Ecuador Impact Trip: The Power of Strategic Partnerships

The following entry was written by 2018 Impact Trip team member, Pat Shepherd. She is an Administrative Director at Sutter Health and leads Sutter’s Supply Chain Services for their Bay Area Operating Unit. She has been a tireless advocate for MedShare’s mission and has established an infrastructure within Sutter in support of our hospital recovery program. This is Pat’s first Impact Trip with MedShare.

 

MedShare Impact Trip, Day 1:

We visited Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil’s main office where we learned about the organization’s 130 year history of delivering healthcare for the underserved in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and its surrounding areas.

Junta’s Director, Ernesto Noboa, shared with the MedShare delegation its rich history and its current situation.  It delivers medical care in its four hospitals, runs two orphanages and two homes for the elderly, and finally provides two cemeteries – a cradle to grave continuum of caring.  Junta is the largest not for profit healthcare organization in Latin America.

We were very impressed with the efficiency and professionalism of the Junta-run and supported care sites.  Because of its performance, the organization has been enlisted by the Ecuadorian government to run four hospitals.  One hundred percent of Ecuador’s lottery net proceeds are used to fund medical services.  However, these funds are not sufficient to meet the care of Guayaquil’s medically needy.

Although services have significantly increased due to a governmental policy of the universal healthcare, we learned that the new administration has not been paying Junta and others resulting in very significant financial stress. Our shipments of supplies and equipment are needed now more than ever.

 

Earthquake in Ecuador

In April of 2016, a 7.8 earthquake shook Ecuador, which resulted in nearly 700 deaths and thousands of injuries.  The hardest hit area was in the northern part of the country bordering Colombia.  Its distant and remote location made delivering much needed medical supplies a dangerous mission.  The roads are treacherous and the drive to Esmeralda is unsafe due to drug trafficking activities.  It is also the home of the most underserved community – former African slaves.

Without Junta’s partnership, it would have been impossible for MedShare to deliver urgently needed medical supplies.   MedShare quickly mobilized and delivered a container of supplies to Ecuador where they were received by Junta and directly delivered via truck over the difficult and dangerous nine hour drive to the devastated site.  In addition to its quick response, MedShare provided the expertise in helping Junta develop a list of needed supplies that were appropriate for the immediate response after an earthquake.

On this Impact trip, we received a taste of Junta’s organization, its capabilities and the difficulties they faced in delivering the MedShare supplies.  It was clear to all of us that without this strategic partnership – the all-important “boots on the ground” – MedShare could not reach the earthquake victims.  For me, the trip to the mountainous Andes was an eye-opener.  I certainly was naive to the complexities of getting the supplies – I was so instrumental in collecting at my hospitals – to their final destination for patient care. Working together, the two organizations demonstrated the true meaning of the word “partnership”.

 

Read more from Pat Shepherd on #ImpactEcuador…

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Today is International Volunteer Day!

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This day of celebration offers an opportunity for organizations like MedShare to lift up the impact that volunteers make in our local and global communities. Nearly 20,000 individuals spend time at MedShare’s San Leandro and Atlanta distribution centers each year. Our dedicated volunteers invest their time to sort 15,000 of pounds of surplus medical supplies that have been diverted from local landfills every week. This perfectly usable product is used to treat recipients in need of healthcare in 95 countries throughout the world.

Today and every day, we thank our volunteers for helping us build healthy communities locally and globally.

 

Addressing cholera in Haiti

The ongoing Haiti cholera outbreak is the worst epidemic of cholera in recent history, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a little over two years it has killed more than 7,900 Haitians and hospitalized hundreds of thousands. With this in mind, MedShare’s Western Regional Council decided to support St. Damien’s Hospital in Haiti by raising funds to ship them critically-needed medical aid. These supplies have already made a significant impact at the hospital. MedShare recently received this note of appreciation from our friend Wynn Walent, St. Damien’s National Director Assistant. Please take a moment to read his positive feedback, and see what we are able to accomplish together.

“We really do appreciate your support a great deal! So many of our patient’s lives are touched by the enormous support of MedShare. We are grateful for the friendship and resources provided by MedShare and are happy to share one such example.

The Paul family came to our cholera treatment center from roughly two hours away, just North of the rural town of Kenscoff. Two of the Paul children, ages 2 and 4, had come down suddenly with symptoms of cholera and were severely dehydrated upon arrival. Shortly after arrival, Mimause, the mother of the young children, also came down with symptoms. Thanks to the generous support of MedShare, not only was our pediatric center well stocked and prepared for the children, but our adult center was able to provide life saving treatment to Mimause as well.

As the cholera epidemic has faded from the headlines, funding our cholera efforts has become more and more difficult, and thanks to the support of MedShare, we’ve been able to see over 35,000 patients since the end of 2010. Essential donations such as IV sets and catheters have been essential to this work. In addition, medical equipment such as scales, infant warmers, pulse oximeters, and oxygen concentrators allow our staff to provide the highest level of care for our patients. MedShare’s system of ordering and delivering is incredibly efficient and effective and we always receive only what we requested. The supplies are high quality and well organized on delivery. We can’t thank MedShare enough for their vital support!”

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Berean Christian Church helps us send off a container to Uganda!

On Monday, August 12, MedShare had the pleasure of sending off a 40-foot container of medical aid to Uganda, sponsored by the generous Berean Christian Church.

Berean came strongly represented to witness the send off of the container to their partner hospital, Lion of Judah. This is an urban hospital funded entirely by donations, and has an approximate annual budget of $130,000, less than the value of the shipment we sent them. They serve around 12,000 patients per year, and the most pressing healthcare issues are cases of tropical diseases and STDs, but the Lion of Judah medical center provides a wide variety of medical services, from primary, general and emergency care to family planning, Obs/gyn, pediatrics, and orthopedics. MedShare has provided general medical supplies, such as bandages, catheters, dressings, gloves, gowns, I.V. supplies, masks, needles, surgical packs and syringes, plus durable medical equipment (DME) like crutches and walkers, as well as surgical instruments. MedShare also provided two hospital beds, one stretcher, and three exam tables, along with various pieces of Biomedical equipment, such as CPAP/BIPAP machines, a patients lift, a defibrillator, and an electrosurgical machine.

The group was led by head pastor and founder, Dr. Kerwin Lee and his First Lady. Witnessing the event were two officials from Bayelsa State, Nigeria, sent by their Governor.

Berean has chosen Uganda as their primary international outreach project. In addition to this container sponsorship, the church led a 20 member delegation to Uganda this past July for a mission trip that included medical staff that were able to treat large numbers of patients. Berean has been an outstanding partner to MedShare, sending 108 volunteers to sort 971 boxes over 324 hours! We look forward to continuing this partnership with Berean, and are so thankful for their support! Please click below to view pictures from our send off ceremony.

Food for Thought: Hospital Pricing in Kenya

Last week, Barbara Bonar toured MedShare’s Western Region. Barbara represents Miranga Hospital in Kenya, a potential container recipient.

The photo below was taken at Miranga Hospital, and is one that Barbara shared with us. Take a look:

Pricing Structure at Miranga Hospital, Kenya

In 2007, the cost of an average birth in America was $8,800. Compare that to the pricing in the photo… Quite a discrepancy, no? This pricing structure is representative of the healthcare situation in many parts of Africa. It’s a stretch for many to be able to afford even these prices, so it’s vital that costs remain low.

This is where MedShare comes in, and why we’re proud to support hospitals like these. Our service of providing low-cost containers of medical supplies and equipment enables these hospitals to operate at a minimal cost and provide care to those in the world’s neediest countries.

What do you think about this? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Huffington Post: Sustainability, not Numbers, Equals Success

As part of the rebuilding of Haiti, the goal is sustainable health care improvements, so future patients aren’t doomed. International NGOs have raised over a billion dollars, but are the funds going to build a sustainable Haiti?  Read More on Huffington Post