taking medical suppies to donate, help

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Jul 27th, 2005, 01:08 PM
  #1
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taking medical suppies to donate, help

I've heard there are organizations that have info about travelers taking medical supplies to donate when visiting Africa. I've tried to find then searching google, but without any luck.
We always travel with only carry on luggage so we could use our baggage allowance.
Does anyone have a contact lead?
mzcuriouz is offline  
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Jul 27th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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mz, do you have these medical supplies, or are you looking for someone with medical supplies, so that you will provide the free transport?
I'll email you about another idea, too...
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Jul 28th, 2005, 02:49 AM
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Hello,

This is a great idea -- as a doctor, I've been looking into this myself, as there are often 'surplus' supplies at the hospital I work at which seem as if they are going to waste.

I haven't heard of any organisations with this information, but I've sought some advice from colleagues who have worked in the developing world and here's what they've recommended. The best thing to do in this case is to get in touch with a local clinic or medical organisation, who can tell you what they need most. Some well-meaning companies and individuals send supplies to Africa which are better suited to the diseases prevalent in the West, not in the developing world.

Your local contacts can also provide you with some documentation to help you get the stuff through security and customs -- otherwise those instrument kits and packets of sutures may end up staying on the tarmac, and you may even be charged duty for importing them. Working with a reputable local organisation also helps ensure that the supplies will go there they are needed and won't be scooped up by an unscrupulous person who will then sell them on at a high mark-up.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Julian
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Jul 28th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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I might email Doctors without Borders and see if they can head you in the right direction. I am sure they have a webiste you could find.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Some camps have community initiatives and will really appreciate this. I am going to spend a week at Cottars 1920's Camp in Kenya. They sponsor the Esoit Maasia Development and Wildlife Conservation Trust. I simply emailed them and got a "wish list" of items they needed. I am bringing 3 pounds of medical supplies including iodine, gauze, bandaids, hydrocolloid bandages, anti-biotic ointment and burn gel. Most camps worth their salt work with the local communities and would be glad to receive your kindness. Good for you!!!
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Jul 30th, 2005, 12:59 PM
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Gail and Canechick: Good ideas.

mzcuriouz, would you let us know what you find out. I, too, want to take advantage of the "free shipping" of my unused baggage allowance.
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Jul 30th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replys. My husband worked ER for 15 years at Kaiser San Diego, and like other parts of the hospital, when one part of a kit is used the rest is tossed. He works at KP Oncall now (hopefully from home later this year!) So, I'm just going to see what I can come up with.

I've emailed several organizations I thought might have a lead, but haven't contacted Doctors without Borders. Gail, thanks for pointing out what probably should have been obvious!

Jasher, on Google I found there is a hospital in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. There might be a problem with that because our luggage will not go directly from USA to VFA but to Johannesburg. Depending on luck we will have one hour, or one or two days in Johannesburg. We're hoping one hour but are ticketed for two days.

As I write this it seems pretty clear that I should plan on having someone meeting me at the airport in Johannesburg....or be authorized to collect the baggage.

You know I really haven't a clue how the supplies would get to rural clinics.

Luckily, my time is my own ;-D
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Jul 30th, 2005, 05:17 PM
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A suggestion- try arranging through the camps you are visiting a stop at a rural clinic and also a request a wish list through the operator. You may just find out how involved they are in the communities they conduct their business in.
South Luangwa has some sort of program where they bring in volunteer doctors to the Mfuwe Clinic for the mzungus/clients and locals. The doctors are put up as space allows rotating among the safari lodges and also gets tours into the park. Haven't heard of anything like this other places. So, lots of opportunity to do something right.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 04:21 AM
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On a similar note, when I was at Londoz one of the camp managers mentioned that guests at Phinda who are doctors or dentists sometimes spend time at a local clinic sponsored by the lodge.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 12:40 PM
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I do agree that you should ask in advance what to bring. I'm sometimes very surprised by what is available and very cheap locally vs. what is unobtainable. Without guidance you could end up bringing stuff that is not needed, when you could have used the space for something else that is important and unobtainable.
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