Improving the Quality of Life of People and our Planet
In the developing world, more than 10 million children under the age of five die from inadequate medical care every year. At the same time, hospitals in the United States generate over two million tons of medical waste annually. Much of that waste is unused, unexpired medical supplies and equipment.
In 1998, two Atlanta-based nonprofit philanthropists raised the alarm about the large amount of discarded medical supplies and equipment and the critical healthcare needs of medically underserved populations.
To address this disparity, they started Medshare, a nonprofit that works with hospitals, distributors, and manufacturers in Alameda County and beyond to collect and redistribute medical products to healthcare facilities in medically underserved communities overseas as well as locally. In fiscal year 2019 alone, it provided $16.9 million of medical supplies to 1.7 million patients, while diverting 2.4 million pounds of material from the landfill.
Saving Lives, Reducing Waste
A visit to its sprawling distribution center in San Leandro speaks for itself: volunteers are busy filling boxes with life-saving medical equipment and supplies destined for places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, and Afghanistan. A room filled with hundreds of incubators, surgery tables, and stretchers await thorough checks before being shipped out. As one doctor on a tour from Africa put it after she reached down and picked up a little plastic piece that opens up airways for breathing: “If I’d had this a few weeks ago, I could have saved that baby’s life.” And all that stuff would have otherwise ended up in the landfill.
StopWaste is proud to support MedShare’s mission through our Waste Reduction Grants program. This year, the program will provide funds for a new and innovative biomedical equipment program to increase donations from hospitals and manufacturers to keep good equipment from being destroyed and landfilled.
As MedShare has proven, saving lives and saving the environment can go hand in hand.
Learn more at www.MedShare.org.