San Jose State University Students Operate Mobile Health Clinic in Honduras

Dental issues, parasites, hypertension, bacterial infections and colds: these innocuous-when-treated medical issues can be lethal in a community lacking in resources and medical service.

In 2010, two groups of San Jose State University students committed to travel to Honduras to treat community members with illnesses like these with dignity and respect.

Volunteers serving in Honduras

A lofty goal, sure; but by recognizing the power of many and utilizing resources like MedShare’s MedTeam Store, these students served over 300 patients over the course of two trips in 2011.

Lily Yu, President of the San Jose State University Chapter of Global Medical Brigades, shared with us her account of the trip:

On behalf of the San Jose State University Global Medical Brigades team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the MedShare Team for all of your help and support once again.

San Jose State University students serving in Honduras

In the summer of 2010, a team of 20 students came together to achieve a common goal: provide access to health care to a part of the world where it was limited. With MedShare’s help, we were able to successfully operate mobile clinics to help treat some of the most preventable health issues in San Antonio de Oriente, Honduras.

Our first medical brigade was in January 2011, where we successfully mobilized a free clinic to Honduras, treating over 300 patients with severe wounds from working on sugarcane fields, intestinal parasites, hypertension, bacterial infections, dental issues, and coughs and colds that have turned lethal due to the community’s location and lack of resources. After this first brigade, we knew that our work could not end there. In order to keep healthcare accessible to this community, my team and I decided we needed to continue our efforts.

Children in Honduras

In February 2011, we assembled another team of 25 student volunteers to mobilize a clinic back to Honduras for a brigade on August 14-20, 2011. I reached out to MedShare, and was delighted to hear that we had your support once again. Because MedShare believed in our work, we were inspired to serve San Antonio de Oriente again, where many new patients lined up to receive the care they deserved. We see the positive impact we made in this community in January and in August, and know that our efforts have helped improve their quality of life.

MedShare has empowered our organization to help change and impact the world, one healthy patient at a time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope to continue our efforts with your support.

If you would like to learn more about MedShare’s Medical Mission Team Store, click here.

This story is an excerpt from our January e-news. To read more – including a story of fate’s role in a Haiti container delivery and an incredibly dedicated high school volunteer – click here.

Medical Mission to South Georgia Serves Farm Workers

Imagine working in dusty fields, day after day, doing the sort of backbreaking work that wears a body down. You have trouble speaking English, and your living situation leaves something to be desired. Now imagine that not only are you dealing with a nagging sore on your hand that won’t heal, but your child has a cold that won’t go away. With no insurance or healthcare provider to speak of, your options seem limited.

Enter the Family Farm Worker Health Program, a two-week intensive immersion learning experience that provides healthcare to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families in South Georgia each year. You now have hope.

Emory University School of Nursing student treats patients

Students from schools across the state of Georgia participate, including Emory University’s Nell Hodgson School of Nursing. The initiative, now in its 18th year, treated approximately 600 individuals during their June 12 – 24 mission trip this year.

MedShare is proud to support this program by providing medical supplies to Emory’s team through our Medical Mission Team Store. For a small donation, individuals can collect much-needed medical supplies for their mission trips; available supplies include sutures, gowns, gloves, gauze, and much more. In MedShare’s 13-year history, we’ve supported over 2,100 such teams.

Carrie White, an Emory University nursing student who participated in this year’s Familiy Farm Worker Health Program, kindly sent us her account of the trip:

“Two weeks down South have come and gone. It is hard to imagine that in two weeks time, we saw around 250 kids and 350 adults. Approximately 600 individuals received medical attention that otherwise wouldn’t have through the Family Migrant Farm Worker Program in Moultrie, GA. The Migrant Farm Worker Program, coordinated through Emory’s School of Nursing, would not be possible without the generous donations from our partners like MedShare.

Basic supplies such as lancets, clean needles, gauze and alcohol pads are something we take for granted in the hospital setting. In the community setting, on the other hand, resources are often scarce. With MedShare’s donations of medical supplies through their Medical Mission Team Store program, we were able to provide our patients in the migrant fields with basic health screenings such as testing their blood sugar and iron levels. We were able to assess their blood pressure, height and weight, and provide health promotion activities. Primary care for pertinent health issues among the migrant workers were treated more easily thanks to MedShare.

To see health disparities that are associated with living in a third-world country just hours from Atlanta, GA is something I feel one can never really prepare for. In fact, I believe nothing can truly prepare you for the world you step in the moment you drive down those dirt roads, or hold the hand of a small child who came with their migrant worker family. The experiences and education we gained during our two weeks in Moultrie, GA is an invaluable adjunct to any classroom setting that discusses community health.

The undergraduate nursing students who went to Moultrie, GA this summer were truly humbled by the experience. We were also amazed at the amount of medical supplies wasted by hospitals in the Atlanta area. We were so happy to put these supplies to good use in South Georgia, and we thank you MedShare for their continued support in our education and experiential training. It is through these interactions and opportunities, that we learn the true value of nursing and serving the needs of others in the humblest of settings.”

If you would like to learn more about MedShare’s Medical Mission Team Store, click here.

This is an excerpt from September’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a letter from CEO Meridith Rentz and our 700th container shipment celebration – click here.

Welcoming our TBFF Faiths Act Fellows to MedShare!

MedShare was chosen as a host site for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s (TBFF) Fellowship Program. Our Fellows, Sana Rahim and Clint Fluker, recently joined us, bringing with them a wealth of experience and talent.  Faiths Act is the Foundation’s multi-faith social action program which mobilizes people of faith to work together on issues of health and global poverty in order to help achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

We’d like to welcome them to you, our incredible supporters, with this short video:

Clint and Sana’s primary roles will be to facilitate volunteer opportunities among members of the faith community, work with Development and the MedTeam Program to help launch joint-faith container sponsorship projects and to spread the word about MedShare’s hand-carry program. They will also be working to fulfill the mission of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation by building bridges and developing mutual respect and understanding between different faith groups in the Atlanta community. If you’d like to meet them, sign up for a volunteer session here!

Welcome to MedShare, Clint and Sana!

Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Gondar, Ethiopia

Typical teaching session with medical students & Dr. Gordon – University Hospital, Gondar

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.