MedShare International (2004)
Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.? Matthew 9:35
This month's City Lights was held on Tuesday, October 5th at MedShare International, a non-profit that collects and donates excess medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world. MedShare International got its start when founder/CEO AB Short received a phone call from a friend who had recently learned that hospitals in the United States dispose of more than $6.25 billion worth of unused medical supplies every year. He encouraged Short, who was at the time staying at home to raise his daughter, to think of a way those medical supplies might be siphoned off to developing countries and recycled rather than sent to our nation?s already overwhelmed landfills.
Today, MedShare International stands as a testament to that first phone call. The group's building, located just outside of Decatur, consists of a cheerful office area attached to a large, orderly sorting room for medical supplies and a cavernous warehouse in which the goods are catalogued, packaged, organized by country, and loaded into tractor trailers for delivery. Short spoke of MedShare's mission with fervor and excitement, citing the $20 million worth of medical supplies MedShare has delivered to 74 countries, worldwide, and the 300,000 cubic feet of space saved in the United State?s landfills. He offered a compassionate account of the conditions in hospitals around the world, where the sick and dying are often turned away as a result of insufficient medical supplies, and gave a detailed account of how MedShare accumulates these precious materials to send to the third world:
Once a week, MedShare picks up medical supplies from partner hospitals all over Atlanta. Everything from hospital beds and surgery lights to pulse oximeters and surgical towels are in the treasure trove of supplies they receive. Medical manufacturers also offer a large source of the goods they collect.
Volunteers then sort, repack and inventory the medical supplies.
Adam Reed, MedShare's data entry expert, enters all the medical supplies into their live database, allowing doctors and nurses in hospitals around the world to see the medical supplies in MedShare's catalog.
Most remarkable about MedShare are its scale of impact and its meticulous attention
to detail. MedShare does not ship any items to clinics or hospitals unless they know exactly which items are needed. Thanks to a frequently updated, live database, doctors throughout the world can go online and order supplies from MedShare via the Web. One recipient in a needy hospital noted that they served about 3,500 people and had only 300 beds. When the institution received a donation of several beds from Medshare, they said it was "like a gift from God."
Delivering medical supplies to countries in politically and economically unstable areas is not always easy. Customs regulations change overnight. Shipping costs can be overwhelming. Security is an issue. However, MedShare has successfully managed those issues by partnering with governmental bodies and medical leaders to do the job of delivering aid in an efficient, reliable manner.
Perhaps the most moving moment of our tour of MedShare's facility was when Dr. Moktar Bayor, a refugee from Togo and a professionally trained physician, spoke of his work in Africa. He told of doing reconstructive surgery on a young boy's face with only a flashlight to guide him, and of staying up all night, night after night, seeing patients who were turned away from hospitals for lack of space, in the poor villages where they lived. He spoke with humility and grace, and although United States regulations bar him from practicing medicine professionally here, Bayor said that he feels so grateful to be able to participate in the medical community through MedShare. (He accompanies medical mission teams, to which MedShare donates many supplies, throughout the world, and is an invaluable source of knowledge to those on MedShare's staff.)
If you would like to learn more about this impact-making project, please contact Alyssa Gair at (770) 323-5858, or email her at AGair@medshare.org. You may also find more information about MedShare at their Web site: http://www.medshare.org. Many thanks go to AB Short and his wonderful staff for their CityLights presentation, and to Full Cup Coffee House for providing the delicious, healthy muffins for our breakfast. See you next month!
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- AMEN, Inc. (2005)
- Atlanta American Red Cross (2005)
- Atlanta Community Food Bank (2006)
- Atlanta Development Authority (2005)
- Atlanta Housing (2006)
- Atlanta Intercultural Ministries (2005)
- Atlanta Mission (2011)
- Atlanta Youth Academy (2007)
- Beltline & Proposed Westside Park (2011)
- Buckhead Christian Ministry (2006)
- Carver Bible College (2006)
- Carver YMCA (2009)
- Charis Community Housing (2012)
- Childspring (2007)
- City of Refuge
- Communitites in Schools (2005, 2007,2011)
- Covenant House (2004)
- Create Your Dreams (2005)
- David Allman and Friends (2004)
- Families First (2006)
- FCS Urban Ministries
- Frazer Center (2012)
- Georgia Student Leadership Forum
- Good Samaritan Health Center (2005)
- How People Grow (2012)
- Jars of Clay Outreach (2006)
- Justice (2012)
- The Leaders Lyceum
- Life Lessons (2006)
- Mary Mac's (2009)
- MedShare International (2004)
- SafeHouse Outreach (2005)
- Sears Building Becoming Ponce City Market (2012)
- Theatrical Outfit (2011)