Medxcel Associates donate 100 Birthing Kits to Kager, Kenya

In many countries, tetanus infection is the leading cause of neonatal deaths, those that occur in the first month of the newborn’s life. Traditional beliefs link this ailment to ‘bad spirits’; therefore, there is no connection made between unclean birth practices and infection.

In developing countries, most poor women deliver at home with a traditional birth attendant (TBA) as a pregnancy and childbirth care provider. TBAs provide the majority of primary maternity care in many developing countries, and most do not have formal training in health care provision. Home births usually use traditional practices, some of which dramatically increase the risk of infection including delivery on unclean surfaces, cutting the cord with unclean utensils or bamboo, and putting ash or cow dung on the cord.

One effort to combat these situations is the distribution of Birthing Kits and the training of TBAs in the principles of clean infant delivery that support the World Health Organization’s six principles of cleanliness (Clean hands, Clean perineum, nothing unClean introduced into the birthing process, Clean delivery surface, Clean cord-cutting instrument, Clean cord care (including cord ties and cutting surface).

Medxcel associates in Indianapolis donated the supplies, packed and donated 100 birthing kits to the TriMedx Foundation. These kits will be delivered to Kenya as a part of the Foundaiton’s medical ministry projects. The Village Clinic in Kager, Kenya is creating a program to education women and birthing attendants on the effects of unclean birthing environments and using the kits in the clinic and emergency births in village homes.

The birthing kit donation is designed to help support the primary focus of TriMedx Foundation’s mission – providing medical equipment repair services in the developing world. During the trip to Kager, volunteer biomedical technician Kirsten Hickman helped install newly acquired equipment for a lab, maternity and delivery rooms.

Fixing Medical Equipment to Save Lives

The following article was written by David Einhorn, guest correspondent for St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. David was asked by the Foundation to write about the different foundations who so generously cooperate with San Boniface. As chance would have it, David’s my roommate was Lance Abernathy from TriMedx Foundation. “We’ve been here one morning and he has already helped his hospital counterparts fix two pieces of equipment,” David stated in his email request for more information.

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Lance Abernathy is the volunteer technician people see helping the St. Boniface staff repair medical equipment, but he defers the credit to others supporting him behind the scenes. This network includes the foundation that sent him down and tech support personnel from manufacturers willing to share technical specifications about their equipment.

Similarly, while the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation operates the hospital in Fond des Blancs, many other organizations generously support that effort by donating resources. One example is the TriMedx Foundation, which sponsored Abernathy’s trip. The nonprofit foundation and its namesake corporate sponsor have sent 18 volunteers to Haiti since 2000 to repair equipment at St. Boniface and two other hospitals.

“Medical equipment is high-maintenance even in U.S. hospitals,” says Mary Owens, TriMedx Foundation Director. “Compound that with the heat, open-air hospitals without climate control, lack of clean stable power, and the nonexistent supply of repair parts.” Indeed, maintenance of medical equipment is a major consideration for many organizations: The World Health Organization estimates that between 70 to 90 percent of medical equipment in the developing world does not work.

“My mindset is if it’s man-made, I can fix it,” Abernathy says. “But it’s a challenge here. I actually spend more time preparing in advance how to address the problem than I do working on the actual equipment.”

For his part, the 60-year-old Abernathy takes his work one piece of equipment at a time. A biological electronics specialist at the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Idaho, Abernathy takes on everything from an X-ray digitizer to an anesthesia ventilator while he works closely with the hospital’s Facilities Superintendent Jerome Clarel. Clarel says that by pooling resources, knowledge, and speaking the only language they both speak fluently — techno speak — the two have managed to repair most of what was on their list. The need is enormous and ongoing, however, and this is unlikely to be the last visit from TriMedx Foundation.

“The bigger question [worldwide] is what has happened when the equipment does not work — how many lives lost and patients not treated,” Owens says. “It’s something we cannot fathom in the United States: walking for hours to see a doctor only to find out they cannot help you because of nonfunctional equipment.”

(Click to read Lance Abernathy’s captivating journal of his Haiti trip on behalf of TriMedx Foundation.)

International Challenges of Power Quality (CT project in Tanzania)

In his most recent trip to Tanzania, TriMedx Foundation Volunteer Shannon McNutt (a TriMedx senior imaging service technician for St. Thomas and Baptist hospitals in Nashville, TN), worked on repairing the GE CT that was originally installed in 2009. He describes the overall project as an act of persistence and dedication. In order to fully appreciate his comments, we must go back in time.

In late 2009, Shannon and fellow volunteer Eric Fannin (imaging service engineer at Carondelet St. Joseph/St. Mary’s Hospital, MO) were recruited by TriMedx Foundation to install the CT and contrast injector. Eric inventoried and prepared the CT in Minneapolis for shipment to Tanzania. Then in December, Eric and Shannon traveled to Arusha Lutheran Medical Center (ALMC) to install the device. This was the first CT in the City of Arusha (est. population 1 million) with the capacity to save and impact hundreds of lives.

The system was fully installed and booted up with no errors and an X-ray tube calibration completed successfully. Then, the power went out and the system failures began: Image Generator (IG), complete Octane computer, O2 computer audio module and hard drive.

Since 2009, the volunteer team has ordered and tested numerous parts, coordinated conference calls, waited six months for parts to clear customs, traveled to ALMC, installed a UPS for the Operator Console as well as an Incoming power TVSS Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor, and educated hospital administration of facilities and environmental concerns and issues.

When Shannon went to Tanzania in April, he went with eyes wide open to the challenges of local resources and logistics. While there, he installed a power surge protector, which was put into action the first day when the power went out twice and it logged 200,000 surges from early morning until 5pm.

While still facing challenges, he was able to get the CT software to work on the current console. However, the board they replaced in 2009 has started to fail and replacement parts will need to be ordered. He will be working in Nashville to put together instructions on system reboots, restores and minor calibration procedures for the technicians to use for reference.

Since his return, Shannon and the ALMC administration are continuing to research the required steps to repair the CT to a functional status and maintain its functionality. Please continue to pray for wisdom and discernment as the team continues their work on this project.

Readying equipment for the mission field

Gary Lindquist, TriMedx Biomed Equipment Technician at Genesys Regional Medical Center (Grand Blanc, MI), recently traveled to Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach (Springfield, IL), a medical surplus recovery organization and the recipient of our new equipment donation referral program.

While with them, Gary spent his time evaluating medical equipment for redeployment in the mission field. In 2011, Gary spent several weeks in  TriMedx Foundation’s Repair Center, making him the perfect candidate to help create a new process for repair support at the Mission Outreach site.

Moving the repair process to Springfield is saving valuable time and resources instead of transporting the equipment to Indianapolis for repair. Vicki Detmers of Mission Outreach had this to say:

“Gary has evaluated over 60 devices and created a parts order list for future repairs. In fact, we were able to include 6 critical devices, including an EKG and cardiac monitor, in shipments that went out this week that would not have happened without the help of Gary and TriMedx Foundation.”

TriMedx Foundation is planning the next repair trip to Mission Outreach in August of this year. If you are interested in volunteering for a domestic or international medical equipment repair mission trip, contact us for an application and guidance at missions@trimedxfoundation.org.

TriMedx Foundation MissionTrip to Tanzania

While Shannon was on his Mission Trip to Tanzania to repair the CT scan at the Arusha Hospital, he spent some time at the Plaster House. It is a home for children around Tanzania to recover in after they have had corrective orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery or neurosurgery for a disability. The procedures are done at the ALMC Selian Hospital in Arusha.

Take a day off, help save a life

Do you have a mission when out on the greens? We invite you to join ours!

Monday, September 26, 2011
The Bridgewater Club, 3535 E. 161st St., Carmel, IN
11 a.m.: Lunch & Registration
Noon: Shotgun Start
5 p.m.: Reception & Awards

Join us for TriMedx Foundation‘s 2011 Mission On The Greens golf outing, the Foundation’s main fundraising event. Our golfers enjoy lunch prior to a shotgun start and a traveling beverage cart, followed by a reception and brief award ceremony. Last year’s event raised a record $51,000 for medical missions.

This year’s event will be hosted by The Bridgewater Club in Carmel, set in a beautiful, private housing community. For more information on the course, you can visit their website at thebridgewaterclub.com.

All event profits go directly to missions, enabling TriMedx Foundation to improve healthcare in impoverished communities by repairing broken medical equipment in mission hospitals and clinics and educating locals to perform basic equipment repair functions.

Please mark your calendar now and plan to join us on September 26th. Event registration, volunteering and other details will come your way soon! If you have any questions about this event or TriMedx Foundation in the meantime, please comment below or contact me at mary.owens@trimedxfoundation.org.

All the best,

Mary Owens
Development Director, TriMedx Foundation
mary.owens@trimedxfoundation.org
(317) 275-1555

Small actions, big impact

Ever wonder what happens with dollars donated to TriMedx Foundation?

“Hi, how are U? the costomAir machine in ICU doesn’t stabilize. What can I do to fix it. I’m waiting for you, co it’s a emergency.”

Joseph Rivière, a BMET trainee at Hôpital Sacré Coeur (HSC) in Haiti, posed this question in an email to TriMedx Foundation Volunteer Mike Hoyt, a clinical engineer with St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. A couple of replies later, Rivière fired off his final message:

“Think you very much, I just follow your instruction and I repaired [the equipment].”

And so a patient who might have been sent home without proper care got the help he or she needed. Such is the impact of TriMedx Foundation volunteers and donors. Day after day, donations to TriMedx Foundation continue to make a difference:

“Hi, we find a good pleasure to talk to you about BIOMED tech project at HSC from Milot. For this month we’ve learn many things and have a lot of information about the equipments in the Hospital. Please, ask the trainer James Fanfan to come down again. Cos we think it very successful.” Joseph Rivière & Denis Alce, HSC 

“We continue to look forward to the wonderful opportunity that our technicians are gaining through this program.” Tim Traynor, HSC

 “hi Mary, how you doing? I’m denis Alce a student in biomed tech i’m in training now in hospital sacre coeur in milot of haiti i would like to keep touch with you. Gods bless.” Denis Alce, HSC

  “Hi Mary, Many thanks … We are very grateful for the help and support of TriMedx.” Denise Kelly, The CRUDEM Foundation Inc. 

Ever wonder what happens with dollars donated to TriMedx Foundation? Now you know: 100% of your donated dollars go straight to the mission field, whether it’s sending technicians to repair broken equipment or equipping local hospitals to maintain that equipment after we’re gone.

Please take a moment to help us spread the word. Thank you, again, for helping us extend hope and health to hurting families around the world.

All the best,

Mary Owens
Development Director
TriMedx Foundation
mary.owens@trimedxfoundation.org
(317) 275-1555