Advice about sending medical supplies overseas

You are here:
< Back

Many organizations collect, sort, and send used or surplus medical goods to developing countries. Usually this is a great idea by helping people in impoverished areas get things that can improve their health care while also reducing waste from sending countries. However, sometimes it can be counterproductive if equipment being sent is broken, has missing parts, does not have a user manual, or is not appropriate for where it is going. Outdated medicines are often a problem, and many overseas governments are becoming more careful about what they will accept. These matters can result in big wastes of time and money and can create ill will between the sender and receiver.

Three organizations are especially trying to help raise the standards: (1) MedSurplus Alliance (2) Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) and (3) Technical Exchanage for Christian Health Care (TECH). The TECH motto is “No junk for Jesus.” Learn about them on their following descriptions and websites. Membership in any of the three of these helps show an appreciation of high standards. However, there are many other organizations with excellent quality standards who do not belong to MedSurplus Alliance, PQMD, or TECH.

Also see W.H.O Standards for (1) Donating Medical Equipment and (2) Medicines, as well as the New York Times articles on the subject (all described below). A related concern has to do with the frequent lack of people in developing countries who have the skills to operate and maintain some of the more technical kinds of equipment. Some of the organizations in this category of this website deal with that.