It is essential to check with the local surgeons, before you leave the UK, what equipment and disposables are available.
Equipment donations need careful planning. Any equipment donated should be recorded on a spreadsheet, along with the serial numbers, make & model. These details should be passed to Urolink, to ensure that the appropriate disposables are organised for future visits. A letter of donation should also be provided to the host institution.
There are some important points when considering equipment donation:
- ensure that the equipment is in full working order and that all components are present;
- consider whether repair and maintenance of the equipment will be possible;
- check compatibility (e.g. appropriate manufacturer);
- get import documentation (including a letter from Urolink);
- get agreement from the local surgeons that the equipment is "on loan" and is for use primarily in the public sector by all trained surgeons in the department;
- if you are carrying the equipment, check excess baggage policy;
- agree in advance what is being "loaned" and to "whom";
- request feedback after use of the equipment; and
- notify the hospital services of new equipment.
There are plenty of examples of broken or unwanted equipment (pictured below) being "donated" to hospitals in Africa. This can be a burden because it may be difficult to dispose of damaged equipment.
Further guidance on the donation and maintenance of medical equipment can be found using the links below: