The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) has been continuing to provide assistance in various forms to medical facilities in the Tohoku region. In response to a request for assistance from the Inawashiro Hospital, located in the tsunami-stricken port town of Kesennuma (Miyagi Prefecture), AMDA provided thermometers, portable EKGs, nebulizers, inhalers, and other equipment. After suffering severe damage in the tsunami, the hospital has resumed operations on a limited scale, but the burden on the nursing staff has been tremendous, and AMDA decided to dispatch a nurse to assist them. The nursing shortage is severe, however, and AMDA is continuing to try to recruit nurses.
Since July, AMDA has been sending nurses to another hospital in Miyagi Prefecture, the Shizugawa Public Hospital in Minamisanriku. Although the hospital has been steadily recovering in terms of the physical structure, equipment, and supplies, and is therefore able to offer more services to patients, they are still understaffed in terms of nurses in particular and so the existing staff is working excessive hours. In September, AMDA dispatched two nurses and one pharmacist to help out. Over the first six weeks after the disaster, AMDA sent close to 150 medical personnel, and in the recovery period (May to Sept.), they sent another 40.
Through mid-September, AMDA had sent 46 medical and nursing students to Shizugawa Public Hospital as well to spend their summer vacation helping out. They were able to provide some relief for the medical staff and learned a great deal at the same time.
AMDA also held its 8th public seminar in mid-September at the Okayama Prefectural University to reflect on the lessons learned from the disaster.
NICCO is working with the nonprofit Soul of Tohoku to promote economic recovery by promoting the sale of local products online. The magazine Fujin Gaho [Women’s Illustrated Gazette] and its website “Fujin Gaho no Kaimono” are featuring food products from the region, starting with Iwate Prefecture. The article is accompanied by an explanation of how the products are being screened for radiation from the nuclear plant disaster. Soul of Tohoku is a project sponsored by the Soul of Japan Foundation, bringing together chefs from around Japan to protect Tohoku’s local cuisine and help its dietary environment and food industry recover.