Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Medical equipment ready for shipment to Ghana – with enough funding

Story and photo by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the July 3, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Lynn Riggins (right) is a chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center. He has been assisting a medical clinic in Ghana, West Africa, for 17 years. (IR photo)

The medical staff at Margret Marquart Catholic Hospital in Kpando, Ghana, West Africa, is in need of a new truck. Lynn Riggins of Spokane, a medical missionary at the hospital for 17 years, has started a search to find them a truck. When he gets one, he will fill it with kidney dialysis machines and supplies to be shipped to the hospital. It’s the “two birds with one stone” kind of arrangement, he said.

The Ghanian hospital once had three rigs but two are currently inoperable and the third is approaching that condition. The vehicles get rugged wear and tear on the country’s poor roads.

To get medical supplies and other materials, staffers travel three hours to Ghana’s capital of Accra. The rigs are also used to transport nurses into the rural areas for treatment and education of residents. Beyond that, when the vehicles are not otherwise in use, staff members use the trucks for personal needs and recreation.

Riggins said the truck should be 1995 or newer with a double cab. It needs to be at least a 3/4 ton or more to haul supplies. “A van would also be suitable,” he said.

After getting the truck, Riggins will have it repaired as needed and then have an identifying sign painted on the sides with the name of the hospital and all the donors. The fund-raising will continue until enough money is raised to ship the truck to Ghana. The project from start to finish could take as long as two years, he said.

Sacred Heart Medical Center is donating the kidney dialysis machines that will be packed into the truck. The hospital in Ghana is in great need of these, too, since the machines in use now are about 15 years old, Riggins said. The medical missionary was responsible for getting these machines to Ghana as well.

Margret Marquart Hospital has 250 beds and treats “lots of children.” As in many African countries, HIV/AIDS greatly affects the population of Ghana.

Riggins has sent medical supplies to Ghana 18 times before but this will be his first time to send a truck. “Every time I ship something,” he said, “I say ‘never again,” but here I am, at it once more.”

For more information, call Riggins at (509) 327-2045. Donations can be mailed to Lynn Riggins, 3304 W. Gordon, Spokane, WA 99205. All contributions of whatever size are welcome.

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