Murli Pendharkar checks his list of medical equipment bound for Myanmar, the third container that the Rotary Club of Kelowna (downtown) has shipped to Third World countries in two years. This equipment will be packed into the container today and arrive in Myanmar on Dec. 10.
Operating tables, X-ray machines, ICU monitors and specialized computers are contained in the shipment, put together by Rotary Club volunteers with the assistance of Interior Health.
"We have almost 100 items in all going to Myanmar," Rotary Club of Kelowna (downtown) representative Murli Pendharkar said Wednesday.
"These are all items Interior Health no longer needs, but they will make an incredible difference to a hospital in Myanmar."
This is the third, and most valuable, shipment of no-longer-required medical equipment overseen by Rotary to a developing country. Previous container loads, each worth about $500,000, were sent to the African nations of Uganda and Guinea.
Every year, Interior Health retires from service approximately $2 million worth of medical equipment. The equipment has either been superseded by new technology or is considered too old to continue servicing.
"The stuff may be no longer needed by IH, but it could be used for several more years in a place like Myanmar, where they have so little equipment to begin with," Pendharkar said.
Previous shipments have included hospital beds, wheelchairs, crutches and examination beds.
Inspiration for shipping this collection of medical equipment to Myanmar, in Southeast Asia, came from Dr. Ghee Hwang, a surgeon in Vernon. Hwang has been to hospitals in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, and seen first-hand the desperate need for better medical equipment.
Hwang may be in Yangon when the shipment arrives in early December to help oversee its
transfer and installation at the hospital. Another Rotary Club
volunteer, Chuck Cey, is already confirmed to make the trip with Pendharkar, chairman of
the medical equipment project committee.
The cost of shipping the container to Myanmar is about $20,000. In all, 14 Rotary clubs in this district have covered much of the cost, but donations to help defray expenses are always welcome. To support the project, call Pendharkar at 250-765-2842.