Archive for the ‘Donating equipment, considerations.’ Category

Equipment donation in Developing countries.

One problem is countries and charities who think they are being generous by donating equipment.
Indeed it is generous, but only if the equipment is appropriate to the needs of the country to which it is going. It would also be helpful to donate tools, training for technicians or to fund building workshops and maybe back up support for technicians for a number of years to follow. This would be money well spent because it would be recouped over the years with the improvement in equipment serviceability.
Sometimes countries will only donate equipment that is made in their own country, for example, the French government will donate French equipment, the British government British made equipment and so on.

There is no point in giving equipment that is expensive to maintain, equipment that needs expensive spare parts.
They are not helped by giving gas driven equipment when the hospitals do not have much gas, it is expensive to get it or equipment that uses electricity when it is in short supply.
Some modern machines have time-limited spares fitted, that is once you fit the spare an electronic clock starts to run in the background in the equipment that records how long the spare has been in use when a given time is reached the machine comes up with a message to say the part needs to be replaced and the machine will not work until it is done. It is a way of making money by forcing you to replace a spare part earlier than it needs to be if they made the part to last.
It is easy for companies to make many spares that will go on for years and years, but it is better for their profits to make them so they only last a short time.

At one time there were lots of items of equipment that could be sent to developing countries when they were no longer required. This was in the days when the equipment was still fairly simple and easy to look after.
These days modern equipment is much more complicated and expensive to look after. They often need parts to be replaced on a regular basis and these parts are seldom cheap.
A good example is with anaesthetic machines. Years ago British Oxygen sold the Boyles range of machines, the little International, the larger ‘M’ and the ‘K’.
Apart from the very occasional regulator diaphragm or a cheap bodok seal you seldom had to replace anything. Servicing was a simple function check.
Over the years the newer machines became more and more complicated and consequently more difficult and expensive to repair, great while they work but with more things to go wrong and will often need an annual service kit of parts.

The moral of this story is that when the hospital gets an offer of donations think carefully about it.
Do not simply accept what is offered, tell them what you need.
If you want equipment do ask for something that is suitable for your hospital not just in terms of clinical need but also with an eye to your ability to look after it and the cost of running it.
However, you might consider asking for tools for your maintenance workshops or even training for your technicians.
One point about this is that while a piece of equipment will probably be very expensive, even good quality tools are very cheap so for the price of some piece of equipment you could equip a number of technicians with a very good tool kit each.
A well trained and motivated technician with a good tool kit can save the hospital a great deal of money and keep the system running smoothly.

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