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AFRO-NETS> Shipping Computers to The Gambia (3)

Shipping Computers to The Gambia (3)

Dear Colleagues

Regarding this posting and the earlier one (I think it was computers 
to Tanzania): while I do not doubt the good intentions on the one 
hand and the frustrations/needs on the other, please allow me to add 
a word of caution and a comment.

1. Caution

In the field of healthcare equipment, for example, more and more de-
veloping countries are saying "thanks but no thanks" to offers of do-
nated equipment. There are a host of factors, including:
- dumping of equipment on the verge of extinction (both for the 
  generic technology and for specific brands and models);
- inadequate support infrastructure to ensure sustained and 
  cost-effective utilisation (including no training, spare parts and 
  technical support);
- lack of appreciation of what the real needs are / donor's emphasis 
  on "feel good" rather than "do good";
- etc.

Quite often, donation exercises end up as Trojan Horse scenarios. 
This has led to multilateral agencies setting up formal guidelines 
for donated equipment, with checklists for donors, recipients, bene-
ficiaries and facilitating NGO's. 

2. Comment

What is "old"? Why not upgrade them and make them "new"?! Upgrade 
costs for PC's these days are minimal - I bet you they would be on a 
par with the shipping costs!

I'd like to hear the views of AFRO-NETters on the issue of "dona-



Mladen Poluta

Director: Healthcare Technology Management Programme, 
University of Cape Town / Groote Schuur Hospital & 
MRC/WHO Collaborating Centre for Essential Technologies in Health
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
Anzio Road, 7925 Observatory
South Africa
Tel: +27-21-406-6545
Fax: +27-21-448-3291
Mobile/cell: + 27-82-353-8614

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