Jefferson Donates Used Equipment and Supplies to Developing Nations
Infant cribs were among the items that found their way to Jefferson's Excess
Property Program. Today, the cribs are cradling babies in a pediatric AIDS
clinic in Eastern Europe where children used to lie in cots in the hallways
and 10 patients are crowded into one room.
"What's old to us is state-of-the-art for them," says Karen Oxler,
RN, MSN, vice president for perioperative services, about the goods Jefferson
has donated to Carelift International, an organization that collects used
hospital equipment and supplies to transport to developing nations. "The
University has been involved in this worthwhile program for two years and
the Hospital is now participating."
Over the past two years, Jefferson's in-kind donations to Carelift have
exceeded $258,000. The contributions have included everything from sutures
and surgical instruments to an X-ray system, a surgical laser and an anesthesia
machine. The donations have gone to Romania, Slovakia and Moldova, a newly
formed independent state near the Ukrainian and Romanian borders, according
to Erik Peltz, director of operations at Carelift. Particularly in Romania
and Moldova, there is a desperate shortage of medical equipment and much
of what they do have is decades old.
"Jefferson was the first medical center to implement this program systemwide
and is one of our largest contributors," says Mr. Peltz, who notes
that approximately 102 healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and New York City now participate in Carelift programs. As Jefferson increases
its support to Carelift, he adds, plans are being made to showcase the University
as a training site for other hospitals interested in participating. In time,
Carelift hopes to expand its operation to tap hospitals around the country
for contributions of medical surplus.
Carelift picks up all the equipment and pays for shipping charges abroad.
Before the goods are transported, Carelift cleans, refurbishes and repaints
the equipment as needed, and does any electrical conversion necessary for
the recipient. Biomedical engineers are trained as well to install and service
the technology. "Most of the equipment is our last generation, which
is new for them," says Mr. Peltz. "The Minister of Health in Moldova
was overwhelmed by the quality of what we provided."
Contributing to Carelift benefits Jefferson as well. Because of changes
in the way we deliver health care, an abundance of "perfectly usable"
hospital materials has accumulated, from packs and gowns, to an X-ray unit
from the Ford Road campus, explains Richard C. Alberto, the Hospital's assistant
director of support services and former chairman of the Environmental Resources
"This excess property is costly to get rid of and usually needs to
be moved quickly," continues Bill Wardle, the University's assistant
vice president for materiel management. "Donating these items to Carelift
actually saves us money in waste costs. And physicians overseas are thrilled
to get these items."
Ed Barr, manager of support services at the Hospital, calls the effort,
"a natural outgrowth of our recycling program." Over the last
few months alone, he says, Jefferson has collected 214 pounds of medical
and surgical supplies awaiting pick-up by Carelift.
For more information about making a donation to Carelift International,
call the office of materiel management at 3-6244.