Saturday, September 5, 2009

Final Preparations

I leave for Shirati in a little over a week. Before then I still have three overnight calls on OB, and just one day off. So I am trying to make my final preparations early.

Last Monday I went to MedShare in San Leandro, “shopping” for medical supplies to take with me to Shirati. It was an amazing place. Blair, thanks for telling me about it. Chuck the Executive Director was incredibly friendly and showed me around their 35,000 foot warehouse. It was piled high with donated medical supplies: everything from gloves and suture to exam tables and anesthesia machines. They even had a mammography unit and an high-end ultrasound machine. The bigger equipment is packed onto 40-foot containers and shipped to low-resource health centers around the world at deep discounts.

I spent about three hours there and collected 4 big bags of supplies. This included suture, gloves, gauze, IV supplies, anesthesia equipment, BP machines, Foley catheters, nasogastric tubes, assorted minor procedure instruments, and much more. I also got a laryngoscopy set. The cost was EXTREMELY low. Thank you again to everyone who donated money. Part of the donations were used to pay for these supplies. After the purchase at MedShare, there is still nearly $2,000 in donations that I will be taking to Shirati Hospital to purchase medicines and other supplies. More details about the purchases in Tanzania to come later.

Supplies purchased from MedShare with donations

For anyone involved in international medical work, I highly recommend checking out MedShare. They are an amazing organization doing wonderful work. I am going to contact our hospital administration at CCRMC to see if our hospital can become a regular donor of supplies to MedShare.

When I’m not at the hospital I’ve been reading up as much as I can on management of the common conditions I expect to see in Shirati. Mainly malaria, malnutrition, HIV, TB, other infectious diseases. I’ve purchased a few WHO books and a couple of MSF books as my main guides: WHO Hospital Care for Children; WHO Surgical Care at the District Hospital; WHO Guidelines for Treatment of Malaria; MSF Clinical Guidelines; MSF Essential Medicines. I’ve also been reading Blair Thedinger’s blog, a friend and co-resident, about his ongoing experiences in Uganda. Check it out:

I’ve spoken with Dr. Chirangi at Shirati about my arrival plans. He advised me to take a bus from Nairobi to the Tanzanian border. From there they will try to send a car to pick me up.

Again I want to sincerely thank everyone who donated money to me for Shirati Hospital. I’m confident the medicines and supplies from these donations will help many people.