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.

MedShare & Emory University’s Family Farm Worker Health Program

Each year, faculty and students from Emory University’s School of Nursing travel to south Georgia as part of their Family Farm Worker Health Program, a two-week intensive immersion learning experience that provides health care to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families. MedShare is proud to support this program by providing medical supplies to Emory’s team for their trip.*

This morning, nursing students from Emory volunteered at MedShare to sort medical supplies and prepare for their trip. Judith Wold, PhD, RN, Project Director and Visiting Professor, took a moment to share information about their program, upcoming trip, and the important role that MedShare plays in it.

As with all partners, we are grateful for our working relationship with Emory University and Emory Healthcare. From donating medical supplies and equipment to providing volunteers each month, thanks for all that you do to help us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need!

Emory University School of Nursing students sort medical supplies

To view more photos of Emory’s nursing students volunteering, click here.

*If you’re not familiar with MedShare’s Medical Team Store, we often equip medical mission teams with supplies for their work in impoverished hospitals and clinics in developing countries. In our 12-year history, we’ve provided supplies for more than 1,500 teams. To learn more, click here.

Medical Missions in Quezon City, Philippines

A Servants of Mary sister and patients with medical supplies from MedShare

Quezon City, the most populous city in the Philippines, boasts not only warm weather year-round, but also an unfortunate problem with Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious disease caused by the “tubercle bacilli” bacteria which affect the lungs, and can also attack parts of the body such as bones, intestines, and kidneys.

Dr. Antonieta Inumerable, head of the Quezon City Health Department, says, “one third of the world population has TB infection and 1.9 million people die every year because of TB.” Among 22 countries with widely-known TB issues, the Philippines rank ninth, and averages 75 Filipino fatalities daily. TB ranks eight among the ten leading causes of illness in Quezon City, and sixth among the ten leading causes of death.

It was with this in mind that The Servants of Mary, a medical team who heard about MedShare from their local Wells Fargo Bank, have served in Quezon City for eight years. Spearheaded by Sr. Maria Del Carmen Voga, the Mother Superior of the Servants of Mary in Quezon City, a clinic was started in 2003 to provide free medical care. Their main focus, in addition to preventation and urgent care, is fighting TB. Last year, their clinic saw 16,237 patients, and gave TB meds to 430 patients.

Sr. Maria’s sister, Gladys, visited MedShare’s Western Region Medical Team Store last November to collect supplies for their clinic. The store offers medical mission teams a cost effective option for items they will need on their mission trips.  We are proud to help supply their mission and support the ongoing battle with TB.

Below are words of thanks and photos from the clinic:

On behalf of Servant of Mary in Quezon City, Philippines I want to thank you for all your generosity and help. Your help has been a blessing for the many needy families that we assist. I arrived in the Philippines on Oct 10 with your donated supplies. The Sisters and the community we serve want to say a Big Thank you to all of you.

Servant of Mary
Sor Maria del Carmen Vega

To learn more about our Medical Team Store, click here.

This is an excerpt from our April e-newsletter. To read more – including stories of MedShare’s environmental impact and a biomedical engineer volunteer – click here.

Norcross First United Methodist Church’s Passion for Rubin Dario, Nicaragua

Norcross First United Methodist Church supports Dr. Medina's clinic in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and Rubin Dario, a small village near Leon, is considered one of the top 10 “most-at-risk” communities in the country. Unemployment is rampant, health problems are a part of everyday life, and 70% of the population lives on less than $2 US dollars per day. If a little help can go a long way in a community like this, imagine how far long-term commitment to help could go.

That’s exactly what dedicated members of Norcross First United Methodist Church have done. Their congregation is so dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Nicaraguans that they’ve taken Rubin Dario under their wing, and for the past seven years, five times a year, the group has worked to better that community. As LuRae Ahrendt, R.N., says, “we really care about the overall health and welfare of the community.”

Children's feeding program

This relationship began in 2005, when a small mission team from Norcross First United Methodist Church first visited Ruben Dario. The team found poor children being fed out of a bar. They vowed to make a change, believing that no child should learn to go to a bar to get their needs met. A vision was born and it grew into passion. Their goal is to work with, not for, the people of Ruben Dario. They’re accomplishing that by working directly with school superintendents, teachers, doctors, and local community leaders.

MedShare’s Medical Team Store has supported at least seven of NFUMC’s medical mission trips to Nicaragua, most recently in November 2010. The group carried eight suitcases of medical supplies; at 50 lbs each, they took almost 400 pounds of supplies to Nicaragua!

Water filtration system

On the trip, medical mission members accomplished a lot, including installing a water filtration system and working alongside Nicaraguan Dr. Alonzo Medina in Rubin Dario clinic. The NFUMC team worked in OB-GYN, did well-health baby checks, and gave community presentations on teen sexuality and kidney care. LuRae recalled a teenage mom who brought her 6-month old baby to the clinic; the child had dysentery and was severely dehydrated. As it turns out, it was through lack of education that the child had gotten sick – not lack of caring. As LuRae sat with mom and child all morning, she both rehydrated the child and taught the mom the concept of hydration. This young girl’s education was so lacking that she didn’t understand the concept of fluids going in resulted in fluids coming out. With a bit of care, clean water, MedShare supplies, both the mom and child left the clinic improved.

The NFUMC team has accomplished many things in the years they have been working with Rubin Dario: they’ve built onto the existing clinic, put three water systems into the community, started a primary school feeding program, implemented a home building program, rebuilt homes, started a sewing co-op, built walls around the school, and put a water foundation in the school.

On the home front, MedShare was pleased to have Dr. Medina visit our headquarters last week to tour the facility and give a brief presentation on the clinics supported by our Medical Team Store in Nicaragua. Both parties are further exploring how we can provide more assistance to these clinics and reach the surrounding rural areas.

(This story is an excerpt from our February e-newsletter. To read the entire newsletter – featuring MedShare’s relationship with Ecuador– click here.)