A 40-foot container of medical supplies that recently arrived in war-torn Syria included items donated by Kemptville District Hospital
APRIL 22, 2013 – Known for its mission, to build healthier communities, Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) a year ago enlarged its vision to encompass “a world of healthy communities”. Hospital staff are finding ways to live out this expanded vision, as demonstrated by the contents of a 40-foot container of medical supplies and equipment that was recently sent to Syria to help address severe shortages of basic medicines and medical supplies there. The container was packed with supplies and equipment donated by a number of Ottawa area hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and Kemptville District Hospital (KDH).
The relief effort was partly coordinated by the Ottawa branch of Not Just Tourists (NJT), a non-political, non-profit organization that collects donations of surplus medicines and supplies for use in countries in need. Usually, Canadians travelling on business or vacation deliver these much-needed supplies to medical facilities at their travel destinations. In the last year, NJT Ottawa has collected enough supplies to fill three containers: for hospitals in Ethiopia, Honduras, and now, Syria.
Wendy Glousher, who works in Material Management/Supply Services at KDH, is behind the hospital’s involvement in this effort. Soon after accepting the position in Material Management just over a year ago, she began making phone calls to find a good use for surplus medical supplies and equipment that the hospital has made a practice of donating to countries in need. These included items like band-aids, dressings and epidural trays that have an expiry date, but are still in perfect condition, and pieces of equipment that are no longer in use because the hospital has moved beyond them technologically.
Glousher made contact with Dr. Mary Jean Duncan, a plastic surgeon formerly at KDH, who suggested the Syrian container project. Dr. Sachin Chitte, a plastic surgeon who currently holds a clinic at KDH, transported the supplies to Ottawa.
The following health care organizations also contributed to the container that was shipped to Syria: Deep River District Hospital, Glengarry Memorial Hospital, Hospice at May Court, and the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre.
Jacques Chenail is the NJT coordinator in Ottawa. A retired technical translator, he is also an airplane pilot, Red Cross volunteer and retired volunteer firefighter. He is very gratified by the arrival of the container in Syria. “We’ve had the good fortune to link to many individuals with unique skillsets and gifts,” he said. “Filling a 40-foot container in just a few months was nothing short of a miracle!”
The Ottawa branch of NJT has so far sent medical supplies with Canadian travellers to more than 70 countries. NJT accepts donations of prescription and over-the-counter medicines from health care professionals and facilities. The organization also accepts donations of medical and nursing supplies, hospital uniforms and linens, reading glasses, and dental supplies and equipment. “Anything to do with health or hygiene – including beds,” explains Chenail. In addition, NJT accepts end of life donations like wheelchairs and walkers from bereaved families whose loved one was cared for at home.
Chenail notes that NJT also delivers donated medical supplies locally, including wheelchairs, mobility aids and ostomy supplies. “There is a constant need to get medical equipment and supplies to those in need, whether locally or for under-served countries as well as conflict zones,” says Chenail. For more information about delivering a suitcase of medicine and supplies to a country in need, or if you are a health care provider with medical supplies or equipment to donate, contact NJT at NJT.Ottawa@gmail.com or 819-426-3695 (during business hours). Donations of time and money are also welcomed by the volunteer organization.
Although the first container for Syria is filled and shipped, Wendy Glousher at KDH will continue to send medical supplies to NJT. “I am so pleased to have found a way to help people who really need it with these items we can no longer use,” she said. “It makes me feel really good. I’m proud to work for an organization that stands behind its mission and vision.”
About Kemptville District Hospital
Kemptville District Hospital is a fully accredited healthcare facility committed to building healthier communities. We are distinct within the provincial health system as a model of hospital-led integrated health services. We operate on two sites and provide primary care management services, acute care hospital services, advanced orthopaedic care and pride ourselves on being a good partner within the system. Kemptville Hospital consistently ranks among the top hospitals in Ontario for both patient and employee satisfaction.
For further information contact:
Jenny Read, Communications Lead
Tel: 613-258-6133 ext. 223