In the most underdeveloped countries in the world, children and adults suffer and die every day because their doctors, hospitals and clinics, do not have the necessary supplies and equipment to treat them. At the same time, U.S. hospitals and manufacturers discard an billions of dollars worth of medical supplies each year, much of which is useable surplus that could save lives, but is sent to landfills.
MedShare was founded in 1998 on the premise that both the humanitarian and environmental issues can, and should be addressed.
Our first shipment was made in May, 1999 and was sent to a recipient in Costa Rica. From these humble beginnings we have grown to be one of the largest shippers of medical aid in the country.
In 2001 we were up to 15 shipments and then in 2002 it doubled to 30. Skip forward a few years to 2009, when MedShare’s 500th forty-foot container of medical supplies and equipment is shipped. The shipment was sponsored by the newly-formed Southeastern Regional Council and was sent to benefit Santa Rosa Maternity Hospital in Ecuador.
Also in 2009, a mobile CT Scanner was donated to us by Catalina Imaging in Sacramento, CA. This 45-foot mobile imaging system is the largest single medical equipment donation MedShare has received. It was safely delivered to the capital of Zimbabwe where it is the only functioning CT system in public health in the country.
In October 2009, MedShare responded to its first international disaster when a tsunami struck American Samoa. MedShare was quick to respond to the medical needs after an earthquake and devastating tsunami struck American Samoa. In disaster relief situations such as this, basic medical supplies run out quickly. Within hours after MedShare received their custom order, volunteers and staff had picked the hundreds of boxes from the warehouse, wrapped them on shipping pallets, and then transported the truckloads to the Port of Oakland.
But nothing could have prepared us for the biggest disaster in the Western hemisphere in modern times. On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, I received a text from our CEO in Atlanta and we began our response planning.
Within hours we mobilized volunteers to help us prepare aid shipments, including, notably. In the first couple of weeks we shipped 11 containers of aid and provisioned 22 medical teams. Since the earthquake we have shipped 44 containers to help strengthen their fragile health system. In January of this year, I was privileged to visit Haiti once again. While the challenges will be significant for the country for many years to come, I can say with a high level of assurance that MedShare’s partnerships are having a demonstrable impact on the lives of many Haitian’s.
The 900th container of humanitarian aid that we shipped on April 9, 2013, is destined for John F Kennedy Medical Center located in Liberia’s capital City of Monrovia. The medical center serves a population that is struggling with significant health challenges, including hypertension, malnourishment, and HIV/AIDS. The US spends an average of $7,700 per capita on healthcare, while Liberia just spends 6/10 of 1 percent of that – a measly $49.
This shipment contains 1,000 boxes of critically needed medical supplies such as IV kits, gloves, needles and suture to help treat thousands of patients per year. Hospital beds, examination tables, an anesthesia machine, pulse oximeters, and even a centrifuge and a microscope for their lab.
Traveling at 17 knots, it will leave the Port of Oakland and be 50 days in transit and is set to arrive on June 2.
We’re excited about MedShare’s future, as together with the partners represented over these past 14+ years, we are confident of our ability to do even more good.
We acknowledge that there is significant opportunity to further enhance MedShare’s impact through more partnerships and collaborations at the local, national and international levels, and we invite each of you to help us deliver health and hope to more people around the world.