Welcome to the blog for http://www.medifree.org/, an organization whose mission it is to secure medical supplies for small, on-the-ground providers of care.

Every human being, no matter who they are or where they live, has the right to sutures. And of course, we are using sutures to symbolize all the medical needs that human beings have.

Here are two doctors, whose words have inspired us to take up the challenge of 'doing more.' --

" 'More' is to feel responsible when our sisters in poor countries die because their human rights did not include sutures."
Dr. Tarek Maguid, Lilongwe, Malawi

"When we can discuss solemnly the 'right to sutures' even as we discuss gender inequality and torture, we will have succeeded in shifting the agenda in a way that makes sense to the world's poor and marginalized. This should be the goal of the health and human rights movement in the 21st century. "
Dr. Paul Farmer, Partners in Health

Please consider contributing to the organizations we assist, or directly to Medifree to help us give where we feel the need is greatest and the resources least available.

If you have no money to give: "Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are."
(Nkosi Johnson, 12 year old Zulu boy, who lived with AIDS).

You may contact us by commenting on a post or by sending us an email at sutures1@live.com. Our snail mail address is P.O. Box 51334, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49005 USA, and our telephone number is 269 384-5755. We look forward to hearing from you!

Let us "preach the truth as if we had a million voices, for it is silence that kills the world."
-- St. Catherine of Sienna

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children, Port au Prince


Please take the time to read this newspaper article about two women in New Hampshire who are raising funds (through a quilt raffle) to buy braillers for blind children in Haiti. St. Vincent's is "struggling just to keep the doors open, much less meet the needs of the children in its care."
Medifree has sent them a brailler, as well as two recorders, since they are also collecting musical instruments.

Davis Zachary

Global Links' gift of sutures was delivered, as planned, to Zach. He gave a presentation on his family's work in Haiti, and urged his audience to indulge in "dangerous prayer." As you can see, he worked up quite a sweat during the evening.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Packing Up!

Tomorrow we're catching up with Davis Zachary from Real Hope for Haiti at the Town Hall in Vandalia Michigan to deliver these goodies, and listen to his talk.
Thanks, once again, to Global Links (www.globallinks.org) for another 250 sutures! The backpack is stuffed with more pillowcase dresses, and a few other useful odds and ends.
Zach is currently readying a semi trailer to ship to Haiti, so please check out http://www.haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/ to see how you can contribute.

Free Burma Rangers

Thanks to Global Links (for a gift of 200 assorted sutures), Med-Eq for providing spinal and Touhy needles, and our volunteer seamstress who, it seems, is addicted to making little girls' dresses out of pillowcases, we were able to send a small box of donations to Free Burma Rangers. These indomitably brave folks operate at the Thai-Burma border and provide medical and spiritual assistance for Karen and other minority peoples in Burma.

Not Exactly Medical Supplies, but......

still a necessary part of life. Our local homeless and drop-in shelter, where people can get a shower and do their laundry, as well as have a meal and make phone calls, all for free, is totally out of hygiene items. So Medifree has donated a bag 'o shampoo just as a small reminder that there are hungry, tired, dirty, lonely people in our hometowns as well as overseas.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Check it out at www.familyhm.org/PortableColposcopy.pdf.

The CerviScope is a portable colposcope which will allow many women in developing countries to be screened for cervical cancer, and will help save lives.

Medifree is pleased to sponsor a CerviScope for Dr. Tarek Meguid. His writing about his work in Malawi with women, along with Paul Farmer's work, inspired the creation of Medifree, so this is a return gift.

Thanks to Family Health Ministries (especially Dr. David Walmer, Kathy Walmer, and Jaqueline Ndirangu) for making this possible!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


These are the swollen hands of a refugee from Chin State, Burma. He supports his large family by working in a meatpacking plant, as do many other refugees here in Michigan. He must use a knife that is the wrong size for his grasp, through his eight-hour shift, sometimes 6 days a week, in extremely cold conditions. He doesn't want to complain, because he is scared to lose his job.

A young Karen refugee woman also works at this meat packing plant. Her job, again eight hours a day, six days a week, is to use her left arm to grab gobs of fat and throw them into an overhead bin. She can only use her left arm because her right arm is congenitally amputated a bit below the elbow.

Medifree has partnered with her church to obtain a prosthesis for her. She does have health coverage through the meatpacking plant, but her co-pay is a whopping 25%. We will be posting updates so you can share in her happiness as she finally gets her arm.

If you haven't heard about the Karen people, please check out http://www.khrg.org/ and http://www.freeburmarangers.org/. They are a minority people in Burma who are being systematically hunted down and killed by the Burmese army. It is an ongoing tragedy that for some reason rarely if ever makes it into the world's consciousness. Maybe because the Karen have no oil or other earthly riches.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Thanks, REMEDY!

Thanks to Remedy, "Recovered Medical Equipment for the Developing World," we were able to send preemie nipples to Real Hope for Haiti. As you can see, they are being well used!

Check out http://www.remedyinc.org/ to learn more about this wonderful organization.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


"Sutures are a Human Right" is evolving! We have incorporated in the state of Michigan and have become "Medifree, Inc." We are working on building a website, and this blog will be accessible through its homepage.
As Medifree, we have made a donation to Global Links to honor them on their 20th anniversary. This young Haitian is a beneficiary of their hard and loving work.
Please consider giving to Global Links ; there is a link to their website on our side bar.

Friday, April 24, 2009


"No More Victims works to obtain medical sponsorships for war-injured Iraqi children and to forge ties between the children, their families and communities in the United States. We believe one of the most effective means of combating militarism is to focus on direct relief to its victims."

Cole Miller spoke at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on April 15, 2009. A follow up meeting will be held on April 27 to see if the West Michigan community can support his work, either by sponsoring a child to come here or by sending funds to support children in their communities. We hope to be a part of any such effort.

Check out his website at www.nomorevictims.org. His videos are deeply moving.

Surgical Instruments

Thanks to a generous discount from Aesculap and an anonymous donor, we were able to purchase several thousand dollars worth of surgical instruments for Dr. Baiev's work. His email response reads in part:

I have just returned from Chechnya to find the medical instruments waiting for me. What a wonderful surprise!.....

I have been in Chechnya for the past three months operating on children with birth defects. At that time, I wish I had had the micro scissors with me as well as the forceps. The delicate instruments are essential in the kind of work I am doing. I look forward to putting the new ones to use.

I plan to spend some time observing the work on burns which is being done at Shriners Hospital in Boston. At that time, I plan to look at the kind of dermatome which would be most useful. [dermatome is surgical instrument used in skin grafting] There are so many kids in Chechnya with both burns and burns scar. Unfortunately, we still have many hundreds of mines spread around the country side.

..... Many children in Chechnya will bless you. . . . .

If you haven't read Dr. Baiev's book yet, do so! Grief of My Heart: Memoirs of a Chechen Surgeon.
If you want to help purchase a dermatome, we would be most grateful for any contributions. Send to us, or go to the website http://www.chechenchildren.org/.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Here's an example of Global Links' gift to the Real Hope for Haiti clinic being put to good use. More sutures will be going down in May, thanks to their generosity.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walker Bags

We have a friend who makes bags for walkers out of recycled materials, including those canvas bags we all have hanging from our closet doorknobs. If anyone could use a few, let me know. Anyone who uses a walker would surely like to have a sturdy, attractive bag for it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grozny School for the Blind (Chechnya)

We have found two manual braillers and other Braille material to send Dr. Baiev for use at the Grozny School for the Blind. We also hope to have other donations for the container he plans to send in the spring; we are looking for canes and Braille watches.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Refugee Boy Gets Ready to be Shot!

With needles, of course. This is my foster son from Burma, getting ready for his first ever immunizations.
He is here to introduce you to Dr. Cynthia Maung, who runs a clinic on the Thai-Myanmar border to serve Burmese refugees. Check it out at http://www.maetaoclinic.org/.

Congratulations, Dr. Mukwege!

Dr. Denis Mukwege, who runs a clinic for victims of sexual violence, in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, was recently named "African of the Year." He has also won the Olof Palme prize, awarded for outstanding achievement in promoting peace.

Check out http://www.panzihospitalbukavu.org/, and read about his work.

Also! (insert drumroll) Our first box of 200 sutures is on its way to Haiti, courtesy of Global Links. Thank you to everyone who is making this possible.