MedShare Delivers PET Vehicle in Quito

By Marco Galarza, MedShare’s Regional Representative, Ecuador

Julio Congo Anangono has a 50% disability in his lower body

Julio Esteban Congo Anangono is a 30 year old young man with a 50% disability in his lower body, due to a childhood Poliomyelitis infection. Julio works each day from 7am to 5pm, guarding over parked cars for tips in the La Carolina Parking Lot on Los Shiris Avenue in Quito. All the tips he makes each day go back to supporting himself and his mother, who is elderly and cannot work. The family lives in a state of desperate poverty.

The Prefect of Esmeraldas, Lucia Sosa Robinson, received several Personal Energy Transportation (PET) Vehicles on a container shipped to her from MedShare last year, and generously agreed to let me, MedShare’s Regional Representative in Ecuador Marco Galarza, donate one PET to Julio. When Julio received the gift on Friday afternoon, January 28, he was both joyful and grateful for the assistance, saying that it would greatly facilitate his mobility around the parking lot allow him to bring home more earnings to support his family.

PET Recipient Julio Congo Anangono

Julio Esteban Congo Anangono with MedShare's Marco Galarza Yanez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Prefect Lucia Sosa Robinson, PET International, and MedShare for making this humanitarian project possible.

Watch video of Julio’s affected walking prior to receiving the PET

In the News: MedShare, Kimberly-Clark and the ANF

Nicaragua

Thanks to the generous support of Kimberly-Clark, MedShare shipped a forty-foot container of medical supplies and equipment to the American Nicaraguan Foundation (ANF) in Managua, Nicaragua this September. The shipment was recently featured on a Nicaraguan news program, La Prensa.

The ANF is a 501 c (3) not-for profit organization rated as a four star charity by Charity Navigator whose mission is to help the neediest sectors in Nicaragua by strengthening medical assistance, increasing educational attainment, building safe shelters, providing clean water solutions, promoting economic opportunity, and delivering humanitarian aid to impoverished communities all over Nicaragua.

In total, MedShare has shipped four containers to ANF, one in 2003, one in 2004, one in June 2010 and one in September 2010; the latter two were sponsored by Kimberly-Clark.

In Nicaragua, 1 in 2 people live in extreme poverty, 3 in 10 kids are malnourished, and there is 1 doctor for every 2,700 citizens. Medical supplies and equipment are desperately needed there.  Click here to view a powerful video created by a dedicated ANF volunteer that depicts the lives of Nicaraguans the difference ANF’s work makes.

MedShare donated supplies in Nicaragua

MedShare supplies on La Prensa

Watch the video below to view the ANF and MedShare story that aired on La Prensa:

Translation:
Kimberly-Clark, through MedShare, a nonprofit located in the United States whose mission is to improve the environment and healthcare through the efficient recovery and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment to underserved healthcare facilities in developing countries, donated more than 1,500,000 Nicaraguan córdoba in medical supplies and equipment. This donation was made possible through a strategic partnership with Kimberly-Clark and the American Nicaraguan Foundation. The donations are really important because they’re improving the country’s health sector, which is a very important part of the country’s well-being. We’ll now make a presentation of the supplies and equipment donated by MedShare.

Among the items included in September’s shipment were:

  • Baby Care Kits
  • Electric Beds
  • Diapers
  • Gloves
  • PET Vehicles
  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Exam Lamps
  • Wheelchairs

We’d like to give a special thanks to Kimberly-Clark, without whom this shipment would not have been possible. Kimberly-Clark sponsored the MedShare fees, shipping costs, facilitated customs clearance, and even had a ceremony (depicted in the video) during which they presented the MedShare-donated supplies to ANF.

(Another) Letter from the field: St. Damien Hospital, Haiti

Father Rick Frechette

MedShare supports St. Damien Hospital, the premier pediatric hospital in Haiti that provides all services free of charge.  Currently, the hospital is overwhelmed with cholera cases.

As he did in November, St. Damien Doctor and Mission Director Father Rick Frechette wrote another letter describing the situation in Haiti that we wanted to share with you:

Dear Friends,

Gaudete, in Domino semper!
Rejoice in the Lord, always!

These words that begin mass today, the third Sunday of Advent, give rise to the name “Gaudete Sunday”. Today is unusual in that it is one of only two Sundays of the year where the priest wears pink vestments.

Since the normal color for both advent and lent is purple, (for contrition, woundedness and preparation), we well might consider pink a “softer purple.” Its not the gold or white of the usual rejoicing, but rather there still is an element of the drudgery. And yet a happy escape from it too. “Christmas is close, the Savior is near, take a moment to breath, don’t weaken.”

I am up earlier than planned, at 1 am, because off the death of a child in our cholera camp. Our camp is called “St Philomena,” after Sister Philomena Perreault who helped us in Haiti for so many years. As we light the pink candle of the advent wreath in a few more hours, we will also remember one more life that was snuffed out by a dreadful disease, and the tears and crying of the mother. We are all the poorer for this death, for every death.

Purple is also a part of the black and blue of the healing injury, the bleed under the skin. It’s a good color to represent the people of Haiti this year who have received more than their fair share of life’s blows.

Back to our camp. You have to try to imagine the 16 huge tents, spread out on gravel, extension chords bringing feeble power everywhere. Two washing machines under a tent, filled by buckets, dumping into a big dug hole, wash endless loads of sheets stained with deadly diarrhea. Twenty to thirty people a day are carried in, floppy bodies, by hook or by crook, even in these days of riots they somehow break through barricades. Rivers of Ringers Lactate flow through our endless tubing to revive them. Most do well. In fact, of almost 900 people who have come to us sick, only 15 have died of cholera. This is sad, yet we are encouraged that most people by far have fought and done well. None of our staff have contracted cholera after these many weeks of intense work, nor have we tracked it into our St Damien or St Luke hospital.

Still, our supplies run out, we can’t manage too much on site for emergencies, resuscitation, special medicines or tests, tension run high, tight nerves in strained doctors and patients make for a good bit of drudgery. But, we put Tang in our rehydration drinks, a Christmas tree and other lights try to make the nights a little festive, we have a big TV for those who are able to sit up and watch it and forget life for a while, and we try to keep everyone supplied with wonderful Christmas presents: a bar of soap, some toothpaste, a toothbrush, a towel.

I mentioned in a previous message the many medical challenges: the pregnant woman with cholera, the baby born in a cholera tent, the patients with heart disease who need loads of fluid fast and whose hearts can’t handle it. We had another unusual challenge: a prisoner with cholera was brought at midnight. The police wanted us to handcuff him to his cot. We refused. It is cruel to cuff a sick patient to a hospital bed. Crueler still to chain someone with massive diarrhea to a bed.

So the police kept watch instead. During the following afternoon, the prisoner said to the police he had to go down to the toilettes, and off he went with his hospital gown and carrying his IV bag high in the air. And he kept going, and going…and that was that, right out the gate. He escaped in a hospital gown with his IV in hand.

You have read of the riots these days. I spent two afternoons in the middle of them, driving around town picking up people we needed to help us. Imagine the problems riots bring in addition to being riots. You have 16 portable toilettes for cholera-diarrhea and the honey truck can’t pass through the streets to empty them. It’s not pretty. Your doctors and nurses can’t get to work. Stores are closed for days, in case you need more toilette paper, soap, laundry detergent, food, Tang, or cash.

The way we got around the city was something. I made an arrangement with 20 thugs, for a day’s pay. They were leaders in the riots in our part of the city. Three went ahead of my truck on motorcycles, and 17 rode with us in the back. We drove through the burning and barricaded city, while they pushed barricades out of the way and tangled with anyone who tried to stop us. It worked so well, I also did it the next day. It’s how we got essential staff to the hospital and the tents. Needless to say from the burning tires and debris we were covered with soot, so hard to get out that even after three showers we looked like we were wearing mascara.

As if this weren’t trying enough, the skies turned gray for two days, and drizzled lightly, not enough to put out the fires but enough that our hundred of washed sheets wouldn’t’dry. And when the sun finally did come out, so did small hornets, by the thousands, and they covered us. Sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. Ask Patty Rowland, who is back for a second round of 10 days to help at St Philomena.

Purple?  Yes.
Just the right color.

Pick today?
Yes, very welcome.

Gaudete? Rejoice?
Yes, We still find the way.
I trust you do too.

Hope is the key, and it really does spring eternal.

As always, count on our thanks and prayers, in exchange for yours. Thanks for the help that keeps us going and not doing too badly. Merry Christmas as it gets very near.

Fr Rick Frechette CP

For more information on MedShare’s ongoing relief efforts in Haiti or to donate, visit our Help for Haiti page.

(photo via nph.org)

MedShare Ships Container to the Bo Government Hospital in Sierra Leone

Bo, Sierra Leone

This morning, MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center in Decatur, Georgia loaded and shipped a container of medical humanitarian aid for the Bo Government Hospital in Sierra Leone.  This shipment was generously sponsored by the Leon Sullivan Foundation.

The container is carrying over one thousand pieces of medical supplies and equipment which were individually selected by the medical staff at Bo Government Hospital, where resources are scarce and most patients are too poor to pay for services.  Some of the items include: a birthing bed, a ventilator, a sterilizer, a defibrillator, as well as hundreds of bandages, gloves, IV kits,  and other disposables.

MedShare's Eben Amstrong and Amanda Paniagua with the loaded container

Warehouse staff loading the truck

Click here to see a video of MedShare’s Senior Biomed Engineer Eben Amstrong speak about his recent visit to Sierra Leone and the equipment we sent:

Click here to see a video of MedShare’s Shipments Manager Amanda Paniagua give a word of thanks before the truck left our headquarters:

 

Letter from the field: St. Damien Hospital, Haiti.

Patients at St. Damien Hospital

MedShare supports St. Damien Hospital, the premier pediatric hospital in Haiti that provides all services free of charge.  Currently, the hospital is overwhelmed with cholera cases.

St. Damien Doctor and Mission Director Father Rick Frechette wrote a report describing the cholera situation in Haiti that we wanted to share with you:

Dear Friends,

I worked all night at our cholera treatment area, and during the night I saw a comparison I never would have imagined. Stepping out of the tents for fresh air from time to time, I saw the pearly white  crescent moon overhead, beautiful and calming. Inside the tents, also set against a deep darkness, the eyes of the most severe of the sick people have the same form. Eyes sunk deeply to that the whites of the eye stay below the upper eyelid, with the eye rolled upward toward the forehead. Two crescent moons. It is a scary sight to see the depth of the apathy and surrender, not an ounce of fight left. It is sadder still to see it in children.

The last time I wrote there were about 4,300 reported cases of cholera in Haiti. That number is climbing to 20,000 with 1000 deaths. I read reports that about 200,000 cases are anticipated before there is a decline. We are setting up two more tents of 16 cots each, which will put our small base at 100 beds. You can believe me that even 100 people represent enormous human suffering, as well as enormous devotion (and work!).

The public morgue will not accept bodies, for fear of cholera. You cannot even bring the garbage to the normal dump without getting stoned by the neighbours for fear of cholera. We are cremating our own dead. It is sobering to be the one to push the furnace button, after placing the child inside. All night I see how closely the parents cling to their children, accepting to sleep in the most difficult positions as they find the best way to hold their child. I watch them and admire them, but the in the case of the children I am sure will die, it seems so unfair that the children are slipping away from such tender arms. The last arms to hold them are mine, as I place them in the crematorium. The grief of the mothers is as difficult for us to take as the illness.

In the book of revelations, St John says he saw a woman “Clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” I still believe if there is a moon nearby, so is that special woman, who Christians believe to be with us in joys and in sorrows, and at the hour of our death.

Fr. Rick Frechette

Father Rick was also interviewed on the Univision Network last week to speak more about the sitiation. Click here to view the video.

For more information on MedShare’s ongoing relief efforts in Haiti or to donate, visit our Help for Haiti page.

Patients at St. Damien Hospital

Patients at St. Damien Hospital

Medical Aid for Nicaragua

We often forget how blessed we are as a nation to have a strong healthcare system, and in spite of going through the hard times of a recession, a strong overall economy compared to the majority of our global friends.  Nicaraugua, for example, 1 in 2 people live in extreme poverty, 3 in 10 kids are malnourished, and there is 1 doctor for every 2,700 citizens.  Step into their lives and imagine that for a moment.

Children of Nicaragua

Friday, June 25, 2010, MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center loaded and shipped a 40 foot container with medical supplies and equipment for the AMERICAN NICARAGUAN FOUNDATION in Managua, Nicaragua. The American Nicaraguan Foundation (ANF) is a 501 c (3) not-for profit organization rated as a four star charity by Charity Navigator. The ANF mission is to help the neediest sectors in Nicaragua by strengthening medical assistance, increasing educational attainment, building safe shelters, providing clean water solutions, promoting economic opportunity, and delivery humanitarian aid to impoverished communities all over Nicaragua.

Medical supplies and equipment are desperately needed there. The MedShare container that shipped out today is carrying over 14,000 lbs of medical humanitarian aid items, including blood pressure machines, a sterilizer, a defibrillator, 2 pulse oximeters, 2 electric hospital beds, boxes of baby lotion, hydrogen peroxide, sutures, surgical drapes, arm slings, surgical gloves, medical text books, gauze sponges, and much more. When the ANF receives these items, they will distribute them to 5 different under-resourced medical centers in the capital city of Managua, including: Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Dispensario San Martin , Dispensario Monte Tabor, and Dispensario San Judas Tadeo.

Very special thanks goes out to the Kimberly Clark- Kimnica S.A. office in Managua and the Kimberly Clark Foundation, the corporate sponsors of this humanitarian project!

How MedShare Supplies Saved One Nigerien Baby’s Eyesight

Nigerien people in 2007 unloading medical supplies

In 2007, MedShare shipped a forty-foot container of medical supplies to Kirker Hospital in Maine-Soroa, Niger, ranked by the UN as the poorest country in the world and an infant mortality rate of almost 15%.  This past November, we shipped another container of supplies and equipment, which is currently en route to Niger.

The hospital was established and run by Dr. William Kirker, who served there back in the 1960s during his time in the Peace Corps.  Here is a powerful story from Dr. Kirker of how MedShare’s medical supplies saved one little boy from going blind:

This little boy, we will call “Little Issa” (Issa is his real name). He came to me some time back with a serious upper eyelid tumor, distorting his vision by deforming his cornea.  He would have been blind in that eye in a few more months if his parents not brought him in to see me.

As you also can see he was rather undernourished at the start, but we took care of this. I saw him in the office and administered a MAP supplied, mild, overall sedative and a local MAP supplied eyeball anesthetic. After a couple of minutes I used MEDSHARE supplied sterile drapes, gloves and surgical eye instruments (without these specialized eye-only instruments that Medshare supplied, the surgery could not have been done).

Little Issa after his eye surgery

Eye instruments are delicate and general surgical instruments are much larger and bulkier and dangerous to try and use in a delicate eye operation.  After the operation, he was given MAP supplied eye and general antibiotics and pain relievers and hospitalized with a Medshare supplied bandage eye patch on him.

His recovery was uneventful and we followed his eye progress and filled him full of nutritious foods to combat his under nutrition. He then made a nice recover from both his eye problem and under nutrition. He went home with good vision in both eyes and a much healthier and well nourished baby boy.