Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Christmas in August

        Some of our hospital supplies come from the government; but with budget cuts and supply shortages, we rely heavily on donated items. Lately, we have been short on sterile gloves, sutures, dressing gauze, IV fluids, essential medications… pretty much everything. So you can image our joy when a 20ft shipping container arrived this week packed full of donated medications, surgical supplies, dressing supplies, and much more. It was like Christmas in August! 

Boxes of new supplies lining
the hallway to Central Supply
Unloading boxes in Central Supply.
        The surgical team spent the whole afternoon after clinic opening boxes and squealing in delight when we discovered sterile gloves (we have been out of Dr. Ben’s and my sizes for almost a month now), elastic ACE bandages (who knew a simple bandage could bring such delight), real dressing gauze, foley catheters, hemostatic agents, sterile surgical kits, and so much more. They may seem like simple things, but it’s very hard to do surgery and run a hospital without basic supplies. 

Mr. Joe, Anesthesia Officer, unpacking
much needed anesthesia supplies.
Note the shoe cover he was using as a hat,
until a box of surgical hats was unpacked.
      These containers come approximately every six months, traveling on a cargo ship across the ocean to port in Lae. After passing customs (which can take weeks to months), it is loaded on a truck and makes the 400km journey from the coast, over the mountains, to the highlands (same route through the mountains I traveled when I went to Madang – see earlier post). I can’t imagine how those large trucks make it up some of those grades on the pothole-filled roads. The whole journey can take between 3 to 9 months. 

Ben's favorite item:
hemostatic agents. 
Excited for gloves that fit!
     This container was sent by Project S.A.V.E. a non-profit group that “collects, then re-distributes, quality recycled medical and dental equipment and supplies both locally and around the world, free of charge, in an effort to help people receive needed care who otherwise might not.” Other organizations that regularly supply containers include Nazarene Hospital Foundation and Samaritan’s Purse. We are extremely grateful for these dedicated partners and for everyone who donated supplies or funds to help with shipping costs. These supplies will enable us to continue performing surgeries, saving lives, and sharing God's love to the people here in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

**If you are interested in ways to donate, please see links to our partner’s website above or check out my How to Support page.

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