Medpacking in the warm heart of Africa

27th of January 2017, by Tom VersteegeTomPredeparture2

Upcoming Sunday I’ll be leaving The Netherlands for two months for a clinical internship at the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic in Cape Maclear, Malawi. I’ll be going as a last year medical student to gain experience in tropical medicine, as I intend to work in developing countries after graduating. I’ll also be going as the first Medpacker member to take donations to a hospital that needs them.

The Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic is a small clinic founded in 2004 by the Irish Mags Riordan. It provides primary medical care to the 15.000 inhabitants of the Cape Maclear area, and was the only source of modern medical care at the time. Ten years ago a small in-patient unit was added. The staff mainly consists of volunteer doctors, nurses and students, and the clinic is funded completely from donations, of which 91% goes directly to the running costs of the clinic. On average, 80 people are treated daily, but when I’ll be there it will be rainy season. A seasonal increase in malaria and other infectious diseases can increase the daily patient load by 50%. We’ll be busy.

Over the last six months we’ve successfully gathered medical donations through several channels, including my university but also through independent organizations and companies. A few weeks back I sent an up-to-date inventory list of our donations to mrs. Riordan and my supervisor dr. van Os. I was happy to hear that several of our medical items proved to be useful to them.

The following items are coming with me to Malawi:
– A new Littmann stethoscope
– An EduStitch educational suture kit, including basic suturing equipment and a training module
– Five aluminum medical tweezers
– Three thermometers
– Four short medical coats, one long medical coat and a pair of medical trousers

I would like to thank the ABN AMRO, EduStitch, UMC’s Willy’s Winkeltje and the Medic Foundation who made these donations possible. I would also like to express my gratitude to Medpacker members Jan Smout and Valerie Buijs who helped gathering them.

If and when I can find an internet source I’ll let you know more about the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic and my time there. And perhaps you’ll be the next Medpacker to go!

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