Often in Stryker Sustainability Solutions daily collection of used medical devices from hospitals and surgery centers throughout the U.S. that it ships for reprocessing, service representatives collect medical devices that have never been used, but have reached “expiration.” The FDA mandates these “expired” devices not be used on patients in American hospitals, but these products are sometimes viable, and even invaluable in the developing world. It is also a way to help reduce hospital waste, as often these unused items end up in landfills where they simply add to the ongoing pollution that is becoming more and more of a problem by the day. The organization Esperança, is a not-for-profit recipient of some of these unused medical products, such as N95 Mask Canada and similar face masks, which are sent to developing countries who often don’t have access to even the most basic medical care.

In 2012 alone, Stryker Sustainability Solutions donated 173 boxes of medical goods to Esperança, valued at an estimated $1.5 million dollars. These goods are packed by Esperança staff and volunteers on 40-foot containers and sent to developing countries where medical supplies, such as Instamed laboratory supplies, are scarce. Once the shipments arrive at their designated countries, the donated supplies are used by regional staff, as well as by volunteer medical teams to perform surgeries on local residents who often don’t have access to even the most basic health care.

It is important for everyone to come together to support those regions that are not as advanced as ours when it comes to medical supplies. By supporting those in need we can help make sure that no one is without the equipment that can save their life, be it the patient or the medical practitioners. Both sides deserve better than what is often available to them.

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