Despite good intentions, life-saving medical donations often end up discarded or broken. New training programs aim to change all that
Medical equipment donations enable hospitals in developing countries to get their hands on expensive and much-needed technology. But there’s a growing concern that those donations do more harm than good. Hallways and closets often become cluttered with unused or broken-down equipment for which locals lack parts or training in how to make repairs. Outdated electrical systems groan under the strain of large medical devices, possibly compromising a hospital’s power.
Recently, a study of seven hospitals in Haiti found only 30 percent of the 115 pieces of medical equipment donated after the 2010 earthquake were working and 14 percent of the equipment could not be repaired. The study also found that some donated devices, such as incubators for premature babies, could never work in the hospitals, because they required a higher electrical voltage than is standard in Haiti.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates (pdf) that as much as 80 percent of medical equipment in some countries is donated or funded through foreign sources, but only 10 percent to 30 percent of the donations are ever put into operation.
via Scientific American – Andrew Jones
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