Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pittsburgh-Based Global Links Marks 400th Shipment of International Medical Aid Using Hospital Surplus Items

Pittsburgh-based international medical relief agency Global Links marks a major milestone in its 21-year history this week with its 400th shipment of critically needed medical supplies.

The 400th shipment, scheduled for today (Sept. 16), will be directed to hospitals and a primary care clinic in the Quiche region of Guatemala, an area hit hard by tropical storm Agatha in June 2010. This is the second of three relief shipments to the area.

Materials will include surplus medical supplies collected from Pittsburgh-area hospitals, including St. Clair, Jefferson, West Penn, Forbes Regional and hospitals in the UPMC health system, all of which have been matched to specific requests from doctors and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), who partnered with GL to support these shipments.

"A tremendous amount of meticulous planning and care go into preparing every shipment we send," says Global Links Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder Kathleen Hower. "Over 1,800 volunteers of all ages and all walks of life donate more than 7,000 hours of service each year helping us collect, sort, and pack mountains of donated medical surplus."

Global Links shipments have benefited patients in more than 700 hospitals around the world in medically underserved communities where the need for even basic materials is profound, Hower said. The organization works closely with the Ministry of Health in each recipient country to ensure that our efforts support a country’s health planning strategy.

Past shipments to Guatemala have included operating room lights, tables, surgical equipment and linens, and materials to establish and equip birthing suites and a new intensive care unit in Coatepeque.

Global Links is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that collaborates with U.S. institutions to recover surplus medical materials before consignment to land-fills and makes them available to hospitals abroad through their ongoing programs.

Since its founding in 1989, Global Links has provided more than $160 million in critical medical aid to developing nations, including Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Nicaragua.

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