In Haiti, Fate Coincides Arrival of Atlanta Nonprofit’s Medical Shipment with Fatal Wreck

Shortly before midnight in Haiti on Monday, a truck’s brakes failed and it crashed into a small bus, then careened onto the sidewalk of one of Port-au-Prince’s busiest streets. An estimated 29 people were killed and 67 were injured. Fate coincided a same-day arrival of an ocean container of medical supplies and equipment, which will enable many to receive lifesaving treatment.

The oft-undersupplied Port-au-Prince’s Hopital General, where many of the survivors were taken, is able to provide treatment thanks to the Atlanta-based nonprofit MedShare.

“I thank you for the first container which arrived at a perfect time. The First Lady has ordered retrieval of the container immediately. There was a terrible accident in Port-au-Prince on Monday evening … The Hopital General in the city needs a lot of supplies,” says Mona Adam, Nurse, Special Envoy of the First Lady of Haiti, Sophie Martelly.

The ocean container was sent from MedShare, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that recovers and redistributes medical supplies and equipment. The container was sponsored by a metro Atlanta not-for-profit hospital. The container left Atlanta on December 1, 2011 and arrived in Haiti on January 16, 2012.

“The 1,000+ boxes of supplies on this shipment will make a difference to Haitians in their time of emergency,” says Meridith Rentz, CEO of MedShare. “Both before and after the 2010 earthquake, Haiti has held a special place in the heart of our organization, and we are committed to the ongoing strengthening of their healthcare system.”

In the organization’s 14 years, MedShare has shipped a total of 72 ocean containers containing over $8.8 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to Haiti. The most recent container left on January 11, 2012.


MedShare Ships Container to Afghanistan


On Wednesday, March 23, 2011, MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center in Decatur, Georgia loaded and shipped out a 40 foot container of medical humanitarian aid destined for Afghanistan.  The container, sponsored by EMERGENCY USA – Life Support for Civilian Victims of War and Poverty, is expected to arrive in the port of Karachi, Pakistan in mid-May, clear customs shortly after that and then be transported to its final destination at the EMERGENCY Surgical Centre for War Victims in Afghanistan. The shipment was generously sponsored by EMERGENCY USA, the US based partner organization of EMERGENCY Int’l.

EMERGENCY is an independent NGO that operates hospitals and rehabilitation centers in seven poverty-stricken countries around the world.  EMERGENCY hospitals employ local staff and offer free surgical services to the poor. Injuries caused by bullets, shells, mines, and other weapons of war are some of the most frequent medical problems seen at these hospitals.

They are four medical facilities in Afghanistan which will receive medical supplies from the MedShare container:

  • 95-bed surgical center in Kabul
  • 10-bed surgical center in Lashkar-gah
  • 70-bed general medical center in Anabah
  • 25-bed maternity centre in Anabah

EMERGENCY USA in coordination with the local EMERGENCY procurement officers were able to select over 1,400 individual boxes of medical supplies for the container from MedShare’s online inventory to be shipped on the container.  Included in these are:

  • gauze
  • elastic bandages
  • urinary catheters
  • crutches
  • adult diapers
  • surgical gloves
  • germicidal wipes
  • oxygen masks
  • syringes
  • an ultrasound machine with two probes

In a country with some of the worst health statistics in the world, where about 20% of children die before their 5th birthday and only about 1 in 4 people have access to clean water, these medical supplies will hopefully make an impact in supporting EMERGENCY’s noble efforts.

Many thanks to EMERGENCY USA, Todd Barnett, Emanuele Nannini, and all others who contributed to making this project a reality!

To view photos of the shipment, view our post from yesterday.