Medical Equipment & Supplies Receive New Life Around World

Close-up of hospital beds in hallway; UnityPoint Health donates medical equipment and supplies

At the end of 2017, Lisa Campbell, director of purchased services contracting at UnityPoint Health, was frantically searching for a new partner to help the health care organization continue its long tradition of donating hospital supplies and equipment no longer being used. After an unexpected end to a previous collaboration, Campbell fielded questions from team members on what would happen next.

“The calls and emails came rolling in from across our system,” Campbell says. “I told them, ‘Just don’t throw anything away. Give me a week.’”

She picked up the phone and contacted an acquaintance known for his civic engagement. After one conversation, Campbell was connected with MATTER, a nonprofit based out of Minneapolis committed to expanding access to health care around the world. MATTER has supported 63 countries since 2000, including Haiti, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Liberia, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Together, MATTER and UnityPoint Health work to redistribute medical supplies and equipment.

“Things change so rapidly in health care – supplies and equipment can no longer be serviced due to newer options, which prevents us from using them any longer. But, these aren’t perishable, so they’re quality items still able to help. That’s why it’s such a win-win for us; we’re not putting them in the garbage — we’re giving them second life,” Campbell says.

Year-round, facilities teams across UnityPoint Health collect expired or outdated items, such as bandages, sutures, cotton swabs, walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, linens and more, and label them for pick-up on hospital loading docks. From there, a distribution partner for UnityPoint Health delivers the loads to be picked up by MATTER.

One of the most recent donations UnityPoint Health made to MATTER included five skids and 10,000 pounds of hospital supplies and equipment.

Five anesthesia machines, 24 hospital beds, pairs of pediatric pajamas and an incubator are just some of what’s already collected for the next shipment. Campbell says this is just one example of how UnityPoint Health delivers on its brand promise, Know How Much You Matter to This World.

“It’s crazy to think how far our reach as a health care provider extends, and it feels amazing giving back to impoverished countries who desperately need these equipment and supplies. Last year was the start of an amazing relationship between two organizations who truly care about making a difference. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect,” Campbell says.