MedShare partner shows life-saving miracles start with small packages

The J. F. Kapnek Trust has been a MedShare partner for about five years, ever since Executive Director Dan Robbins, M.D. learned about our work in the San Francisco Bay area. “I can always find a large number of medical supplies at MedShare that meet the specific needs of the patients we serve,” he noted. “For example, adult catheters are of little use if what we really need are catheters for infants and children.”

robbins-suppliesAbove: Some of the supplies Dr. Dan Robbins has received from Medshare’s Western Region Distribution Center included pediatric cannulas and IV catheters for Harare Children’s Hospital in Zimbabwe.

The J.F. Kapnek Charitable Trust operates one of the largest pediatric HIV/AIDS transmission prevention programs in Africa. Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, one of southern Africa’s most impoverished countries, the organization serves approximately 400 birthing centers and 120,000 pregnant women.

In a country with a total population of 12 million, there are an estimated 2 million AIDS orphans. Over the past 40 years, the Trust’s programs, centered at Harare Children’s Hospital, have prevented thousands of new pediatric HIV and AIDS cases each year.

A practicing pediatrician on staff at the Oakland Children’s Hospital, Dr. Robbins has been taking medical supplies to Zimbabwe to assist health care professionals for about 10 years. “It’s been a moving experience for me because I had to confront the harsh reality that children in Zimbabwe died of the same diseases we can prevent here in the United States,” he said.

Robbins said medical supplies the Trust has received from MedShare have significantly helped the work of health care professionals at Harare Children’s Hospital. “Doctors there often run out of the supplies they needed to perform critical procedures,” he added. “Our partnership with MedShare has helped doctors in Zimbabwe save lives.”

A trailer packed with preschool items, wheelchairs, and medical supplies – some of those supplies from MedShare’s Western Region Distribution Center – left the San Francisco Bay area on Monday, March 31, 2014 bound for Zimbabwe. The Trust’s work project has tremendous support from the Lafayette, California community where it maintains a small office to support its work in Zimbabwe.

robbinspic2Dr. Dan Robbins (center photo, left), with medical staff members at Harare Children’s Hospital

Dan Robbins says the J.F. Kapnek Trust hopes to sponsor a 40-foot container from MedShare in the future. “We’ll be working toward that goal,“ he added. “MedShare has been a key part of the long-term, positive impact we’re having on improving the health care of mothers, children and families in Zimbabwe.”

Click here for more information about MedShare’s medical mission team program. For more information on the work of the J.F. Kapnek Charitable trust, visit www.jfkapnektrust.org.

MedShare Ships Container of Medical Aid to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

On June 1, MedShare’s Western Regional Distribution Center loaded and shipped a 40-foot ocean container with medical humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe, Southern Africa.  According to a 2009 WHO report, “the situation in Zimbabwe is characterized by the ‘triple threat’ of poverty and food insecurity, weakened human and material capacity of government and high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.  The health system is very challenged in terms of human resources for health, health financing, drugs and equipment and the overall service delay.”

Over one thousand individual boxes of medical supplies and equipment donations were loaded onto the container that shipped from MedShare today, including ambu bags, surgical blades, tracheotomy tubes, splints, IV sets, a stretcher, 2 exam tables, blood pressure monitors, and much more.  The Harare-based local NGO Spiritage Health will be receiving the container and distributing the supplies amongst several hospitals and clinics that serve the poor, including the Southmed Chitungwiza Hospital, Citimed Southmed Hospital, Citimed Suburban Hospital, and St. Michaels Hospital.

Dr. M.C. Wazara, Spiritage Health Director, comments:

“There has been a drought in many of the provinces of our agriculturally based country and it is anticipated that food aid will be required to sustain people to the next cropping season.  Whenever this happens, diseases related to poor sanitation and general infection are on the rise.

Another fact is that due to the underfunding of our health sector, there is always an ongoing humanitarian crisis created by inadequate supplies, unserviceable equipment and shortage of qualified staff.  It is in these three areas that our organization works and would apply the donated resources.  You gifts will be directed towards relieving urgent situations. Our national health infrastructure has been so stretched that it will be a long time before the need for aid becomes unnecessary.”

Container leaving the Western Region for Zimbabwe

MedShare sends special thanks to our partners at International Relief and Development and Global Assistance for their support in shipping this container.  Also special thanks to the UPS Foundation for their generous financial sponsorship of this project.

Global Atlanta repost: MedShare Strengthens Ties With Congo-Kinshasa


On April 20, 2011, MedShare was pleased to welcome His Excellency Dr. Victor Makwenge Kaput, Minister of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo and Dr. J. M. Kalonji, Multi-Sector Advisor, Ministry of Heath. They visited MedShare to discuss future container shipments to Congo. Dr. Makwenge detailed their current healthcare system and struggles, and his plans to improve it.

Global Atlanta’s Ann Cantrell covered the visit, and we wanted to share her article with you.

MedShare Strengthens Ties With Congo-Kinshasa

By Ann Cantrell

The Democratic Republic of the Congo that has been ravaged by years of war and suffers from an inadequate health care system will be receiving much needed medical supplies from an Atlanta-based charity, which is strengthening its ties with the CentralAfrican country.

As part of its mission to provide poorer countries with surplus medical supplies from the U.S., MedShare International will be sending three 40-foot containers from Decatur to the impoverished country by the end of May.

Valued somewhere between $150,000 to $200,000, each container will have supplies such as sonographic and X-ray machines, patient monitoring systems and equipment used to administer anesthesia during surgeries.

Since 2004, MedShare already has sent 25 containers to the Congo, but even this sizable contribution has been woefully inadequate to serve the needs of the country’s 71 million inhabitants.

“In the United States, $8,047 was spent on health care per person in 2009. By comparison, the Democratic Republic of the Congo spends $4 per person … Situations like this are why MedShare is here,” David Pass, MedShare’s chief advancement officer, told GlobalAtlanta.

In keeping with its growing relationship with MedShare, Victor Makwenge Kaput, the Congo’s minister of health,  and two other representatives from the ministry, visited the headquarters on April 20 to tour the facility and discuss future partnerships.

Nell Diallo, vice president of corporate and international relations, told GlobalAtlanta they are seeking corporate sponsors and have begun discussions with the Coca Cola Co., Western Union Co., and DHL Express, an international mail service, to assist with shipping and funding.

MedShare depends on corporate and private sponsors to fund its operations of gathering leftover medical supplies and equipment from hospitals in the U.S. and redistributing them in underserved communities. The organization has sent containers to more than 30 countries including Afghanistan, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Victor Makwenge Kaput, the Democratic Republic of Congo's minister of health, at MedShare's headquarters in Decatur.

During his visit to the MedShare headquarters and disribution facility, Mr. Kaput outlined some of the health problems in the country to Ms. Diallo, Mr. Pass, A.B. Short, CEO and co-founder and other staff,

Each year, 350,000 children in the Congo do not live past five-years and 3,600 women pass away due to pregnancy complications, according to the health minister. “Each second, children die because of no medical care. Each second, women die because of pregnancy complications,” he added.

According to Mr. Kaput, there are also 1 million people living with HIV/AIDS and many suffer from malaria.

After years of war involving half-a-dozen neighboring countries, he said the health care system was decimated. And even though the war officially ended in 2003, the conflict continued within the country particularly in the east, eventually killing more than 5 million people in the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II.

Years of war destroyed the infrastructure of hospitals and clinics and the government only provides the Ministry of Health with $70 million a year for expenses, Mr. Kaput said, adding that $70 million would not even be sufficient to fund the construction of a single hospital.

Due to the lack of government funding, the ministry looks to non-profits, non-governmental organizations and religious groups for funding, equipment and physicians, he said.

More than 80 percent of its funding comes from these organizations, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, bringing its budget in the Congo from $1 to $4 for each person per year, he said.

Mr. Kaput said he wants to increase this amount to $14 per person each year, repair damaged public hospitals, improve distribution of supplies to rural areas, bring more doctors to the country and re-develop medical research programs.

Working towards these goals, he added that the health ministry is working with South Africa to bring back thousands of Congolese doctors that relocated during the wars and increase their salary from $200 to $1,000 per month.

The health minister and his colleagues concluded their visit to Medshare with a tour of the warehouse and distribution center.

For more information, visit http://www.medshare.org.

Thanks to Global Atlanta for the great coverage! We look forward to working with the Minister to improve healthcare in the DRC.

To view photos of the Minsiter’s visit, click here.

MedShare featured in Celebration Health’s Bulletin

MedShare was featured in Celebration Health’s February 2011 Bulletin, and we wanted to share the wonderful article about a PET recipient! To read the full bulletin, click here: Celebration Health Bulletin – Feb ’11

Celebration Health PET Recipient

The St Giles Rehabilitation Centre in Harare was one of the beneficiaries of the medical equipment. One of the patients, Chris (34), was undergoing rehabilitation after an accident at work. He hadn’t imagined that his life could change overnight, but was fixing the under-carriage of a car, when the jack gave way and the full weight of the car fell on his body, leaving him with extensive spinal injuries and being unable to walk. Nine months into his rehabilitation, he welcomed the arrival of his Personal Transportation Cart (PET). He thanks Celebration Health and its partners for bringing hope to his hopeless situation saying, “It means for the first time I am going out without a wheelchair, with the PET I have the freedom now to take myself to the shops.” Another beneficiary of the equipment was George Mutendadzamera the General Manager Corporate Affairs for Delta Corporation, one of Coca Cola’s local bottlers in Zimbabwe. While playing a friendly game of soccer in Dubai, George fell and damaged the tendons of both legs. This left him unable to walk and he flew back to Zimbabwe to undergo an operation.