Module 9: Donating Equipment

Global health organizations must provide their partners in the developing world with necessary medical equipment and supplies to facilitate doctors’ work. Obtaining donated equipment is an excellent way to minimize overhead costs. Not all donated equipment, however, is beneficial to global health organizations and their partners. For equipment donations to be useful, the following key points must be considered:

  • Equipment must be requested: If equipment is donated without an expressed need by the local doctors, it will collect dust and not be used. A list of equipment needs must come from the local clinic, not from foreigners’ expectations of what may be needed.
  • Equipment must be functional, and of high quality: If the donated equipment is not of high quality it cannot be used. Additionally, some medical equipment does not perform properly under the climate conditions of some developing countries. For example, the Tonopen for glaucoma IOP checks can become damaged and inaccurate in the extreme humidity of many regions of Africa.
  • Equipment must be familiar to local doctors:  If local doctors do not know how to properly operate the equipment, it will not be used.
  • Overall cost-effectiveness: It often costs more to ship equipment and medicines abroad than to buy them from local sources or vendors, which nullifies the advantage of obtaining donated supplies.

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