“I am in this world to make a difference one soul at a time. To me, there is nothing better that I would rather spend my time on than helping the poor get access to medical care,” says registered nurse Kidist Bitew.
Kidist is a native of Nejo, Ethiopia, who visited MedShare’s Western Region Medical Team Store last October to pick up just over 50 pounds of medical supplies for Nejo Hospital, located 320 miles west of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.
Nejo Hospital is the only one in the area serving more than 350,000 people. It has only four physicians: one surgeon and three general practitioners. There are eight patient beds per room regardless of the illness. Nejo Hospital has only two private rooms and they are reserved for TB patients. The majority of Nejo’s population lives on less than a dollar a day. Poverty, severe unemployment, and infant mortality are widespread. Patients travel 6-8 hours by foot to receive treatment from the hospital and they are often treated free of charge.
Kidist plans to return to Nejo each year. She is using her medical mission trips to establish long-term relationships with Nejo Hospital and the surrounding cities/health centers. Through education, she is teaching the community about prevention and/or reduction in the spread of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDs. Together, they have established a goal to reduce the spread of infectious disease by at least 25% by the year 2015.
Kidist is currently raising money to send a 40-foot container to Nejo. “For our third mission trip we are planning to ship a container filled with donated medical equipment and basic medications by July 2011. These items will include gloves, dressings, safety needles, fetal monitors, beds, mattresses, X-ray viewing light, ultrasound machines, anesthesia machine and X-ray machine, mosquito nets and other soft medical supplies.”