Over the years of our partnership with St Francis Hospital we are constantly struck by the lack of medical equipment and the sheer quantity that is broken, unused or inappropriate. Functional medical equipment is something we often take for granted in the NHS when diagnosing, monitoring, treating and rehabilitating patients. Without this healthcare workers on the front lines of service delivery face enormous struggles to do their job effectively.
Naturally this sometimes raises questions about the potential for equipment donation. We do however need to be aware that well-intentioned, donations of medical equipment can be ineffective and unsustainable, and sometimes create more problems than they solve. That said, many health institutions in developing countries rely significantly on medical equipment donations. The World Health organization estimates that up to 80% of medical equipment in developing countries is donated or funded by international donors and foreign governments.
We want to play our part in this but in a controlled and coordinated way. A considerable amount of equipment has been sent or taken to Zambia but in 2015, in particular, a container organized by Chris Faldon, and funded by Hands Around the World, was sent out. It contained two portable X Ray machines from the BGH Radiology Department following a recent upgrade, as well as computers, surgical supplies, medical and primary school text books, dental packs, spectacles, blood pressure monitors, staff uniforms, a vast array of kitchen equipment and even a sewing machine.
Thanks for this are due to Chris Heap (IM&T) and Adam Wood (Infection Control) took one of the NHS Borders Laundry vans down to Heathrow for the packing. Thanks are also due to DHL (carrier), Neal Brothers (packers at Heathrow), MIS HealthCare (delivering XR machines), Jim Oliver (Hands Around the World), Shane Pettie, Bruce Mair (Stores) and their colleagues for having to work the mountain of donated goods. Also Derek McAulay (Estates) and Shirley Marr (Public Health).