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HSE agrees first policy on donating surplus equipment to developing world

By David Lynch - 14th May 2023

surplus equipment

For the first time, the HSE has an agreed policy on the donation of surplus equipment and supplies to developing countries, this newspaper has learned. The HSE has been regularly donating reusable medical equipment to Zambia since 2014.

The new policy was discussed at a meeting of the HSE audit and risk committee in December 2022.

“While all HSE donations are from surplus stocks or decommissioned equipment, which would not have a future use in the HSE, there has been no previous HSE policy regarding such donations, including governance arrangements and levels of financial approval required for donating items which have a book value,” outlined meeting minutes.

According to an Executive spokesperson, the new HSE Donations Policy of Medical Equipment and Supplies to Developing Countries and Other Countries in Crisis was approved by the HSE board in December 2022.

“The HSE Global Health Programme coordinates donations to developing countries, in line with the approved policy,” the spokesperson told the Medical Independent. The spokesperson said the policy would be published “in due course”.

According to the HSE, it “regularly donates reusable hospital equipment which has been decommissioned as part of the HSE national equipment replacement programme and no longer has any value to the HSE”.

Medical equipment was donated to Zambia regularly between 2018 and 2021.

In 2018, the HSE donated three containers of reusable medical equipment to Zambia, while two containers were donated each year in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

“The decision to support Zambia was made by the HSE Global Health Programme based on existing connections by Irish health service staff and institutions involved in projects to improve health services in Zambia.”

The HSE also donated medical equipment and supplies to developing countries in 2021 as an emergency humanitarian response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, this included two plane loads of respiratory equipment to India; one plane load of respiratory equipment to Nepal; 47,520 vials of atracurium to Brazil; 330,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Uganda; 16,500 vaccine needles and syringes to Lebanon; and two containers of personal protective equipment to Zambia.

The HSE Global Health Programme Director is responsible for deciding which developing countries are supported by the HSE for various initiatives, according to the Executive.

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