A Study of Medical Equipment Donations: Recipient Experiences

Beverly Bradley, Charles Yoon, Sulmaz Zahedi, Yolanda Adusei-poku, Bill Gentles

Abstract


Poorly executed medical equipment donations create major problems for developing countries.  The International Outreach Committee of the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society (CMBES), in partnership with the Ghana Biomedical Engineering Association, conducted a study to better understand the  medical equipment donation practices of Canadian organizations, and to share best practices to help improve donation effectiveness.  We surveyed and interviewed Canadian donor organizations as well as hospital administrators and health care workers in 29 Ghanaian hospitals that have received medical equipment donations .  The overall results of our study will be presented, with a focus on the Canadian interviews and the perspectives of recipient hospitals in Ghana.  

Major challenges reported by donation recipients in Ghana  included: a general lack of training for technical staff, poor post-donation follow-up practices, poor communication,and a lack of spare parts to maintain the donated equipment. As a result, improper maintenance reduces equipment efficacy and lifespan.

Despite these concerns, in general recipients felt that donated medical equipment benefits their facility in diverse ways: e.g., facilitating service delivery to clients/patients, reducing workload, more accurate diagnostic information, and improved productivity of health workers.  

Any donation initiative should be part of an on-going partnership consisting of three core elements: consultation; planning and process; and follow-up and monitoring. Details about these stages will be elaborated on in the presentation.  As part of on-going efforts to improve the effectiveness of medical equipment donations from Canada, the CMBES has created a video to help disseminate these best practices.


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