Global Links the single largest donor of medical aid to Cuba from the U.S.
Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based international humanitarian aid organization, is responding to the devastation wrought in Cuba by Hurricane Irma by preparing shipments of medical equipment and supplies that will support health services and hospitals damaged and in some cases completely wiped out by the storm.
Global Links is one of only a few U.S. charities licensed by the Department of Commerce to work in Cuba and is the single largest donor of medical aid to Cuba from the United States. In 1994, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) asked Global Links to partner with them in providing medical aid to Cuba in the aftermath of the Soviet Union collapse, and the tightening of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. For the past 23 years, Global Links has delivered surplus medical equipment – gently used, no longer needed and surplus materials – recovered from Pittsburgh and mid-Atlantic hospitals.
With more than 70 percent of health institutions sustaining damage in the seven most affected Cuban provinces (Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, Mayabeque and Havana), Global Links is planning mid- and long-term disaster recovery efforts in close consultation with PAHO/WHO to assess the situation and needs of the healthcare sector following the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Following this assessment, a detailed needs list will be completed to ensure that the medical materials, supplies, furnishings, and equipment donated will match the specific needs identified, and that nothing is wasted. Recovery efforts will not only replace lost supplies and damaged equipment and furnishings, but will also work to strengthen Cuba’s public health system to improve long-term sustainability.
Among the supplies and equipment most likely to be requested and shipped are hospital beds; mattresses; gurneys; exam tables; administrative furnishings such as desks, chairs, and filing cabinets; surgical supplies, linens; lab supplies; disinfectant; surgical and exam gloves; syringes; and catheters.
“Global Links has been involved with disaster recovery in Cuba after many serious hurricanes over the last 23 years, but the damage from Irma is the most serious and far-reaching. Recovery from a disaster of this magnitude will take years,” says Global Links Executive Director and Co-Founder Kathleen Hower. “Because Pittsburgh regional hospitals and health systems are both generous and committed to taking the extra steps of directing their surplus to us year-round rather than sending it to landfills, we are well supplied to respond to this crisis,” says Hower.
Global Links is currently accepting financial donations to cover the cost of shipping medical supplies to the affected areas. Donations can be made online at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-irma-recovery-in-cuba/ or by sending a check to:
700 Trumbull Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
About Global Links
Global Links is a medical relief and development organization dedicated to supporting health improvement initiatives in resource-poor communities, primarily in the Western Hemisphere. Global Links collaborates with U.S. healthcare institutions and the community to recover hundreds of tons of high-quality surplus medical materials every year that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
These materials are shared with public health facilities around the world and with non-profit organizations in Western Pennsylvania that are providing care for their community’s most vulnerable people. For more information, visit www.globallinks.org.