Published By: Build Health International

BBJ Features BHI and Boston Hope’s Bed Donation to Haiti and Peru

The Boston Business Journal recently covered BHI’s procurement of hospital beds and additional equipment from Boston Hope’s emergency field hospital. During the early stages of the pandemic, Boston Hope treated patients in Massachusetts suffering from COVID-19, and today the beds from this facility continue to serve COVID patients in Haiti and Peru. 

Read the full article here.

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Boston Hope’s beds, supplies shipped overseas by Build Health International as local pandemic wanes

Beverly-based Build Health International has collected 606 of the beds and other equipment used in Boston Hope’s emergency field hospital for projects in Haiti and Peru, and is also stockpiling bedside tables, over-bed tables, curtains, curtain rods and walkers for Sierra Leone.

“The equipment itself elevates the ability to advance patient care,” said Zac Chase, director of partnerships for Build Health International (BHI). “It gives them the ability and tools to provide care the way they’ve been trained but might not have the opportunity as a US hospital would.”

BHI is always keeping a lookout for surplus medical supplies. As part of its work building health infrastructure in low and middle-income countries, the nonprofit partners with hospitals, health care systems, long-term nursing care homes, and other industries like architecture, engineering, demolition and general contractors to find supplies. The company has done work in 24 countries, and in the last 12 months, completed 28 projects in 14 countries.

Finding reused medical supplies is essential. A shippable medical bed of the type used at Boston Hope costs around $1,200 a piece. Even with fundraising, a country like Peru could never afford that cost along with the shipping and installment fees. 

BHI not only brings the supplies directly to the countries, it also tests the medical devices to make sure they function properly, and trains teams on how to maintain and use the equipment — an essential step as an estimated 40% of the equipment in low and middle income countries is unused simply because it is broken. 

Boston Hope’s supplies in particular are new, and so parts to fix them are still accessible in the way retired supplies from an older hospital might not be.

“Everything we send is biomedically tested,” Chase said. “There’s longevity there, they aren’t discontinued items. A lot of people send equipment to countries and think they are helping but are creating a burden. That’s our approach — doing no harm first.” 

BHI had already had a longstanding relationship with Massachusetts General Hospital prior to the pandemic. The hospital had initially reached out in the beginning of the pandemic, asking if it had any medical supplies for Boston. While the nonprofit had just shipped several containers of supplies, it provided Boston Hope what it could and stayed in touch.

Months later, as the pandemic started to slow in Massachusetts, the hospital contacted BHI to donate the supplies. The short time frame was tricky, given the changing timelines of the shutdown, and the fact that the facility had to be disassembled by union labor.

But BHI was able to coordinate five containers to arrive at the Convention Center, which were loaded by convention center teams and Suffolk Construction. Fifty beds were immediately sent to Peru, which desperately needed them for a medical oxygen treatment center for patients

struggling with Covid. Over the next several weeks, 360 Boston Hope beds have been shipped to Peru for help with the crisis there, and another 246 beds were shipped to Haiti.

Ancillary supplies and remaining medical equipment are being stored to send for a massive 10-building, 90,000-square-foot facility being constructed in Sierra Leone. “It was a unique

opportunity, in the sense that the beds are perfect for Covid and this was just starting to ramp up around the world,” Chase said. “(And) it’s a few times a year we might get an opportunity like this.”

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Read the full article at Boston Business Journal