Health institutions of many low-income countries rely significantly on donations of medical equipment. These donations are generally made with good intentions; however, if the donations are not well planned and coordinated the outcomes are not always positive.
In some countries, nearly 80% of medical equipment is donated or funded by international donors or foreign governments (WHO technical series)
Why does this happen?
Donations often bypass the recipient institution’s selection and procurement systems. This can mean that little consideration is taken of the following:
• Local requirements
• Burden of disease and level of care
• Number of users and maintenance personnel and their capabilities
• Purchase of consumables
• Availability of spare parts
• Availability of local technical expertise to provide maintenance (institutionally and through local equipment service providers)
• Electrical compatibility and infrastructure requirements (water, gas, etc.)
• Cultural differences and expectations on both sides of the donation
This is often due to a combination of the donor’s lack of awareness of particular challenges and needs, and poor communication between donors and recipients about these challenges and needs.