Yesterday afternoon was an exciting event for the people of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The 40-foot container of medical aid materials that MedShare shipped from California back in December, 2009 finally arrived at the warehouse of the Ecuador’s largest and oldest charity, Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil (JBG). Thanks to the financial sponsorship of the Kimberly Clark Corporation, the 1,000-plus boxes of MedShare gloves, catheters, bandages, nebulizers, and more that were unloaded from the container yesterday will soon be put in the hands of doctors and nurses treating Ecuador’s poorest patients throughout the JBG’s four major hospitals.
The JBG was founded 122 years ago by philanthropists concerned about the living conditions of the poor of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Today, it operates schools, orphanages, nursing homes, as well as 4 of Ecuador’s largest referral hospitals: Enrique C. Sotomayor Gynecologic and Obstetrics Maternity Hospital, Dr. Roberto Gilbert Children’s Hospital, Luis Vernaza General Hospital, and Lorenzo Ponce Psychiatric Hospital. Over one million Ecuadorians receive medical care from the JBG each year, most of whom live off of very limited incomes and receive sliding scale or free rates. Due to the overwhelming amount of needy patients showing up at their hospitals every day, the JBG relies on donations of medical equipment and supplies to continue their work.
The JBG is currently fundraising for the construction of a new maternity hospital with more space and equipment, but at the moment, conditions are tough. Around 80-90 babies are born at the hospital each day, and there simply aren’t enough beds or space for all the patients, as seen in video below.
On the positive side, after decades of planning and fundraising, the JBG was able to open a new pediatric hospital in 1999. Today the Dr. Roberto Gilbert E. Children’s Hospital has over 450 beds and state-of-the art facilities, thanks to donations from all over the world. Staff often receive transfer patients in critical condition that governmental hospitals simply don’t have the adequate resources to treat.
The work that the JBG is doing in Ecuador is helping the poorest of the poor to receive the same quality of health care that the upper classes do. It’s imperative they be able to continue their humanitarian mission. More medical supplies and equipment are needed now and will continue to be needed. Let this be the beginning of a long, fruitful relationship between MedShare, Kimberly Clark, and the Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil!