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Mar. 15, 2019

MedShare and Flexport.org: Partnering to Decrease Mother and Infant Fatalities

Susy Schöneberg

Flexport.org is proud to partner with MedShare, a 501c(3) humanitarian aid organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people, communities, and our planet by sourcing and directly delivering surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need around the world. U.S. hospitals currently produce over two million tons of medical waste each year, most of which comprises unused, unexpired medical supplies and equipment. To date, MedShare has prevented over 3.8 million cubic feet of medical products from being wasted in local landfills; that’s equivalent to over 43 olympic-sized swimming pools full of goods!

Over the next 5 years, one of MedShare’s initiatives is to provide 100,000 clean birthing kits filled with basic necessities, such as alcohol pads, soap, and sterile gloves, to women, midwives, and community health workers globally.

In 2017, roughly 7,000 newborns died every single day worldwide, even though infant and child deaths are “easily preventable through simple, cost-effective interventions administered before, during and immediately after birth,” according to UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. Liu Zhenmin.

At the same time, approximately 800 women die from preventable complications related to pregnancy or childbirth every day. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, and 98% of these maternal deaths are preventable. MedShare’s birthing kits help save the lives of both mothers and infants.

“Giving birth in Sierra Leone is a daunting task. Most mothers walk miles to arrive at a community health facility where very basic care is provided. These health facilities are often grossly understaffed, and often lack essential medications and equipment. The birthing kits are a godsend to most of these women. It provides them with clean equipment to help ensure a safe birth and healthy baby,” says Elizabeth Cimo of Project Peanut Butter in Sierra Leone.

“The kit has the potential not only to make the delivery safe, clean, and easy for the mother and family, but also serves to save lives of both the mother and newborn, which eventually would lead to the greater contribution in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality,” says Nurse Tsering Wangmo, Medical Director of Nomads Clinic.

To build these clean birthing kits, MedShare relies on product donations from companies and contributions from individuals for these products:

  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Baby beanies
  • Bar soap
  • Maternity/feminine pads
  • Mesh underwear
  • Newborn infant diapers
  • Nose aspirators
  • Pacifiers
  • Receiving blankets
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Sterile latex gloves
  • Sterile scalpels
  • Umbilical cord clamps
  • Underpads

If a company you love produces any of the products listed above, we encourage you to share this donation opportunity with them. To learn more or donate to MedShare’s clean birthing kits, contact Flexport.org.

With a set budget per shipment, pricing and transparency are critical to MedShare’s operations. Flexport.org unlocks cost savings for MedShare with discounted freight services, whether for their internationally-bound containers or trucking shipments bringing in donated supplies to their warehouses. Using Flexport’s technology, MedShare gains a new level of visibility into their supply chain, ensuring critical goods actually reach their destinations.

We recently joined MedShare to send off one of their containers to the Philippines. This container, managed by Flexport, will treat 12,500 patients in need at the Indigenous People’s Hospital.

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