Afghanistan + 1 more

U.S.-Pakistani partnership delivers medical supplies to Afghan refugees

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Six hospitals in Pakistan serving Afghan refugees recently received a huge shipment of medical supplies, thanks to a U.S.-Pakistani Rotarian partnership that began with a Group Study Exchange.
When Charles H. Biederman, member of the Rotary Club of Waitsfield/Warren (The Valley), Vermont, led a District 7850 GSE team to Pakistan five years ago, he formed an enduring friendship with host Akhtar K. Alavi, member of the Rotary Club of Karachi and a past governor of District 3270. After the Afghan war, "we decided to see if there was anything we could do to aid the refugees," Biederman said.

Biederman's friendship with Tony Kuehmsted, member of the Rotary Club of Appleton, Wisconsin, District 6220, paved the way for the project. District 6220 had assembled a container of medical supplies for Africa and agreed to do another for Afghan refugees. District 7850 paid to ship the 40-foot container, with a Rotary Foundation New Opportunities Grant. The Rotary Club of Karachi accepted the shipment, paid port expenses, and coordinated the release of the goods without payment of custom duties.

The Karachi club then teamed up with the Rotary Club of Quetta Cosmopolitan to distribute the goods. "The Quetta Cosmopolitan club formed a team of doctors who worked very hard for over a month to sort these medical supplies to enable them to donate them where needed most," Alavi said. "This was a Herculean task as there were over 3000 varieties of medical supplies, with a total of nearly 70,000 items!"

At a ceremony on 23 September attended by an array of leaders of Baluchistan province, Pakistani Rotarians handed over the supplies to the province's governor, Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal. Then the supplies, loaded on trucks with the banners of the Rotary clubs involved, were delivered to six area hospitals.