500th container arrives in Ecuador!

Just four months ago, MedShare’s 500th container of medical humanitarian aid embarked from the southeastern warehouse in Decatur, Georgia.  The shipment, sponsored by the MedShare Southeast Regional Council after a motivational board trip to the region, was full of supplies and equipment desperately needed at under-resourced government hospitals in Santa Rosa, Ecuador.   It is a small Canton of approximately 70,000 people located in El Oro province in the southern region of the country, where seasonal flooding is common, poverty is rampant, and help is often hard to find.   People in Santa Rosa often feel marginalized by the government because most aid and resources go to the nearby, larger Canton of Machala.

The MedShare container arrived the the ocean port of Guayaquil, Ecuador on December 6, 2009.  Thanks to the help of the Prefect of El Oro Province and MedShare’s Regional Representative Marco Galarza, the container was quickly cleared through customs and trucked to the Ecuadorian Army Base in Santa Rosa, where soldiers unloaded the supplies and equipment and stored them safely in their warehouse.    Then, throughout all of January, under the capable leadership of Santa Rosa Rotarians Sonia Paredes and Marisol Vite and with the input of local physicians, the medical items were carefully sorted and assigned to either the Angela Loayza de Ollague Maternity Hospital or the Santa Teresita General Hospital.  The Canton Fire Department also was assigned a few boxes of supplies for trauma care, such as gauze and IV sets.

Santa Rosa Army Base where supplies were safely stored during sorting process

Supplies and equipment in army warehouse after sorting

  This morning a brief ceremony was held at the army warehouse covered by local press, in which the Rotary Club and the hospital directors publicly thanked MedShare.  And then, finally, the big moment everyone had been waiting for: the delivery of the first equipment to the hospitals.  The doctors selected a defibrillator to present to the  General Hospital and a portable infant incubator to present to the Maternity Hospital. In an Ecuadorian army truck, the equipment was ceremoniously delivered to each hospital, while patients and staff alike looked on in awe.  The remaining supplies and equipment will be delivered over the next few days.  

Delivery Ceremony

Below is the video of the delivery of the infant transport incubator to the maternity hospital.  Hospital director Dr. Richard Chiriboga explains that the hospital did not have a portable incubator before.  Now staff will be able to transport critically ill babies to referral hospitals for a higher level of care, saving many young lives.

Also here is a video of the delivery of the cardiac defibrillator to Santa Teresita General Hospital.  Previously the hospital only had one other defibrillator, which was outdated and often broken.  At the end of the video, hospital director Dr. Rosa Aguilar explains how the defibrillator will save many patients from dying of cardiac arrest and expresses heartfelt thanks for the gift.       

 As is evident in these photos and videos, the poverty in Santa Rosa is overwhelming, but the supplies and equipment being delivered over the next few days will undoubtadly make a difference.  It’s thanks to a widespread group of partners and organizations from all over the world that this delivery was made possible.  Let  this be the first of many more MedShare shipments to come!