Broken Medical Equipment In Low-Income Countries Represents Lack Of Local Health Worker Engagement In Donation Decision Process

NPR: Rage Against The Busted Medical Machines
Nahid Bhadelia, infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center and director of infection control at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory

“…When medical equipment breaks down in the developing world, it often stays broken. There are usually few supply chains to get replacement parts, and local technical expertise is sparse. Even when the machinery isn’t broken, it may not be useful. … I have also noticed that there is often a mismatch between the equipment donated and the capacity of the health care facility to actually use the machine. … [T]he issue of broken medical equipment leaves me uneasy because it is a literal and figurative representation of the power differential between the donor and recipient. Many poor communities accept donations regardless of what they are due to dire needs and not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth. But the sheer waste speaks loudly to the importance of engaging health care workers and other members of low-income communities in the decision process” (9/8).

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