Unimed partners with International Health Partners to improve access to medical supplies in low-income countries
Leicester-based procurement services organisation Unimed Procurement Services (Unimed) has joined forces with International Health Partners (IHP) to create a long-lasting partnership dedicated to supplying life-saving medical supplies to countries in need.
In line with the two organisations’ mutual objective to increase accessibility to essential medical products and supplies to countries that are unable to access basic resources, the ongoing partnership involves several shipments of a variety of products donated by Unimed, a contribution worth $69,000.
As the largest coordinator of donated medical products in the UK and Europe, IHP works with a strong network of global healthcare industry donors, and will coordinate the placement and safe transport of the products to their in-country NGO partners.
“Our aim is to respond rapidly to humanitarian disasters, support long-term healthcare development projects in disaster hit and vulnerable communities, and equip doctors with supplies for short-term overseas medical missions,” says International Health Partners’ CEO Adele Paterson.
“Unimed’s generous donation has given us access to a large number of valuable supplies, which will enable us to support more vulnerable communities. We are delighted to be able to work with an organisation whose values closely align with ours, and we look forward to working together to increase access to healthcare and reduce suffering globally.”
International Health Partners coordinates the safe and responsible donation of medical products from the healthcare industry to those who would otherwise have no access in under-resourced countries, bridging the gap between healthcare companies and humanitarian agencies.
The donation of medicines and medical supplies continues to play an important role in access to healthcare for many populations living in low and middle-income countries, and IHP and Unimed's partnership will aim to improve access to medical supplies to people in these regions.
“We are thrilled to be able to support an organisation that’s making a difference globally by taking medical products that would often be disposed of and finding the right place for them to be utilised,” says Shameet Thakkar, founder and managing director of Unimed.
“Having seen what IHP have achieved, we feel compelled to do more. We are now pledging to over-manufacture products with the intent to give the excess stock to IHP, enabling them to use these resources to help more individuals and communities in need of humanitarian aid.”
The initial pilot shipment to Lebanon will be handled by IHP’s NGO partner, Anera, to help to address the unmet medical needs in the region. The organisation works with partners in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, mobilising resources to assist vulnerable communities.
The products in the shipment include bag valve masks, syringes, pulse oximeters, blood collection tubes and mechanical pipettes, which will be vital in providing doctors and nurses with the equipment they need to be able to take care of the local population in Lebanon and support its healthcare system.
International donors are essential for sustaining Lebanon’s struggling healthcare system, which due to the current socio-economic crisis, has come to largely rely on medical donations.
Since 2019, Lebanon’s currency has lost over 90% of its value, causing an increase in the already high levels of poverty and driving many professionals – including healthcare workers – to find work outside of the country.
Lebanon is still feeling the effects of the explosion at the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, and its infrastructural capacity to combat chronic illnesses – while simultaneously battling the spread of COVID-19 – is significantly reduced.
Having identified a strong need to contribute to Lebanon’s recovery, over 50% of the support provided by Anera goes to disadvantaged Lebanese communities, in the form of education projects, medical aid programs and food security projects.
“With the unprecedented deterioration of the Lebanon health sector, and over half of the population living in poverty, our partnership with IHP and donors like Unimed contributes to alleviating the burden on hospitals and patients,” comments Lina Atat, Anera’s medical donations program manager in Lebanon.
“For the first time, public hospitals are asking our teams to provide them with the most basic of supplies in order to provide comprehensive healthcare. These items fill in the necessary gaps, and they make an enormous difference in helping the vulnerable communities in Lebanon.”
The passion and determination displayed in Anera’s work is echoed in Unimed’s pledge to increase access to essential medical resources and care for individuals no matter where they are born, and advocate the need to build stronger healthcare systems.
"The motivation behind our recent donation is simply to do our part to help vulnerable communities such as Lebanon’s. If we can help even a small portion of the population, we can inspire others to do the same, and ultimately drive change on a larger scale,” says Shameet.
And the ethical procurement company will do just that by continuing to work towards building a healthier world and providing the right solutions for partners and customers around the world.