Emergency Shipment of Medicines/Medical Supplies/Equipment to Juba Teaching Hospital
January 16, 2014
Dr. Taban Martin Vitale, Okang Wilson Ezekiel, Richard Ambayo Kamilo, Naku Charles Lwanga and Dr. Martina C Fuchs
Because of the generous support of Humanity United, Pam and Pierre Omidyar, Michael Wilson, and The Maya Foundation, RMF was able to initiate the procurement of critically needed supplies in Kampala to be shipped to Juba Teaching Hospital in the course of late December/early January. 856 boxes of medicines, medical supplies and equipment, more than 13,000 pounds of urgently needed supplies were provided to Juba Teaching Hospital on January 10, 2014.
Juba Teaching Hospital, Juba, South Sudan
Since tensions started in South Sudan in mid-December 2013, more than 400,000 people are said to have fled their homes, thousands have been wounded and killed.
Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH), a 580-bed facility and the only referral hospital in the whole country, is located in Juba City, Central Equatoria State. With an estimated population of 9.6million based on annual population growth of 3% from a population census conducted in 2008 and lack of proper functioning primary health care facilities upcountry, many South Sudanese have nowhere to go to but to this national referral hospital which has been overwhelmed even before the current conflict. Military and police hospitals, if any, are non-functional country wide, forcing soldiers and officers to share the limited facilities with civilians. Departments and services include: Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Mental Health, Physiotherapy, Diagnostic Services: Laboratory, Radiology; Finance/Administration/Statistical Unit.
With the growing population of Juba City, currently estimated to be 372,141 based on the population census conducted in 2008, there was immense need to increase the bed capacity of the wards, even before the current crisis, to handle the growing population and increase access to health services. The hospital is not well equipped and lacking basic medical supplies and equipment as well as human resources to deliver quality healthcare services to the people, and the situation became dire in these last few weeks as JTH was inundated with patients, severely wounded and seriously ill, and running desperately low on urgently needed medical supplies, medicines, and equipment to do its life-saving work. Since many people arrived with severe wounds, there were also urgent requests to donate blood.
In close collaboration with the Director General of JTH and with support from the MOH, RMF Uganda and South Sudan team members worked with Joint Medical Store (JMS) in Kampala to procure the supplies. Although officially closed from Dec 27–Jan 6, JMS made a major exception and opened their store for us to make this emergency shipment possible.
Procurement in Kampala
A total of 856 boxes of medicines, medical supplies and equipment were packed, more than 13,000 pounds in urgently needed supplies for Juba Teaching Hospital. Different options for transport were taken into consideration since a plane was generously offered:
1. Flight from Entebbe into Juba (flight permits were being requested and prepared);
2. Transport via road.
Because of the amount and weight of the consignment, we decided to transport via road. A South Sudanese friend of RMF’s team, a lab technician who works for JTH and is the Managing Director of Medicare Company, a firm experienced in transporting laboratory equipment, pharmaceuticals and medical goods, offered to transport the cargo from Kampala to Juba.
Leaving Kampala – On route and at the Uganda/South Sudan border
Customs officials at the Ugandan side of the border verifying RMF documents
En route from the Uganda/South Sudan border to Juba Teaching Hospital
Juba Town – Customs
January 10, 2014 – Arrival at Juba Teaching Hospital – Unloading the supplies and preparing for distribution
RMF team members, coming from Kampala, Juba and Nimule, connected at the Uganda/South Sudan border, and were joined by JTH pharmacist, Dr Gismalla, who had come from Juba to Nimule to accompany the convoy to Juba. They met representatives from JTH and MOH at Juba customs, and the entire convoy arrived at Juba Teaching Hospital on Friday, January 10. More than 50 JTH staff members from all departments and many patients were waiting for them. The mood was jubilant. The hospital had been working so hard without supplies they desperately needed. JTH was seriously lacking blood, and because of our shipment, they were now finally able to do urgently needed blood transfusions. With our shipment, we provided: 1,000 blood giving sets; 1,500 blood bags (1,000 @ 450ml; 500 @ 250ml), and also blood grouping reagents: Anti A Serum, Anti B Serum, and Anti D Serum. We also supplied: IV sets, drip stands, IV cannulae, syringes, etc. A major blood drive was initiated for the next day, Saturday, January 11.
The radiology department was there to wait for the truck also: We brought 3,500 X-ray films in different sizes, and X-ray developer and fixer. And this is just a small portion of the total shipment.
Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of JTH welcoming RMF team and greeting Dr. Taban Martin Vitale
Director General, JTH (in white coat)
JTH pharmacist Dr. Gismalla, RMF's Richard Ambayo, Dr. Taban Martin Vitale, Okang Wilson Ezekiel, JTH DG Dr. Wani Lolik Lado
Mr. Charles, Head of Laboratory Department for JTH (front) and his colleague collecting the blood bags to proceed with blood donation campaign
Managing Director at Medicare Company and Lab Technician at JTH
On the morning of January 11, RMF’s team met with the JTH DG and JTH department heads and staff and MOH representatives, to go through all boxes and supplies and organize distribution together. Everyone was joyful and excited. Distribution started immediately for the laboratory and radiology departments. Items were also given out right away for specific departments’ emergency and crisis needs. Dr Gismalla, who had joined RMF’s team in Nimule, continued to be an intricate part of the distribution.
A blood drive at JTH was initiated by the Indian community. More than 90 persons (including all RMF team members) donated blood!
Blood Drive at Juba Teaching Hospital on January 11, 2014
January 13, 2014
More than 50 X-ray films are being used per day; lots of consumables are being used for wound care and wound cleaning; many, many patients have already been treated with the supplies we brought on January 10. There was a profound deficiency in supplies; JTH is running through the ones we brought quickly.