Last January, Haiti suffered from a devastating earthquake that claimed over 250,000 lives and left more than a million people living in makeshift camps. Crisis struck again in late October in the form of an ongoing cholera epidemic, which has sickened over 7,700 people and claimed 500 lives. Now, this weekend’s Hurricane Tomas caused wind damage and widespread flooding that has disrupted even more lives.
What is MedShare doing to help?
We’ve turned our attention to providing a response by sending customized shipments of medical supplies to Haiti, a country where we have worked extensively in the past eleven years. Thanks to the outpouring of support from donors and volunteers, we have shipped 28 forty-foot containers filled with over 150 tons of life-saving medical supplies and equipment to needy hospitals in Haiti.
The most recent container shipped to Haiti from MedShare, the 28th this year, was shipped on Friday, October 29, 2010, from MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution center. The recipient was the Hopital Bienfaisance De Pignon in Pignon, Haiti. In normal circumstances, this is a small charity hospital with about 65 in-patient beds. Since the earthquake, thousands of injured patients have flooded through the hospital doors seeking emergency care, and the hospital has been converted into a regional trauma center. This marks the third container they’ve received from MedShare this year; the first two containers, sent in January and May, carried emergency relief medical supplies and equipment for the hospital. With the help of our partners at Catholic Medical Mission Board who procured the bed donations for this shipment, the container shipped on Oct. 29 carried 50 beds, mattresses, and 6 laptop computers. These items which will be put to immediate use caring for earthquake victims and low-income families in Haiti.
In August 2010, MedShare’s Senior Biomedical Engineer Eben Armstrong was able to visit Hopital Bienfaisance de Pignon. Eben worked on-site to train Haitian medical staff members on how to use and repair biomedical equipment, and left extremely impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the staff.