National Asthma Month

Mothers must bring their children to the local health clinic to have an asthma treatment, and must wait in line due to a shortage of nebulizers.

When my son starts wheezing and struggling to breathe, we reach for his inhaler. Because he is still learning to coordinate his inhalation with the “puffer,” we keep our nebulizer (a small air compressor that produces a medicated mist) on hand. It is easy to slip on the mask so my son can breathe in the medicated mist which causes his breathing to return to normal. Within minutes, he is ready to run back outside and I breathe easier as well.

We have options at our finger tips and always have since his first episode of respiratory distress when he was just three months old. My son just turned seven and soon he will be able to use his puffer independently. I will then be ready to give up our nebulizer. I know that mothers like me in resource-poor communities in countries like Haiti, Nicaragua and Bolivia, do not have the same options for their asthmatic children. Global Links provides a solution to connect these two scenarios. I can donate my “retired” nebulizer so it can be redirected to help other mothers and their chilren breathe easier. As my son and I learn to manage his asthma better, I know that our retired machine will help families do the same.
For information on Global Links Nebulizer Campaign, http://www.globallinks.org/get_involved/nebulizer_campaign.php

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Recognizing International Nurses Day

In addition to collaborating with nurses in the US to improve healthcare in underserved areas and protect the environment, Global Links supports nurses in the hospitals we partner with in Latin America and the Caribbean. The materials we provide, from neonatal stethoscopes or bassinets to delivery room furnishings, help nurses provide care for their patients.

During her last trip to Guyana, program officer Marisol Valentin was pleased to meet and talk with several nursing teams. One group was at Bartica, which serves the 2nd largest district in Guyana and where in the last year Global Links provided medical furnishings and equipment to assist in remodeling undertaken by the Ministry of Health.
At Suddie Hospital, recent donations from Global Links included support materials for its cancer screening department, maternity ward, and patient wards.
Global Links is proud to work with nurses, both in the US and overseas. Our work links these two groups –nurses who support our work in US hospitals ultimately support their colleagues in the underserved areas of Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, International Nurses Day, we want to thank all the nurses we know, all over the world.

It’s Nurses Appreciation Week!

GLobal LInks works with nurses in all aspects of our work: as collaborators in our medical surplus recovery efforts at U.S. healthcare facilities, as partners overseas working to improve the delivery of care for patients in resource-poor communities, as volunteers who share their expertise to train our staff or to consult on medical product sorting or preparation, as champions of scrub collections or greening efforts in their hospitals. We look forward to sharing spotlights on just a few of the amazing nurses who are so key to our work to share surplus and save lives.  Happy Nurses Appreciation Week to all of you!

Global Links wins environmental healthcare award

I am so pleased to announce that Global Links has, once again, won the Champion for Change award from Practice Greenhealth. It is very gratifying to see that the environmental aspect of our mission has been recognized by this organization – the national membership organization for healthcare facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations – for the third year in a row.
This award recognizes the hard work and determination it takes to reduce our impact on the environment and promote public health, and inspires us to dedicate ourselves even more to our efforts to recover medical materials in good condition for use in underserved communities. By keeping appropriate, usable materials out of landfills, we fulfill our dual mission of environmental stewardship and improved health in the communities where we live and work. For all those who support our efforts, please share our pride in this award.

Volunteers needed for wheelchair refurbishing

If you are comfortable with tools, you like to tinker, solve problems, and work with your hands – then we have a volunteer opportunity for you.

Every year, Global Links receives hundreds of wheelchairs that are desperately needed by patients and individuals with limited mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean. Before they can be included in our donations overseas, however, they must be refurbished. Sometimes they just need a quick clean-up, and sometimes they are missing parts or need to be repaired – because we want to be sure that when they reach their new owner, they will have a long and useful life.

For more about this project, watch the video produced by Black and Gold City Goes Green, or click on this flyer. Fill out a volunteer application and get more information here: http://www.globallinks.org/get_involved/volunteer.php Volunteer sessions will be held on Fridays. Your efforts can provide mobility and improve the quality of life for individuals in resource-poor communities!

Save Your Scrubs

When my husband graduated from nursing school last year, he suddenly had four sets of “surplus” scrubs – because his school, like most nursing schools, required scrubs embroidered with the school name. In the United States, we are so accustomed to seeing medical personnel wearing this practical and hygienic uniform that it is unthinkable healthcare professionals in other countries would not have them.

And yet, in many communities where Global Links works overseas, scrubs are in short supply; Global Links staff have seen scrubs that are threadbare from years of wear and washing. An inadequate supply of this basic uniform may mean that healthcare workers can’t easily change if their scrubs become soiled – posing a risk of disease transmission, not to mention discomfort.

When I realized that there are thousands of graduating nursing students like my husband, who have no use for their old scrubs and no mechanism through which to donate them, I proposed a scrub collection.  Last week, Global Links formally launched Save Your Scrubs, a national drive to collect surplus scrubs for donation to medical personnel in the underserved countries where we work.

We look forward to forming partnerships with more nursing, medical and allied health schools to offer this donation option to their students at graduation. We also look forward to working with more hospitals who change uniform standards for their employees. And, of course, we welcome all individuals to Save Your Scrubs and help meet a need while avoiding disposal of still-useful material – a virtuous circle.

Sustainability in Healthcare: Learn More about Greener purchasing

I am proud to be a member of the planning committee for the Sustainable Pittsburgh series on sustainability in the healthcare industry- one of the first series in our region to cover a wide-range of topics on sustainability and the options available to healthcare providers and consumers. Due to the size of our healthcare sector in Western PA, it is crucial that we discuss new options that are available around the country to make our healthcare facilities, systems, products, and providers more sustainable. Ultimately, healthcare purchasing decisions affect not only contract negotiators, but all the “downstream” participants, from hospital and medical staff to patients and their families. This series stresses how collaborations with suppliers to bring safer, cleaner products into healthcare institutions make a healthier environment both inside and outside the hospital.

The sheer volume of purchasing power wielded by healthcare facilities can help to drive market change: forcing suppliers to disclose ingredients, offer green alternatives and ultimately offer more options for healthier hospitals, healthier patients and healthier employees.

On Thursday March 8, 8:00 to 10:30 am, please join us- in person or via webinar –  for “Improving Healing Environments — Building Value Chain Capacity: Sustainability’s Role in Product Purchasing and Service Procurement for Healthcare.”  The workshop will be held at the Regional Learning Allicance, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, in Cranberry Township. Breakfast is provided.

Click here to register and for more information.