Join us for an Interfaith Panel TONIGHT!

Looking for a meaningful way to celebrate International Women’s Day? Look no further… join MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellows tonight for an interfaith discussion on Faith as a Force For Good: Joining the Fight Against Malaria. The event is sure to spark lively discussion and will lead into a dialogue of how we can help fight malaria.

The panel of three distinguished speakers – Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz, Congregation Or Hadash; Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, Providence Missionary Baptist Church; Tayyibah Taylor, Editor in Chief of Azizah Magazine – will be moderated by MedShare’s Vice President of Corporate and International Relations, Nell Diallo.

It will begin at 7pm this evening at Providence Missionary Baptist Church; directions can be found here.

Are you planning on joining us this evening? Confirm your attendance on Facebook here!

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.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., Visits MedShare

MedShare was pleased to host the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., at its Headquarters and Southeast Distribution Center in Decatur. MedShare and The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rev. Jackson’s organization, discussed opportunities to provide medical supplies and equipment to support the healthcare issues that thousands of East Africans are facing as a result of the famine.  From the earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in the South Pacific and tornadoes in Alabama, MedShare has a history of successfully sending medical relief in response to urgent humanitarian needs. To help, sign up to volunteer or donate at www.medshare.org.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., with members of MedShare and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, speaking

Rev. Jackson with MedShare's A.B. Short and Nell Diallo

Rev. Jackson shaking hands with MedShare's Biomedical Engineer and Ethiopian, Tesfah Gebremichael

MedShare & Rev. Jackson discussing a partnership

Click here for more information and here to view more photos.

MedShare Visits Guatemala: Our Hospital Partners Excel, Fight, and Innovate

As our plane approached the airport in Guatemala City, Amanda Paniagua, MedShare’s Shipments Manager, leans over and opens the window shade. As she looked out, she said, “look, we are in another country!” Indeed, we were. Once again a MedShare team was on its way to learn about our medical aid recipients and explore with them how we can best partner to improve healthcare for those in most need.

Team at Hospital Atitlan

Along with Amanda are myself, Josh Kravitz, COO, and Terry Monday, Volunteer Manager for MedShare’s Western Region. 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. Without a doubt, we prepared to leave this wonderful country with a better understanding that will lead to even higher quality medical aid shipments.

Since 2000, MedShare has shipped twenty-seven containers of medical aid and supplied countless MedTeams helping the Guatemalan people. We had a lot of options to start from, but chose to visit with two of our most trusted corporate partners, Dole and Kimberly-Clark. In the last few years, Dole has provided shipping for seven 40-foot containers on their vessels. While none have been to Guatemala, we were eager to learn how they are working to improve healthcare for the people here. As expected, they are working to improve lives in this important banana-growing region and are starting some new projects that MedShare hopes to help with.

It was in 2001 that MedShare sent our first container with Kimberly-Clark to Guatemala and we were excited to see the results of our numerous containers since.  We started with a visit to the Hospital Materno Infantil, where we were overjoyed to see a facility that provided not only high level care, but paying great respect to the families they served. Though the hospital may have been low on resources, they stretched themselves as far as they could while continuing to honor their patients with services that would satisfy any North American. Most impressive was their ability to build a sterilization capability with similar capacity of a US hospital. Following several visits to small clinics, we ended the first day by seeking some advice from the nuns at the Central American headquarters for the Daughters of Charity, as introduced to us by Accession Healthcare. In MedShare’s efforts to only work with the most honest and professional partners, we must seek advice from those who truly know local needs.

The following day, we met with Food for the Poor and their long time partner, the Knights of Malta. It goes without saying how impressed we were that together these two organizations partner to accept and distribute an average of two containers of medical and food aid every day. MedShare was proud to most recently have shipped a container of hospital beds from our Western Region in aid of their mission. Our first hospital stop was to visit their recipients at the National Hospital in Antigua, and we were shocked to see moldy ceilings, rusty beds and crumbling walls. The desperate situation became overwhelmingly real when we saw premature babies being warmed by nothing more than a floor lamp with an incandescent light bulb; a similar set-up to what caused an infant’s finger to be burned off at one of our recipient hospitals years earlier. Despite challenging circumstances, this hospital has amazingly set up Guatemala’s first breast milk bank so babies in crisis can still benefit from this simple, but fortifying nutrition. We finished this day by visiting the world famous Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro that conducts the highest quality services for the poor from orthopedic surgeries to caring for the mentally disabled.

Premature baby being warmed by a floor lamp

Pediatrician preparing donated milk

It was difficult to imagine we could see anything more heartbreaking or inspiring, but the trip went on. Wednesday began with a visit to the national hospital in Solola. This government hospital that serves primarily an indigenous and extremely poor population struggles to survive on an adequate budget that leaves them no choice but to operate with only one nurse for every 15 patients. We were shown intermediate care units with almost no working monitors, an operating room filled with broken equipment and a patient ward that reeked of urine and was filled with ancient mattresses on rusted beds.  Again, the facility persevered and managed to establish a blood bank where patients’ families could donate blood. This day ended on an extraordinary note with a visit to Dr. Louis Flores who is using his 401K money to build a clinic for one of the poorest villages on Lake Atitlan. This fascinating doctor, who recently retired to his native Guatemala after decades with the Mayo Clinic, will spend his “leisure” years giving nearly free care to one of the most medically under-resourced communities in the country. Then, just stay busy, Dr. Flores also hopes to teach painting to villagers on the weekend.

The National Hospital in Solola's blood bank

The trip concluded with an energizing stop at the Hospilito Atitlan in Santiago de Guatemala with the extraordinary mission of providing for the preventative, maternal and emergency health needs of the Lake Atitlan’s indigenous population. Through the interesting use of battery back-ups, generators, water purification, highly-trained staff, quality equipment and state of the art facilities, this hospital, with MedShare’s partnership, offers care at low or no cost to a population that can easily be called the “poorest of the poor” in a way that surpasses what even the United States’ best free clinics and public hospitals provide. Recently, MedShare shipped a container of medical aid to Hospitalito Atitlan in May 2010 that was sponsored by Mr. Bill Cuneo from Northern CA.

Once again, this visit proved that under almost unbearable circumstances, people can find creative solutions to seemingly insurmountable odds.  When most give up, our Guatemalan partners innovate. When many accept social injustice, our partners fight. When few succeed, our partners excel.

Amanda, Terry and I wish to thank the many who made this expedition possible, including Dole, Kimberly-Clark, Accession Health, Food for the Poor, Knights of Malta and former MedShare board chair Bonnie O’Neill. We are also grateful for the always important advice from MedShare staff and board members who helped craft a wonderful itinerary, including Stephanie Greene, Nell Diallo, Chuck Haupt and Pat Robinson.

To view more photos, click here.

Global Atlanta repost: MedShare Strengthens Ties With Congo-Kinshasa


On April 20, 2011, MedShare was pleased to welcome His Excellency Dr. Victor Makwenge Kaput, Minister of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo and Dr. J. M. Kalonji, Multi-Sector Advisor, Ministry of Heath. They visited MedShare to discuss future container shipments to Congo. Dr. Makwenge detailed their current healthcare system and struggles, and his plans to improve it.

Global Atlanta’s Ann Cantrell covered the visit, and we wanted to share her article with you.

MedShare Strengthens Ties With Congo-Kinshasa

By Ann Cantrell

The Democratic Republic of the Congo that has been ravaged by years of war and suffers from an inadequate health care system will be receiving much needed medical supplies from an Atlanta-based charity, which is strengthening its ties with the CentralAfrican country.

As part of its mission to provide poorer countries with surplus medical supplies from the U.S., MedShare International will be sending three 40-foot containers from Decatur to the impoverished country by the end of May.

Valued somewhere between $150,000 to $200,000, each container will have supplies such as sonographic and X-ray machines, patient monitoring systems and equipment used to administer anesthesia during surgeries.

Since 2004, MedShare already has sent 25 containers to the Congo, but even this sizable contribution has been woefully inadequate to serve the needs of the country’s 71 million inhabitants.

“In the United States, $8,047 was spent on health care per person in 2009. By comparison, the Democratic Republic of the Congo spends $4 per person … Situations like this are why MedShare is here,” David Pass, MedShare’s chief advancement officer, told GlobalAtlanta.

In keeping with its growing relationship with MedShare, Victor Makwenge Kaput, the Congo’s minister of health,  and two other representatives from the ministry, visited the headquarters on April 20 to tour the facility and discuss future partnerships.

Nell Diallo, vice president of corporate and international relations, told GlobalAtlanta they are seeking corporate sponsors and have begun discussions with the Coca Cola Co., Western Union Co., and DHL Express, an international mail service, to assist with shipping and funding.

MedShare depends on corporate and private sponsors to fund its operations of gathering leftover medical supplies and equipment from hospitals in the U.S. and redistributing them in underserved communities. The organization has sent containers to more than 30 countries including Afghanistan, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Victor Makwenge Kaput, the Democratic Republic of Congo's minister of health, at MedShare's headquarters in Decatur.

During his visit to the MedShare headquarters and disribution facility, Mr. Kaput outlined some of the health problems in the country to Ms. Diallo, Mr. Pass, A.B. Short, CEO and co-founder and other staff,

Each year, 350,000 children in the Congo do not live past five-years and 3,600 women pass away due to pregnancy complications, according to the health minister. “Each second, children die because of no medical care. Each second, women die because of pregnancy complications,” he added.

According to Mr. Kaput, there are also 1 million people living with HIV/AIDS and many suffer from malaria.

After years of war involving half-a-dozen neighboring countries, he said the health care system was decimated. And even though the war officially ended in 2003, the conflict continued within the country particularly in the east, eventually killing more than 5 million people in the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II.

Years of war destroyed the infrastructure of hospitals and clinics and the government only provides the Ministry of Health with $70 million a year for expenses, Mr. Kaput said, adding that $70 million would not even be sufficient to fund the construction of a single hospital.

Due to the lack of government funding, the ministry looks to non-profits, non-governmental organizations and religious groups for funding, equipment and physicians, he said.

More than 80 percent of its funding comes from these organizations, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, bringing its budget in the Congo from $1 to $4 for each person per year, he said.

Mr. Kaput said he wants to increase this amount to $14 per person each year, repair damaged public hospitals, improve distribution of supplies to rural areas, bring more doctors to the country and re-develop medical research programs.

Working towards these goals, he added that the health ministry is working with South Africa to bring back thousands of Congolese doctors that relocated during the wars and increase their salary from $200 to $1,000 per month.

The health minister and his colleagues concluded their visit to Medshare with a tour of the warehouse and distribution center.

For more information, visit http://www.medshare.org.

Thanks to Global Atlanta for the great coverage! We look forward to working with the Minister to improve healthcare in the DRC.

To view photos of the Minsiter’s visit, click here.

MedShare Ships Container to Ghana

Ghana

A 40-foot container filled with medical humanitarian aid destined for the West African country of Ghana was loaded and shipped out of MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

The container before it left on April 20

The Metropolitan Director of Ghana Health Services in the capital city of Accra, Dr. John K Yabani (MD, MPH) selected over 1,500 individual pieces of medical supplies and equipment to put on the container, including bandages, blood pressure cuffs, urinary catheters, surgical packs, pulse oximeters, hospital beds, exam lights, and much more.  These valuable donations will be distributed amongst four under-resourced public medical centers in the city of Accra: La General Hospital, Kaneshie Polyclinic, PML Children’s Hospital, and Maamobi Polyclinic.  These government-run institutions struggle daily with a lack of adequate equipment and supplies to care for the thousands of poverty-stricken families that come to their facilities seeking medical care.

Volunteers sending the container off

Earlier this month the Mayor of Accra, Mr. Alfred Vanderpuije, visited MedShare in Decatur to tour our operations and view some of the equipment that was being prepared for the shipment.  See a photo of the visit below and read an article published in Global Atlanta.com here.

The Accra Mayor loading boxes

Many thanks to Madame Nell Diallo, Dr. John BK Yabani, Mayor Vanderpuije, and all others who helped make this shipment possible!

To view more photos of the Mayor’s visit, click here, and to view more of the container being loaded, click here.

Atlanta Falcons’ fullback Ovie Mughelli visits MedShare

On February 9, 2011, Atlanta Falcons’ fullback Ovie Mughelli visited MedShare. Masika Perkins, Executive Director of the Ovie Mughelli Foundation, accompanied him.

Ovie Mughelli and Nell Diallo

Ovie is Nigerian by heritage, and both of his parents are practicing medical doctors helping the needy in Nigeria. He met with MedShare’s VP of Corporate and International Relations, Nell Diallo, to speak about shipping medical supplies to Nigeria, and also ways in which the Falcons could be mobilized to support MedShare.

Ovie Mughelli with regular MedShare volunteers

Ovie took a moment to speak to our (lucky) Wednesday morning volunteers, saying that that work they were doing was incredible. He thanked them for making a difference.

Ovie Mughelli thanking the volunteers for their work

After touring the facility, Ovie stated, “MedShare is unbelievable!” We’re excited to potentially work with both him and his teammates!