Global Links is a medical relief organization that is committed to promoting both environmental steward shipment and better healthcare in poor communities. Each year, hospitals in the United States wind up with hundreds of tons of “medical surplus” supplies. Usually, these still very useful materials are simply thrown into landfills. Global Links takes the surplus from the U.S. healthcare industry and delivers it to under-served communities that lack the supplies and equipment necessary for proper medical care.

Global Links’ model of recycling and reusing medical equipment connects two social issues: excess waste and lack of resources in developing areas. In linking the two, Global Links is able to convert an environmental burden into a beneficial tool.

The Global Links model breaks down into 5 simple steps:

1.     Global Links Staff assess nine program countries and meet with health authorities, medical staff, and Pan American health organization officials. The organization does this in order to evaluate and ensure medical donations would be useful to that location.

2.     Global Links trucks visit hospitals that have been saving surplus medical supplies and equipment for the organization.

3.     At a sorting facility, the donated material is sorted and shelved. Volunteers organize supplies and check for expiration dates. Materials are also cleaned and re-vamped if necessary.

4.     Volunteers pack supplies into boxes and staff members load them onto a 40-foot shipping container.

5.     The shipping containers are sent to communities that need the supplies.

Since its founding in 1989, the organization has shipped over 410 tractor-trailer sized loads of medical material to developing countries. These containers have contained over 6 million pounds of equipment and material that otherwise would have been dumped into landfills. The value of the materials exceeds $173 million.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: Global Links, Charity Navigator
Photo: Global Links