes called in via two-way radio.  But when the weather is foggy or rainy, which happens frequently, the planes can’t fly.

Happy family at Puyo Hospital. These two boys were being treated for skin abscesses caused by jungle insect bites.

During our hospital visit we met a young boy who had been bitten by a poisonous snake in his jungle village and had been flown into Puyo in under emergency evacuation.  He was a member of the Waorani tribe, which was explained to me to be the most isolated out of the seven indigenous tribes.  The child had arrived naked, as the Waorani traditionally wear only very beautiful and intricate head adornments and body paint, so the hospital staff had dressed him in a pair of pajamas.  When we visited, he was visibly scared of the strange surroundings, but was receiving the best of medical care and was expected to make a full recovery.  Snake bites are one of the most frequent medical dangers seen in this region of Ecuador.

One of 26 hospital beds Puyo received from MedShare on recent container

The Ministry of Health and the Municipal government are obviously deeply committed to their people and are working tirelessly to improve the health care delivery system to reach those in the most isolated areas.  While at the Puyo Hospital we met a young mother from the indigenous Kichwa tribe who had been flown in from the jungle community of Pakayacu with her infant daughter.  The child was eight months old, but due to extreme malnutrition, weighed only a staggering 3500 grams- about the average weight of a healthy newborn.  Chief Nurse Irma Naveda told me that these critical cases of malnutrition had been a chronic problem in that particular village in the past years, but thanks to the efforts of a 4-person medical team stationed by the Ministry of Health a few years ago in Pakayacu, they the rate was reduced by over 50%.

MedShare is fortunate to have such qualified, committed partners as the Ministry of Health and Municipal government of Puyo.  Deep thanks to Mayor Gérman Flores, Mrs. Presidente Jimena Brito, Dr. Barroso, Nurse Irma Naveda, and all others for their warm hospitality and for showing us their outstanding work in the public health system of Paztasa province. Their dedication and love for the local people is truly an inspiration. MedShare is fortunate to have such qualified and committed partners, we hope to work together again on more containers for Paztaza Province very soon!

Dr. Barroso and disabled patient Sr. William P. with donated PET Cart

Puyo Hospital

Young mother and child. Teen pregnancy is a chronic problem in Pastaza Province.

Mother and child with Down Syndrome being treated for respiratory infection

MedShare's Shipments Manager, Amanda Paniagua, center

Special thanks goes to Marco Galarza for all his hard work coordinating this donation.