Abrazo West, Rotary donate medical supplies

From left to right, incoming Verrado Rotary President Richard Crichton, Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck, Sonora Rep. Enrique Franco, Rotary Global Grants Sub-Committee Chairman Dale Gray, Dr. Troy Anderson, Abrazo West Director of Support Services Mark Navarro, Abrazo West CEO Christina Oh, Rep. Joanne Osborne and Verrado Rotary President Carl Goin.

A partnership between Abrazo West Campus and the Rotary Club of Verrado to support Project C.U.R.E. — the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world — was recently proven successful.

And all it took was a little inspiration — and a desire to help.

Together, the hospital and Rotary donated five pallets and $250,000 of medical supplies and equipment, which will be sent to developing nations.

“When we shut down Maryvale campus, we brought a lot of their products over, their supplies and their equipment over as well. We ended up with a surplus of equipment; surplus of supplies that I felt was just too bad to waste; and I didn’t want it to just end up going to the landfill,” explained Mark Navarro, the hospital’s director of support services.

According to Navarro, the five pallets of donations included items like blankets, pillows, lab coats, gowns, masks, gloves, bandages, cots, incubator lights, mobile x-ray units, infusion pumps, ultrasound machines and bassinets.

“These are supplies we would generally consider for use with emergency management, surplus supplies that we need in case something happens. The benefit of having so much product is that we already had our set amount,” Navarro explained.

And according to Dr. Troy Anderson, cleaning supplies and decorative artwork were also donated.

“We are in the business of not only physical health but whole health, psychological and spiritual healing, keeping people at peace and trusting that you have a facility that cares for them,” he explained.

And it just so happens, Anderson is a member of the Rotary Club of Verrado, which formed in September 2017, according to Carl Goin, the club’s president. Anderson ultimately proved to be the bridge between these two organizations.

“Club members wanted to contribute back to the community,” Goin said.

The effort, Anderson explained, was initially sparked by his visit to Kenya a few years back. Upon seeing an orphanage in an impoverished area, he said, he discovered there are areas without hospitals, where people must travel 500 miles to seek medical care.

“This put a burden on my heart,” he said.

So, he and some colleagues helped pull the donation initiative together. Abrazo West Campus Chief Executive Officer Christina Oh called him the catalyst.

“What an easy, nice fit that is, that there is equipment that couldn’t be used and there’s equipment that could be needed so desperately in Kenya,” Anderson said.

“This is a story about the heart … when I go out to Kenya or I go out to these places, I’m sitting with somebody one on one and I say, ‘You’ve got an issue. You’ve got to go to a hospital,’ and there’s actually a hospital to send someone to … It’s just such a blessing to make an impact.”

A larger effort

Rotary’s side of the initiative goes beyond just a small Verrado club of about 31 members, however.

According to Dale Gray, the Rotary global grants sub-committee chairman, there is a large, ongoing community effort that reaches as far as the Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, governors’ offices.

“Rather than having Rotary running around doing little projects everywhere, let us help focus you,” Gray said was the idea when bringing the governors into the fold. “This (Abrazo West/Rotary Club of Verrado partnership) is an effort that is part of that focus.”

On the larger scale, Gray said needs assessments were conducted in six hospitals in Sonora in July 2018.

“Rather than us saying, as Americans, ‘Well, we want to take something somewhere,’ we went to the ministries, working governor to governor, and said, ‘What could we do and where do you need it?’ And so they were very effective in aiming us,” Gray explained.

This allowed specific locales that need medical supplies to be determined, he said.

“We get a lot of communication and supplies and money that goes to the communities where the expats live, like Puerto Penasco — Rocky Point — and Nogales and Agua Prieta,” he explained. “But as you go (farther) into Sonora, it becomes less prevalent to get the help.”

One such area is Navojoa, the fifth-largest city in the Mexican state of Sonora, where some equipment was recently sent, according to Gray. Medical personnel are even being trained in the local hospitals.

“We will train them how to do the surgeries, how to use the equipment, how to clean the equipment so it stays sterile,” Gray explained. “And so, on Mondays we do the surgeries; on Wednesdays they’re helping with the surgeries; by Friday they’re doing the surgeries and we’re helping.”

It’s all about ensuring the right equipment is donated to the right places, and that the medical personnel receiving the donations are properly trained.

And another need, Gray explained, was determined to be ambulances. American Medical Response recently donated an ambulance for use in Sonora.

According to Enrique Franco, a representative of the state of Sonora in Arizona, ambulances and fire trucks are a large need in small Sonoran towns. Officials hope to receive more ambulances and fire trucks.

And last year, the Rotary Club of Scottsdale even donated nearly $1 million in equipment to Sonora, Franco added.

“We are very excited and grateful” for others’ efforts and donations, he said.

Beyond Sonora, supplies were recently donated to Rwanda, Gray said, and Kenya is in the works.

“I think that if you look at Rotary, a lot of people don’t know all the good we do. And it all starts with people like the Rotary Club of Verrado.”