MedShare was pleased to host the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., at its Headquarters and Southeast Distribution Center in Decatur. MedShare and The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rev. Jackson’s organization, discussed opportunities to provide medical supplies and equipment to support the healthcare issues that thousands of East Africans are facing as a result of the famine. From the earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in the South Pacific and tornadoes in Alabama, MedShare has a history of successfully sending medical relief in response to urgent humanitarian needs. To help, sign up to volunteer or donate at www.medshare.org.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Visiting MedShare to Address East Africa’s Famine
Rev. Jesse Jackson visiting Atlanta-based nonprofit to initiate humanitarian aid shipments to those suffering in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya
The U.N. fears that thousands have died due to hunger, and Rev. Jackson hopes to partner with MedShare to mobilize his influence to send humanitarian aid to treat those suffering from malnutrition in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya.
“According to the UN World Food Program, over 11 million people are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa,” says Rev. Jackson. “In Kenya, an estimated 3.6 million people have been affected; this includes refugees, rural pastoralists, and urban poor who are unable to buy adequate food because of escalating prices. In Ethiopia, at least 4.5 million people are in need of assistance. I strongly believe that we can show how compassionate we are as a country by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless.”
“MedShare is honored to host the Revs. Jackson and Lowery, and explore opportunities for medical supplies and equipment that we can provide to address the healthcare issues that thousands of East Africans are facing as a result of the famine,” says A.B. Short, CEO and Co-founder of MedShare.
“I am in this world to make a difference one soul at a time. To me, there is nothing better that I would rather spend my time on than helping the poor get access to medical care,” says registered nurse Kidist Bitew.
Kidist is a native of Nejo, Ethiopia, who visited MedShare’s Western Region Medical Team Store last October to pick up just over 50 pounds of medical supplies for Nejo Hospital, located 320 miles west of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.
Nejo Hospital is the only one in the area serving more than 350,000 people. It has only four physicians: one surgeon and three general practitioners. There are eight patient beds per room regardless of the illness. Nejo Hospital has only two private rooms and they are reserved for TB patients. The majority of Nejo’s population lives on less than a dollar a day. Poverty, severe unemployment, and infant mortality are widespread. Patients travel 6-8 hours by foot to receive treatment from the hospital and they are often treated free of charge.
Kidist plans to return to Nejo each year. She is using her medical mission trips to establish long-term relationships with Nejo Hospital and the surrounding cities/health centers. Through education, she is teaching the community about prevention and/or reduction in the spread of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDs. Together, they have established a goal to reduce the spread of infectious disease by at least 25% by the year 2015.
Kidist is currently raising money to send a 40-foot container to Nejo. “For our third mission trip we are planning to ship a container filled with donated medical equipment and basic medications by July 2011. These items will include gloves, dressings, safety needles, fetal monitors, beds, mattresses, X-ray viewing light, ultrasound machines, anesthesia machine and X-ray machine, mosquito nets and other soft medical supplies.”
This is an excerpt from June’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a story of our oldest volunteer and how we’re supporting the world’s soon-to-be newest nation – click here.
On October 21, 2010, Dr. David Gordon, a UCSF-trained pediatrician with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Gondar, Ethiopia, visited MedShare to pick-up supplies before returning to Africa. Dr. Gordon, or Dave, as he prefers to be called, captivated the staff with the struggles and limitations of the Gondar Medical College, which is the only tertiary care hospital in the region.
According to Dave, the hospital “struggles to find ambu bags and pediatric masks during emergencies, our anti-TB medications regularly run out of stock, and many basic laboratory tests are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.” Among the equipment deficiencies that have impacted the hospital most severely has been that of glucometers. There is a substantial epidemic of Type One diabetes in the region’s population, and the hospital admits three or four new onset diabetics per month.
The children there experience another deficiency; due to a complete lack of toys, the children in the pediatric ward have no visual or sensory stimulation. Dave makes toys for them out of string and bottle caps, wood, or whatever he can get his hands on. His stories moved many of MedShare’s volunteers, and some wanted to create and ship dolls for the children there.*
Once Dave started shopping at the MedShare Medical Team store, the staff and volunteers filled Dave’s boxes and backpack with the much-needed glucometers, test strips, ambu bags, O2 tubing, pediatric masks, and much more! A few weeks after his return to the hospital, the director of the hospital, Dr. Mehretie Kokil, sent MedShare some very kind words of thanks:
“The care given to children in our pediatrics ward is compromised by a paucity of available medical equipment. Providers cannot measure vital signs due to a shortage of thermometers and blood pressure cuffs; they cannot follow blood sugar at the bedside of diabetics due to a shortage of glucometers, and they are not able to resuscitate the sickest children due to a shortage of oxygenation and ventilation equipment. The lack of equipment compromises medical education as well. Your contribution to our facility here in Gondar has greatly expanded our bedside diagnostic capabilities and our ability to instruct the future physicians of Ethiopia. Thank you for your help and support.”
*If you’d like to send toys for the kids, ship them to: Gondar Medical College, PO Box 911, Gondar, Ethiopia Attn: Dr. David Gordon
This story is an excerpt from our March e-newsletter. Click here to read the entire newsletter, featuring stories of an inspiring volunteer and MedShare’s service to women in honor of International Women’s Day.