Tulsans sending medical supplies to Africa

Monday, January 9th 2006, 10:21 am
By: News On 6

Lives in Third World countries are being saved by the efforts of some Tulsa Rotarians. They find surplus medical supplies and equipment and ship it to where they are needed.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells talked to the founder of the Medical Supplies Network about how they help. "We've got wheel chairs, walkers, crutches and canes the whole nine yards." Jack Maxwell showed Rick Wells around the warehouse at the Medical Supplies Network in Tulsa.

They accumulate surplus medical supplies and provide them to needy countries overseas. "I've not had the opportunity to look in this box yet.” Inside are hundreds of suture kits, declared surplus at a hospital somewhere, rescued in Tulsa and someday may be used to save a life in a far off country. "This is gold to us; ya know this was going to the dumpster." Surplus here may be state of the art somewhere else.

MSNI is a project of Rotary District 6110 in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. They've shipped more than 100 container loads of supplies to Third World countries in the last ten years. The next one, loaded with 12,000 pounds of medical and educational supplies is bound for Uganda. The costs are being shared by Rotary International and the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.

MSNI networks with other Rotarians to determine needs. “There are 33,000 Rotary clubs worldwide, and chances are we are working with a Rotarian on the other end." That network ensures the supplies get where they are intended, 100-percent of the time. A hospital in the Philippines or a surgical center in Lithuania. Pretty good record, 100 percent.

The Uganda shipment will leave this week. Another shipment is getting ready, life saving supplies bound for South Africa. They are just waiting for funds to ship it.

In the past 10 years, MSNI has been operating they've shipped container loads of supplies to 32 different countries.