On October 16th, 2010, a group of MedShare Board Members and staff traveled to Ghana to visit recipient hospitals and clinics, provide biomedical training to local medical technicians, and deliver bags of medical supplies to various projects supported by Peace Corps volunteers.
The contingent included Board Members (and spouses) Thomas and Spring Asher, Terry Blum and son Luke, Paul and Jill Paris, Anne Sterchi, Maryann Toub, Andy Pines and daughter Molly, MedShare staff Eben Amstrong, Nell Diallo, Stephanie Greene and A.B. Short, and KSU Professor Ardith Peters. As Maryann, Stephanie, and Andy’s wife are all returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCV), they had a special connection to the volunteers to whom supplies were delivered. Each traveler committed a portion of their baggage to carrying MedTeam supplies; a total of almost 250 pounds were transported this way.
Peace Corps volunteer Dylan Brown works in the Yilo Krobo district of Ghana in Obawale, and he coordinated getting MedShare supplies to the Obawale Clinic. He said, “The clinic has received the supplies and everyone was very excited and happy to see all that was received. The supplies are currently being used for villagers and their needs. Two weeks ago, there was a birth and the mother was supplied with diapers that she otherwise would not have been able to purchase. ” To read more about the Peace Corps volunteers, click here to read Molly Pines’ blog account of the trip.
Among the locations visited were the FOCOS Spine Center and Orthopedic Hospital, Kunta Kinte, Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, La General Hospital, Korle Bu Hospital, and Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
While there, MedShare’s Senior Biomedical Engineer Eben Amstrong trained 52 Technicians, Technologists, Engineers, and Users of equipment from Benin, Togo, and Ghana. The theme for the training was “Servicing Technology to Save Lives.” Among the things they learned were how to operate anesthesia machines, defibrillators, and vital sign monitors, as well as how to repair equipment. The training sessions were held in Ridge Regional Hospital and Korle Bu Hospital, Accra.
Board member Terry Blum said, “We observed the utilization of equipment and supplies make a difference for those who were being served, but there is still an incredible gap that needs to be bridged. This was most blatant in a neo-natal nursery (Okomofo Anokye Teaching Hospital) that was built to hold 60 sick babies. Because of the demand there were more than 200 babies nestled shoulder to shoulder with up to 4 babies sharing a crib, and some asleep on a desk. I am so fortunate to be affiliated with MedShare in their challenging opportunity to bridge the gap between surplus and need while being ever cognizant of the dignity of those who are served.”
The trip to Ghana marked the Board of Trustees’ third trip; the first two were to Guatemala and Ecuador. If you are intersted in joining a future trip, please contact the Development Office at 770-323-5858 ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This story is an excerpt from our January e-newsletter. To read the entire newsletter – featuring stories of 2010 in review and a volunteer profile on Deborah Printz – click here.)