EqualMed in the South Pacific - Connecting medical supplies to under-served medical facilities. EqualMed brings medical supplies to neglected tiny nations in the South Pacific, taking a one-step-at-a-time approach. Our one-step-at-a-time outlook is a giant leap for those in need of access to medical care.
Low income and under-served people of the tiny islands in the South Pacific are not in media focus yet they desperately need access to medical care. Access to medical care and medical supplies has been in critical shortage in some of these “forgotten” tiny nations. For example, as a measure of access to medical care, the ratio of physicians to the population is significantly below acceptable standards averaging about 3 physicians to 10,000 people. Medical equipment is scarce; there are no radiotherapy units in any of these island nations. Furthermore, basic yet necessary medical supplies are in critical shortage. Click the "learn more" button for details.
Project Fiji was launched and successfully executed in summer of 2013, which paved the way for the genesis of EqualMed. The second project was successfully executed in summer of 2014. Project Fiji 2017, the first project of EqualMed as an incorporated non-profit, was launched in January 2017.
To many, Fiji is paradise and indeed it is for hundreds of thousands of tourists enjoying the clear blue skies, sunshine, and unspoiled beaches engulfing the crystal clear waters. But for the people of this friendly nation, paradise is elusive. This archipelago of about 300 islands has suffered multiple military coups that resulted in the exodus of medical professionals that has left the nation with a relatively neglected health system due to withdrawal of foreign aid since 1987. Yet, patients from neighboring pacific nations come to Fiji for medical treatment because Fiji is regarded as having the most advanced medical facilities in the South Pacific. Fiji has a School of Medicine and is the primary hub of the University of the South Pacific.
Medical facilities in Fiji do not have the very basic of medical supplies to treat people in need of medical care. They often lack primary medical supplies such as micropore tape, band aids, and over the counter drugs. These are very necessary and essential medical supplies which are available abundantly in the USA. Each year, tons of unexpired medical supplies in the USA are discarded in landfills that unnecessarily burden our lovely planet. Since 2013, EqualMed has channeled these surplus medical supplies to medical facilities in rural and out of reach places in Fiji.
Patients in Fiji often have to bring their own medical supplies. For example, during my previous medical missions I witnessed a boy of about 10 with a suspected broken arm waiting for hours to be seen at a major city hospital and later to be told “go to the pharmacy in town and get plaster as the hospital does not have any.” I witnessed admitted sick children's parents being asked to bring their own bedding. I have seen medical staff using commercial adhesive tape instead of medical micropore tape on wounds and seconds later the tape falls off (try it yourself, put normal adhesive tape on a small ball of cotton wool on your arm or leg!). The list goes on. The take home idea is that basic medical supplies are lacking in paradise – a paradox!!! Together we can take one-step-at-a-time and make a difference to the lives of many.
Medical facilities are also in dire need. Dilapidated clinics, home-made equipment such as wheelchairs, rusty, fragile, and unmaintained baby beds/cots, recycling of medical apparatus that would be discarded due to hygiene issues in developed nations, and much more are symptoms of a medical system begging for your help. See photographs below.