Key Surgical® Donates More than 800,000 Masks to MedShare

Key Surgical®, a leading supplier of sterile processing and operating room supplies, has donated more than 800,000 faceshields and protective masks to MedShare, an Atlanta-based non-profit that recovers and redistributes surplus medical supplies and equipment to developing countries in desperate need of these supplies.

“The faceshields and protective masks provided by Key Surgical are destined for a number of developing countries where they will improve the quality of healthcare available,” said Meridith Rentz, CEO and president of MedShare. “We’re grateful to Key Surgical for their partnership in helping us bridge the gap between surplus and need.”

The donation by Key Surgical helps address a critical need in many developing countries. The World Health Organization estimates that millions of people in the developing world die because of inadequate medical care.

MedShare collects surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals, distributors and manufacturers, and redistributes those supplies to qualified healthcare facilities in the developing world. Since the organization was founded in 1998, over $100 million worth of medical supplies and equipment have been sent on more than 750 shipments to 88 countries around the world, saving countless lives and over 2 million cubic feet of space from U.S. landfills.

“We’re proud to be associated with MedShare,” said Brian O’Connell, Chief Operating Officer of Key Surgical. “We believe in their cause and their ability to get our supplies into the hands of those who can do the most good for those in the most need.”

About Key Surgical
Founded in 1988, Key Surgical specializes in supplying hospitals, surgical ambulatory and outpatient centers with a complete line of sterile processing, operating room and clean room supplies that focus on cleaning, protecting, identifying and packaging of surgical instruments. Dedicated to delivering exceptional customer service, Key Surgical offers more than 2,500 medical products worldwide. The company is committed to manufacturing and distributing the highest quality medical products, and to maintaining all applicable ISO and FDA regulatory requirements.

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.

A Letter from Meridith Rentz, MedShare’s CEO

Meridith Rentz, MedShare CEO

Hello Friends,

It’s officially been two weeks since I joined the MedShare team, and I am honored and thrilled to be writing to you. With each day that passes, I continue to be amazed by the passion and commitment that all members of the MedShare family have for our extraordinary mission.

Balancing this feeling of exuberance, I find myself to be in a particularly reflective mode with the recent passing of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a day that touched all of us in a tragic, and in some cases, life-changing way. My almost 10-year-old son was born a few weeks after September 11th, 2001. As I was watching him play soccer recently, I thought about how much he has grown and changed over the past 10 years – it’s a dramatic difference.

Have these same ten years made a difference in our collective communities, too? I do believe that as individuals and groups, we have grown and changed since the tragic events of ten years ago that drew our nation together in a collective holding of breath and sense of loss, followed by intense pride and action.

Are we a nation that cares more? Are we a nation that takes action more? Are we a nation that works harder to find practical solutions to issues of social justice?

For the most part, the answers are a complex combination of yes, no, maybe, it depends, and sometimes.

But then I look at you – the supporters of MedShare’s mission – and the answers are crystal clear. You care. You take action. You’re not afraid of complex challenges. You want to improve this world of ours in practical, life-saving ways. The clarity of your support is what fuels the power of MedShare. Your contributions – be it the gift of your time, your voice, your financial support or your in-kind donations – make all the difference, every day to people across the globe.

Your support enabled MedShare to ship its 700th container just two weeks ago. The supplies on this container will support urgent humanitarian needs throughout Libya. Consider the impact that 700th container and the 699 before it (with their $93 million worth of medical supplies and equipment) have had on the people living in 88 recipient countries – it truly takes your breath away.

And then – once you catch your breath – it’s easy to lose it again when you consider the significant work ahead of us. According to Healthcare Without Harm, U.S. hospitals generate more than two million tons of medical waste each year. Much of that waste is unused medical supplies and equipment. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 10 million children under the age of five die in the developing world due to inadequate medical care.

We must take a deep breath and then we must carefully pursue opportunities to expand the impact and sustainability of MedShare’s unique model of gathering suppliesmatching needs and improving health. We can and must continue to work in partnership with the communities we serve as well as individuals, corporations, foundations, and other nonprofits working to achieve our ambitious goals. We must care more. We must take more action. We must redouble our efforts to take on complex challenges. We must do all of this to save lives and improve health infrastructure in the developing world, and reduce our incredible environmental impact in our own communities.

I am excited to work in partnership with each of you over the coming weeks, months and years to bridge the gap between surplus and need. It is an honor and a privilege to follow in the footsteps of MedShare’s amazing co-founder and former CEO, A.B. Short. I am also delighted that A.B. has accepted my request that he stay on at MedShare as Senior Advisor to the CEO to support this leadership transition and continue to contribute his tremendous entrepreneurial skills to our growth endeavors.

I promise each of you that I will do my best every day to keep up with you in your advancement of our mission and to ensure MedShare continues to merit your invaluable support. I welcome your ideas, questions or concerns. You can reach me any time at mrentz@medshare.org or via Twitter @mrentz.

In service,

Meridith

This is an excerpt from September’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a story of a medical mission team in South Georgia and our 700th container shipment celebration – click here.

MedShare Ships Container of Medical Aid to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

On June 1, MedShare’s Western Regional Distribution Center loaded and shipped a 40-foot ocean container with medical humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe, Southern Africa.  According to a 2009 WHO report, “the situation in Zimbabwe is characterized by the ‘triple threat’ of poverty and food insecurity, weakened human and material capacity of government and high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.  The health system is very challenged in terms of human resources for health, health financing, drugs and equipment and the overall service delay.”

Over one thousand individual boxes of medical supplies and equipment donations were loaded onto the container that shipped from MedShare today, including ambu bags, surgical blades, tracheotomy tubes, splints, IV sets, a stretcher, 2 exam tables, blood pressure monitors, and much more.  The Harare-based local NGO Spiritage Health will be receiving the container and distributing the supplies amongst several hospitals and clinics that serve the poor, including the Southmed Chitungwiza Hospital, Citimed Southmed Hospital, Citimed Suburban Hospital, and St. Michaels Hospital.

Dr. M.C. Wazara, Spiritage Health Director, comments:

“There has been a drought in many of the provinces of our agriculturally based country and it is anticipated that food aid will be required to sustain people to the next cropping season.  Whenever this happens, diseases related to poor sanitation and general infection are on the rise.

Another fact is that due to the underfunding of our health sector, there is always an ongoing humanitarian crisis created by inadequate supplies, unserviceable equipment and shortage of qualified staff.  It is in these three areas that our organization works and would apply the donated resources.  You gifts will be directed towards relieving urgent situations. Our national health infrastructure has been so stretched that it will be a long time before the need for aid becomes unnecessary.”

Container leaving the Western Region for Zimbabwe

MedShare sends special thanks to our partners at International Relief and Development and Global Assistance for their support in shipping this container.  Also special thanks to the UPS Foundation for their generous financial sponsorship of this project.