Chuck Haupt, Executive Director at MedShare, Western Region (www.medshare.org) talked about MedShare’s innovative ways to deliver medical equipment and supplies to health systems in the resource-poor regions of the world. MedShare was found 15 years ago, on the premise that things thrown away in landfills, in perfectly good condition, can be used by others. Thus critical needs of people in resource poor regions of the world can be addressed while decreasing environmental impact of excess. Among 48 diverse businesses, hospital and medical waste tends to be 4th largest.
MedShare is a non-profit that follows an efficient process of collecting perfectly usable medical supplies and equipment that would be thrown away and ships it to various countries. However, it refrains from shipping items without first determining the need. MedShare follows pull versus push model, never sending anything that is not clearly requested and needed. It does not repeat the story where a country receives equipment that would be too advanced for their facility, or supplies with instructions in a language that would not be understood, or outdated items that have no usefulness, just to get rid of the stuff. How does MedShare acquire the equipment and supplies that could be used in poor regions in the world? Sometimes manufacturing facilities of consumables as well as large devices may give away excess inventory. However, more likely scenario is to acquire these from hospitals.
Distributors of surgical packs for instance, pack kits for upcoming surgical procedures. Once the kit reaches the OR room, then none of the items are used again, even though some of the items may have not been used or even opened. MedShare makes giving painless and convenient. Hospitals can place these unused items into large green bins and MedShare volunteers drive and pick up the items, on a regular basis. Similarly, MedShare collects large equipment, in good condition, made obsolete. MedShare is largely run by volunteers who give of their time generously and keep coming back. A large dedicated group of volunteers sort the items based on advanced software, date the items, and items are packed and shipped to the respective countries, based on the request filled out by them on the website.
MedShare has two distribution centers now and has shipped 400 containers of medical supplies, across the world. MedShare has been widely recognized among the top charities. Charity Navigator recently recognized MedShare by ranking them at #4 on Top Ten List of Slam Dunk Charities, and The Georgia Center for Nonprofits named MedShare as the Top Nonprofit of the Year. MedShare welcomes all volunteers, donations, and connections with hospital systems that may want to give away and reduce waste, while helping people in resource-poor regions of the world better access to efficient healthcare. It was very gratifying for me to volunteer at MedShare with http://www.bio2devicegroup.org members and we are planning another volunteer trip. For information on MedShare to to acquire supplies, please contact them through the website http://www.medhsare.org .