MEDICAL TEAMS INTERNATIONAL SHIPS DONATED MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO THE WORLD
BY STAS MARGARONIS, RBTUS
Medical Teams International (MTI), an Oregon-based, Christian global health organization packs donated medical supplies for needy clinics and hospitals all over the world. MTI is supporting a drive for Greek hospitals devastated by Greece’s budgetary cutbacks.
The Greek effort, backed by two U.S. organizations, the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) based in Baltimore and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) headquartered in Washington, are financing medical donations to Greeks hospitals.
Lou Zagami, development director for IOCC says, “Medical Teams International is a partner IOCC uses to get this done. We have been working with them since 2006 and have shipped medical supplies to places like Serbia, Georgia, Jordon, Syria, Zimbabwe, and Greece to name a few. “
“Right now, many patients in Greece are forced to buy their own medical supplies due to cutbacks”, an MTI spokesman said.
MTI plays a crucial role for Greece. One forty-foot container of donated medical supplies is valued at over $600,000 and packed with bandages, gauze, walkers and wheelchairs that patients in Greece desperately need.
While MTI’s clients help people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty in 72 countries, their efforts are spreading to Europeans whose economies and hospitals are devastated by the current economic crisis.
MTI estimates that it ships an average of 55 containers per year containing new medical supplies donated by medical suppliers.
However, MTI is facing a crisis of its own as cash contributions to support its work have declined, according to David Beltz, Director of Commodity Support with MTI, located in Tigard, Oregon:
“There is a tremendous decrease in cash contributions. The needs are great and cash donations are greatly needed. Medical Teams International uses 97% of all cash donations for their programs around the world. “
“We hope for a 10% expansion of shipments,” he says, “but budgetary restrictions and cutbacks may not make this feasible.”
The bulk of MTI containers currently go to Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia respectively. It can take 2-3 weeks to secure a shipping berth on a steam ship. A container ready for shipment can sit in the warehouse for 2-3 months while foreign government approvals, documents, and etc. are being processed.
Thanks to the efforts of the IOCC, this is not happening in Greece because the Greek government has pledged to move shipments as quickly as possible to hospitals and clinics.