Friday, June 02, 2006

On becoming a salesman...

I am not a salesman, I am not a people person, I am an engineer. My idea of persuading somebody of something is to do the math and hand them a written report, not to schmooze or cozy up to them and try to be their buddy. Yet I am faced with the need to recruit others to help the hospital get what it needs to save lives. I need to pitch the project, I need to explain the need, define the benefits of committing the money, make people understand the importance of helping.

To me the math is pretty simple. Take a hospital that gets one or two thousand new cancer patients a year. Subtract from that hospital the drugs that it needs to treat those patients. What you get is dead patients.

In Mosul and the surrounding territory, the government-run Mosul Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Hopital is the primary source of treatment for cancer patients. The supply system it depends on for drugs is not working well at all - requisitions are not filled or only partially filled, deliveries are unpredictable and erratic, and the drugs that are recieved are sometimes near the expiration of their labeled shelf life.

I've proved that it IS possible to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the hospital by doing it. It's not easy, it's not cheap, and the logistics is complicated, but it CAN be done, it IS being done. The sticking point is money. The quantities I can personally afford to send are NOT sufficient to meet the needs of the hospital and it's patients.

Currently I'm plowing all my excess income into this project. This is about enough to send one shipment a month of the most needed drugs. If I can persuade others to help fund this project, then additional shipments can be sent each month (perhaps one a week) and larger shipments could be sent.

I'm working on arrangements to channel funds through an established charity and in fact the funds for my current shipment-in-progress were channeled through that charity (I sent em the money and they paid for the shipment). The advantage of doing this is the donation will be tax deductible. I haven't worried too much so far about tax deductions, but I've discovered that others do sometimes.

More later - it's past 3AM here and I'm getting too sleepy to write coherently.


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