Friday, April 4, 2014

One Person's Need is Another's Nicety

Like most non-profit clinics around the world, we depend on donated medicines and donated equipment. 

One of the things that constantly surprises me  -  but should not  -  is what a never-ending task seeking out those donations tends to be.
Molly, Mario and new lab microscope
The surprising thing for medical volunteers or medical people who hear about our needs is that what THEY take for granted, we have to wait until the items are donated.  Due to the lack of funds, we have to choose between reagents for the lab, supplies for the dental clinic, medicines, staff salaries; and all the other equipment that we do indeed need but do not need as much…so we choose the reagents, supplies, medicines, and staff salaries. 

We have to prioritize
.  What most medical personnel would call needs we call niceties…here are some examples:

Our dental clinic needs new equipment all the time…and what equipment we do have constantly needs repairing.  “Niceties” include:
•    Cabinets on their walls to store the buckets of dental instruments that now take over  every horizontal space in the rooms. 
•    A lead lined door to protect the staff from radiation from x-rays.
•    File cabinets to file the additional 1,500 files that will not fit in the cabinets we have.

Our 3 docs share 1 working otoscope!

Our lab also needs new equipment constantly.  We were thrilled to receive a new microscope from Bucknell University through their chemistry professor, Molly, who searched through microscopes the school had put in storage!  She also brought two lesser ones we can use for trainings.  But that is not all we need:
•    More tests for gonorrhea, HIV, etc.
•    An autoclave and distiller
•    A newer centrifuge
•    Glass tubes
•    Newer rubber tourniquets for taking blood
•    Collection cups instead of disposable plastic 6 oz cups with plastic  bags to tie around them.

And of course we cannot leave out primary care:
•    Otoscopes, battery-operated or electric
•    Stethoscopes
•    Nebulizers
•    Dopplers
•    Metal speculums (coming!)*

•    An autoclave and distiller
•    A colposcope (coming!)*
•    A cryotherapy gun (coming!)*
*All coming from an ob/gyn who has retired and read our newsletter!

If you can help us look for donations wherever you are, or if you can donate so that we can purchase these things here, our clinic staff will be greatly appreciative…they get very excited with new and working equipment….like children on a Christmas morn…that is both enlightening and depressing when you think about what is taken for granted in other parts of the world. -Kathleen