Many residents of Greenburgh have contacted me asking – how can they help the victims of the tragic Haitian earthquake. There is an organization founded by Hastings on Hudson resident Danielle Butin that is very dedicated, doesn’t spend lots of money on administration and has worked with the Haitian people in the past—supplying hospitals in Haiti with medical supplies. I received the following e mail from Danielle. If you would like to help you can make a donation and drop it off at the Afya Warehouse at 510 Nepperhan Ave, Yonkers 10701. I admire Danielle and Afya because I know that most of your donations will go to the people who need help, not for administration. I just googled Afya. There are many articles. I picked two--- one from the NY TIMES (please note the 2nd to last paragraph—her organization was helping Haiti in 2008). I also am posting another article I found in my google search—Afya donated 120 beds to a Haitian hospital last year.
Bill Carter, Commissioner of the Theodore Young Community Center, advised me that the center will be organizing a fundraising concert to raise funds for the victims. More information on the concert will be posted after details are finalized. If residents have further suggestions as to how we, as a community, can help – please advise.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
LETTER FROM Afya…
When we heard the news of Haiti's earthquake, the Afya team connected
with Partners in Health with whom we have steadily collaborated for the
past two years. We then strategically reached out to donor organizations
and hospitals for relief supplies. Today we acquired 300 mattresses from
Jewish Home Lifecare in Manhattan to be used in makeshift shelters on
the island. Afya has spent the day responding to the incredible
outpouring of concern, people calling and asking worriedly, "How can I
help? What can I do?"
The news we hear is tragic, the aftermath destruction of a 7.3
earthquake and the resonating series of aftershocks has proved
disasterous. Thousands are dead, hundreds of thousands are injured,
homeless and starving. Haiti, an underserved and poverty stricken
nation, is now faced with a natural catastrophe. It is imperative that we
respond as quickly as possible with life supporting supplies.
Each of you receiving this letter can help:
1. We need financial support to send urgently needed supplies to Haiti.
Our goal is to load and ship as much as possible from our warehouse in
Yonkers to Port au Prince, Haiti. Please visit our donation page on our
website: http://afyafoundation.org/index-5.html. The sooner we raise
the necessary capital, the more quickly Afya can get supplies to those
2. Begin a supply donation drive and drop it off at the Afya
Warehouse at 510 Nepperhan Ave Yonkers, NY 10701.
Urgently needed supplies for Haiti:
Water Purification Tablets
Small Water Buckets
Ensure (or any liquid food supplement)
Personal Care Items
IV Starter Kits
Please note: Afya cannot accept supplies which are expired or less than 5
months from expiration.
Additional supplies needed for survivors of this tragedy are the following:
Closed Toed Shoes
3. Volunteer and sort at AFYA. Clothes need to be sorted and boxed by
size, supplies must be organized carefully to minimize additional work for
clinicians receiving the goods in Haiti. Please email
email@example.com set up times to come in to help.
We need you! We need your commitment and your energy.
4. SPREAD THE WORD by sharing this email with friends, family and
colleagues. Each person's interest, efforts and caring will make a
Let's work together to initiate an active relief effort for Haitians in this
time of darkness and despair. Afya has a history of providing purpose
and well-being to vulnerable populations and we do it well. We need your
help to bring health benefits to a country in crisis. Help Afya deliver
significant donated supplies from New York to Haiti. We have served
Haitian clinics and hospitals purposefully over the past two years. They
need us more than ever and we are prepared to fulfill on this
humanitarian effort. We need you to make it a powerful and worthy
Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR
Founder, Executive Director
Unused Hospital Supplies Get Second Chance Overseas
David Goldman for The New York Times
Danielle Butin greases up a donated wheelchair at her warehouse in Yonkers.
Published: March 24, 2008
Already confounded by their own bodies’ insurrections, patients entering hospitals find themselves in a system thick with new codes and contradictions. There’s the feeling of widespread economy, in the canned peas and abrasive sheets, clashing with signs of protocol-inspired excess — the pileup of unused supplies, still wrapped in plastic, that get thrown away with the trash after every operation.
It’s true that there’s sometimes money to be made, or at least saved, in hospital waste, but the reasons for that often lie outside a hospital’s control. Someone comes up with a better, cheaper gauze, but demands that the hospital use only that gauze the moment the contract takes effect. Out with all the old gauze, barrels of it — off to the dump. Or a manufacturer won’t provide a warranty for some sutures once the outer layer of plastic is off, even if the inner layer of plastic keeps them sterile. Someone has crunched the numbers and decided the hospital can’t take the risk of liability; out with the unused sutures.
Check into a hospital, and mostly by just lying in bed, you’ll generate, on average, 25 pounds of waste a day, according to Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, an environmental advocacy group. Some portion of that waste is safe, fully functioning and no doubt desperately needed somewhere in the world.
This system seems patently crazy, but no more crazy than so much else about the through-the-rabbit-hole world of medicine, and probably equally complicated.
Danielle Butin, a recently downsized managed care executive, started to think in October that she could maybe blast through some of that impenetrable hospital logic with the simplest of solutions. She had time; she had a car. Maybe she could take some of those goods off some New York hospitals’ hands and figure out a way to get them someplace they were needed.
After losing her job last summer, Ms. Butin had spent a month vacationing in Tanzania, and everywhere she went, she’d run into doctors on vacations from missions who were appalled by the lack of supplies where they worked.
“What would you do with, say, a young boy who’s got an open sore on his foot?” she asked a doctor who’d been working in Uganda. Wrap it with a surgical glove, the doctor told her — probably one that had already been used and cleaned several times. In October, Ms. Butin started calling around to hospitals. Yes, come, the guys in inventory control told her at NewYork-Presbyterian and Memorial Sloan-Kettering, among other New York hospitals. Come next week, said one manager. Bring a truck, said another. A very big truck.
“I didn’t even have to make a pitch,” said Ms. Butin, 44, who has a degree in public health. “Everybody got it right away.” (NewYork-Presbyterian’s Columbia and Weill Cornell hospitals both declined to comment, given how recently the collaboration started; Sloan-Kettering also declined to comment.)
Making weekly trips around the city in a truck that her partner, a photographer in Yonkers, usually drove, Ms. Butin quickly started filling some cheap warehouse space she’d found in Yonkers with boxes and boxes of surgical gloves, sponges, tape and other paraphernalia.
IF the hospital staffers caught on to the idea right away, that’s also partly because many hospitals now have some kind of student group that makes the same kind of effort, or an employee who voluntarily champions the cause. But in New York, there is no organization regularly and reliably serving as a clearinghouse for all the hospitals, processing the inventory before sending it overseas the way an Atlanta group called Medshare does in that city.
In any case, Ms. Butin quickly learned that whatever recycling of surplus the hospitals were already doing internally, there was still enough slipping through the cracks, destined for waste management, that she felt she could help.
“Hospitals in New York are conscientious about this issue,” said Ms. Butin, “but it’s their job to deliver care, not spend all their time worrying about how to get surplus to Africa.”
Ms. Butin knew enough to know just how much she didn’t know, and contacted Partners in Health, an established medical nonprofit agency that works in developing nations. She started trying to fill a wish list provided by a hospital Partners in Health worked with in Haiti, where the agency would send her supplies and ensure safe distribution.
Ms. Butin, who calls her new project Afya Foundation of America — afya is Swahili for health — doesn’t believe in wasting supplies. She doesn’t believe in wasting time, either. In the time it takes her to get from the first floor of a hospital to the 17th, she’ll grill a nurse on the elevator about how to tell the difference between an operating room table and a heavy-duty stretcher (the table is heavier). If she’s waiting for a Jamba Juice at Whole Foods, she’ll ask the store manager if the market would donate cooking supplies for the kitchens of overseas hospitals in need (yes, she eventually heard from the Union Square store). It’s a straightforward system, really: She asks, and usually, people say yes.
Accustomed to a corporate pace, Ms. Butin works fast. Her first 40-foot container full of supplies went out to Haiti on March 13. She’s still waiting for her nonprofit tax exemption, and she has a lot to figure out, like how to sort her onslaught of inventory, how to expand and how to find a free meat grinder, a last urgent item requested by that hospital kitchen in Haiti.
By the time she has figured it out, she will have made it all look obvious.
Children rights activist Marian Wright Edelman said it best by telling the world, “Service is the rent each of us pays for living. The only thing that lasts is what is shared with others.”
Last week, volunteers from AFYA and Partners in Health, who worked with staff and volunteers from Hebrew SeniorLife on Centre Street in Roslindale, loaded about 120 donated hospital beds into three container trucks for shipment to Haiti.
The beds' journey to Haitibegan with a simple Boston-to-Yonkers long-distance telephone call. Dr. Robert Schreiber, physician-in-chief of Hebrew SeniorLife at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center placed a call to a former colleague, Danielle Butin.
Butin is co-founder of the AFYA Foundation, an organization that works with hospitals and other medical facilities in the eastern U.S. wishing to donateunwanted medical supplies or gently used medical equipment. AFYA then ships these donations to medical facilities with proven, solid infrastructures throughout Africa and Haiti.
“We have saved over 300 tons of waste from New York landfills by shipping 23 containers containing over 500,000 pounds of medical supplies in the past 19 months with great success. There is no greater feeling than to know you got quality, usable supplies into the hands of qualified medical professionals who now have the tools to save lives and give so many a brighter future,” said Butin, AFYA’s executive director.
“When our new Dedham campus, New Bridge on the Charles, was completed, we entered into the moving-in phase and found ourselves with about 120 hospital beds we could no longer use,” said Schreiber. “After speaking with our vice president of real estate, I was able to facilitate offering the beds to Danielle, and I knew she would know where the need would be greatest and they’d have a life all over again.
“There is a Hebrew phrase ‘tikkum olam,’ that means to heal the world, or repair the world. I believe when organizations assist others by donating what they no longer need, no longer can use, we are healing the world and also making it a much greener place to live.”
Also playing a role in the process was Boston’s Partners in Health, which was founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Jim Kim and Ophelia Dahl. Today, Partners in Health has expanded to 10 countries; the organization has proven that supposedly untreatable diseases can be addressed successfully, even in poor countries, said Kathryn Kempton, PIH’s director of procurement.
“We have had recent success with drug-resistant tuberculosis in Russia and Peru, and great strides were achieved in Rwanda, Malawi and Lesotho in the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis as well as improving maternal health rates,” said Kempton.
Jonathan Lascher, procurement manager with PIH, said, “The beds are going to go to St. Mark’s Hospital in Haiti, which provides health care for Haiti’s central plateau. Partners in Health’s partner organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante or ‘Partners in Health’ in Haitian Kreyol, works with the Haitian government to run St. Mark’s Hospital. The staff of the hospital is Haitian, so we are not only providing health care, but also creating jobs in the region. St. Mark’s staff is very excited about receiving the beds.”
Sara Schuyler, AFYA’s domestic resources and international capacities manager, had a “green” outlook on the donation: “Hospital beds that must be adjusted manually aren’t in high demand here in the U.S., but in Haiti where electricity is at a premium and is best saved for use in the [operating room] or an anesthesia suite, these hospital beds will be a perfect fit.”
Copyright 2009 The Taunton Gazette. Some rights reserved
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