Dallas charity trains medical technicians for underdeveloped world




Posted on November 30, 2010 at 9:22 PM

DALLAS — Medical technicians come to Dallas from all over the world — Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan. They are not just learning how to repair high-tech medical equipment, but also to save money and lives back home.

Kufle Abasi is a college-trained medical technician. At her AIDS clinic in Nigeria, she can do dozens of tests. But when a high tech machine like her centrifuge breaks, she is helpless.

"They have patients who have lost their lives because they kept coming and we said we cannot run your tests," Abasi said.

But all that is about to change.

She's been empowered by MediSend. The non-profit group got its start shipping medical equipment to needy countries, but realized it's even more important to train people to keep those machines running.

That's what instructor Trevor Johnson learned in the Army. Now, at MediSend, he's teaching people who need the skills even more.

"The biomed position of maintaining the equipment does not exist in a lot of the countries we work in," he said.

The students go home with a giant-size kit filled with the basic tools they will need to keep their labs running.

The course, funded in part by Exxon Mobil, takes six months. Kufle left her family — including her infant daughter — behind to come to be trained in Dallas.

But for this working mom, it's a sacrifice worth making. She'll be back home — and on the job — by Christmas.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com