Medical Equipment Gets New Purpose in Developing Countries

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GRIMES, Iowa –Many employees take on collection drives at the workplace. Usually those collections are clothing drives or food drives, but a different kind of donation is making a difference around the world.

At an office building in Grimes, you’ll find a trailer full of boxes ready be taken away. The boxes are full of medical equipment and supplies that might be expired or outdated, but still in good shape.

Lisa Campbell, UnityPoint Health’s Director of Purchased Services Contracting, said, “We have equipment, incubators, anesthesia machines, all this kind of stuff that, we’re a very innovative system, so that a lot of times they’ll come up with this new and improved thing and this other equipment doesn’t have any place to go.”

Campbell found a new home for medical supplies and equipment that can no longer be used at UnityPoint Health’s hospitals and clinics. “Instead of us throwing those out or throwing those in the dump, we actually bring them back on the trucks and put them on a semi and they go to Minneapolis to our partner MATTER and then they distribute to the countries that need them,” said Campbell.

MATTER is a non-profit that redistributes medical supplies and equipment to some of the hardest to reach parts of the world. “A lot of these supplies go to South America, Africa, Haiti, places that have nothing,” she said.

UnityPoint Health has donated 10,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies since they started working with MATTER at the end of 2017. They send a trailer full of supplies to Minneapolis every six to eight weeks.

Recent shipments included five anesthesia machines, 24 hospital beds, even pediatric pajamas. “They can still be used. They were just adorable little pajamas. And these third world countries have nothing, they have nothing. So, anything we can give them, they appreciate so much,” said Campbell.

MATTER has shipped 157 containers to 40 countries around the world in the last three years.


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