By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
The success of any venture depends on the team that supports it. MedShare’s team is no different. Our staff, our donors, our supply partners, our volunteers, our international advocates, our hospital partners, and, most importantly, the healthcare communities we serve all work together to make our mission possible.
One of the best examples of the power of these partnerships is our relationship with AMOS Health and Hope in Nicaragua. We launched this partnership with AMOS in the ten municipalities of Chontales, Nicaragua in 2017. We set two simple but lofty goals: first, to improve the quality of health care for mothers and children in Chontales; and second, to reduce the number of neonatal deaths before, during, and after childbirth in this area of Nicaragua. Thanks to our collaborative relationship and our shared commitment to better health, MedShare and AMOS improved the quality of care for more than 154,000 people living in Chontales – all in the first four months of our partnership.
The focus of the partnership was MedShare’s Maternal & Child Health Program. Everything from wheelchairs to bedsheets were donated to support maternal and neonatal health in Chontales. It was the donation of quality biomedical equipment, however, that provided the most critical care in many cases.
Diana Chacon, auxiliary nurse at the Health Center in El Ayote, shared with us how an ultrasound machine donated by MedShare helped save the life of a pregnant mother and her baby:
“A pregnant woman came and we did an ultrasound with the equipment donated by MedShare. We could observe she had very little amniotic ﬂuid, and the baby was not moving much. The patient was sent immediately to the hospital in Juigalpa, where doctors determined she needed an emergency C-section. She was 36 weeks pregnant. Thanks to the timely diagnosis using the ultrasound donated by MedShare, both mom and baby were able to survive.”
Thanks to the timely diagnosis using the ultrasound donated by MedShare, both mom and baby were able to survive.”
The shared goals of our organizations were made clear in the similar initiatives we each have within our Maternal and Child Health Programs. Combining resources to benefit both AMOS’s Essential Care for Every Baby initiative as well we MedShare’s 2 Million Mothers initiative, this partnership has been able create safer spaces for women to give birth.
“Thanks to MedShare, the sanitary conditions in the Labor and Delivery rooms have improved, which contributes to preventing infections for mothers and newborns. Another important medical supply that is helping improve conditions for birth at the health care facilities in the area are the Clean Birthing Kits. MedShare donated 87 clean birthing kits that were delivered to the Health Center in El Ayote. Between October 2017 and March 2018, 67 of these Clean Birthing Kits have already been used to beneﬁt low-income pregnant moms and their babies,“ AMOS told us. Kenia Centeno, Chief Nurse at the Health Center in El Ayote, also expressed how important these kits were for moms: “Many moms cannot afford to buy diapers, baby hats, and blankets. Some moms even make diapers for their babies out of old clothes that their husbands no longer use. So the Clean Birthing Kits have been an encouragement for pregnant moms to come to the Health Center and give birth here.”
“Many moms cannot afford to buy diapers, baby hats, and blankets. Some moms even make diapers for their babies out of old clothes that their husbands no longer use. So the Clean Birthing Kits have been an encouragement for pregnant moms to come to the Health Center and give birth here.”
Those 67 kits represent 67 moms who were able to have a safe childbirth and 67 babies brought into this world, happy and healthy.
In 2016 there were a total of 49 neonatal deaths in the rural community of Chontales. That is 49 infants who didn’t survive their first 28 days of life. In 2017, following our partnership with AMOS, that number decreased from 49 to 29 – a 40% reduction. Because of our partnership and the support of our donors, 40% fewer babies died, 40% fewer parents grieved the death of their child, 40% fewer families had to experience such a loss.
Working alone, neither organization could have had this kind of impact. But because we were able to partner together, share resources, and collaborate with each other across borders, MedShare and AMOS reached more patients than we ever could have alone. One of my favorite African proverbs is “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” MedShare and our partners are going far — together.