First-Hand Tale: Delivery of a MedShare Container in Nigeria

In April 2010, MedShare shipped a container of medical supplies and equipment to Nigeria. The project was sponsored by “Yinit D. Med-Ventures Inc.,” an organization founded by  Dr. Adeniyi Henry Olowu, which also handled the distribution in Nigeria.

MedShare container unloading in Nigeria

Dr. Olowu’s daughter, a college student, went to Nigeria with him to help with the distribution and wrote an account of her experience that we wanted to share with you:

I had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria this summer, after thirteen long years. It was a wonderful experience, especially seeing relatives that I haven’t seen in over a decade. One of my most memorable moments in Nigeria was when I spent time with my dad distributing medical supplies to local clinics. This is a memory that will stay with me forever, and from it I have taken away many life lessons which I hope to share with others.

Nigeria, along with many other African countries, is in dire need of medical assistance, not so much medical professionals but medical supplies. From my experience in Nigeria, I can strongly state that the majority of the clinics I saw lacked proper supplies and equipment to care for their patients. And at the few that did, their supplies were outdated. This was a major problem that I noticed – lack of technology, and sometimes this can be the determining factor in saving lives. For example, many of these clinics did not have access to a defibrillator and relied mainly on chest pumps with their bare hands to resuscitate patients.  But as we all know, this method is less effective in comparison to the use of a defibrillator. And if more of these machines alone can be introduced to hospitals and clinics, more lives can surely be saved.

I had the privilege of going to a small town outside the capital of Nigeria with my dad, where we were able to distribute medical supplies to the local clinic. The status of the clinic was dreadful and the thought of it being the place that people relied on treatment was even worse. Just like the physical appearance, the attributes were lacking as well. A few bandages and syringes here and there could not treat anything but a simple cut or wound. If someone with a critical medical condition was taken there, they will be helpless because without proper medical supplies there is only little that can be done. With this being said, I can’t even put to words how this community as a whole was very delighted with the resources, supplies and equipment we provided them.

All in all, much gratitude and appreciation was shown to us by all the clinics and hospitals we donated supplies. And with this same gratitude and appreciation that was given to us, I am also extending it to you. I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for providing my father with the opportunity to touch lives and give back to those in need. Without your role all this would not have been possible. I also want to thank you personally for giving me this wonderful experience, it was truly something unforgettable.

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 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!

MedShare Ships Containers to Nigeria and El Salvador

In partnership with Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), two 40 foot containers of electric hospital beds and mattress donations for the economically developing world were shipped out of MedShare’s Southeastern Distribution Center two weeks ago.

Nigeria

The first of the two containers shipped from MedShare on Thursday, February 22, and is carrying 50 beds and mattresses to be delivered to Lautech Teaching Hospital in Oyo State, Nigeria. Lautech is a newly-built government facility incorporated into the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, and it will cater to the poor and underserved populations of Oyo State. This is the final installment of a four-container shipment of beds for the hospital.

El Salvador

The second container of beds shipped from MedShare on Friday, February 25, and will be going to the Fundación Salvadoreña para la Salud y Desarollo Humano (FUSAL), a humanitarian organization in El Salvador. FUSAL operates nutritional, educational, human rights and health programs in El Salvador and supports hundreds of Ministry of Health hospitals and health posts. This is the second of a three-container shipment of beds to FUSAL.

We’d like to give a special thanks to CMMB for making these shipments possible! To read more about MedShare’s much-valued partnership with CMMB, click here.