“When asked to do something, sometimes it’s best to say ‘yes’ and figure out how you’re going to do it later,” smiles Jenny Senti, RN, clinical nurse specialist. That is exactly what Jenny did when she was asked to mentor a master of public health student desiring a practicum in obstetrics at Altru Health System.
Jenny said ‘yes’ and was fortunate enough to meet Dede Hesse from Ghana, a sub region of West Africa. Dede had a deep desire to learn, and she planned to take her new skills and knowledge across the world, back home to Ghana.
Dede was fortunate enough to meet Duane Sauer, customer support analyst at Altru. The two literally crossed paths one day—in the hallway at Altru, while Duane was working on equipment in a closet. A brief conversation, coupled with Dede’s interest in the equipment, led to her describing the medical school and health facility her parents were working tirelessly to open in Ghana. Duane, having previous experience with donating computers and medical equipment internationally, quickly began asking questions. His heart for this sort of work kicked into motion.
Turning a Dream into Reality
Dede’s mother, a physician, and her father, a pastor, dreamed of opening this medical facility in Ghana. Planning had already begun, and a donation of medical equipment and computers would help bring the Hesse family’s dream to life.
Dede’s mother, Professor Hesse, visited Altru Health System in 2015. While she was here, other medical equipment that Altru was no longer utilizing was earmarked for donation to Ghana.
Clyde Strand, manager of biomed electronics, helped to prepare an isolette, fetal monitors, balloon pumps and other medical equipment that would have otherwise been recycled. Duane and other members of his team worked to restore over 100 computers and prepare them with necessary cords, keyboards, monitors, networking equipment and printers.
The donation, which would have all been recycled material and no longer served a purpose here, now would have a new life and serve people across the globe.
It Takes a Team
When the time came to assemble and pack all the equipment, even more departments and people at Altru got involved.
Ann Pederson in Altru’s Medical Library collected four large boxes of books donated by physicians and nurse practitioners. Employees volunteered time to package all contents and helped load the long-awaited truck that took the donation to be shipped to Ghana.
“It’s just something we do,” shares Duane. He finds comfort knowing that equipment that had expired here, or we had outgrown, would continue its life and help further the medical field, instead of being deposited into the recycle bin.
“I am so proud of this organization,” reflects Jenny. “We are taking care of people, all over the world.”
The medical school in Ghana was accredited before the shipment arrived, and the donated supplies are now in use.