Student MedAid London CIC
We are living in an increasingly more globalised and interconnected world, and as healthcare professionals, we will be expected to treat and work with people from all over the globe, as well as the consequences of climate change. While there are opportunities to become involved in global health and sustainability as part of the post-graduate training, with schemes such as the Global Health Fellowship (Monkhouse et al., 2018), or voluntary roles with organisations such as VSO, as part of time out of training (OOPE), these are limited at medical school. Despite the fact that organisations such as Student for Global Health have successfully lobbied the GMC to include some global/public health education as part of teaching (Johnson et al., 2012), it is usually limited to a single module in final year (Matthews et al., 2020).
This is why we started Student MedAid London CIC, a volunteer organisation designed to coordinate the redistribution of excess medical supplies to places in need, with the intention of alleviating lack of access to medical equipment. Additionally, the platform also strives to embed sustainability education amongst medical students; this is achieved through a series of social media informative campaigns and events.
To ensure our work is sustainable, our volunteers contacted local hospitals, GP and businesses but adhered strictly to the WHO Sustainability criteria (WHO, 2000) to evaluate specific offers for donation.
- The equipment is appropriate to the setting
- The equipment is not expired, of good quality and safe
- The equipment is affordable and cost-effective
- The equipment is easy to use and safe
- The equipment conforms to the recipients’ policies, plans and guidelines
We also utilized the ‘Flipped Model Operation’, in which any equipment donated to an organisation specifically meets their needs and reduces stockpiling on both parties. Additionally, each receiving organisation was further screened for eligibility to receive particular types of equipment such as availability of a reliable water supply. This was to reduce incidence of inappropriate donations being made to communities ill equipped to handle them (Marks et al., 2019).
To fill the gap in global heath and sustainability education, we designed an online education series titled ‘Learn with MedAid’ and ‘Spotlight’. Our ‘Learn with MedAid’ series covered topics from ‘Oral Health in Austere Environment’, ‘The Carbon Footprint of the Operating Theatre’, to ‘14 diseases you forgot about, thanks to vaccines’. While our ‘Spotlight’ series highlighted opportunities such as COP26 and global health conferences. This series was supported by online seminars delivered by professionals and student experts, covering topics such as health inequalities amongst migrants and South Asian youth, the ethics behind clinical trials, and how women rights are integral to sustainable healthcare.
Johnson, O., Bailey, S. lou, Willott, C., Crocker-Buque, T., Jessop, V., Birch, M., Ward, H., & Yudkin, J. S. (2012). Global health learning outcomes for medical students in the UK. The Lancet, 379(9831), 2033–2035. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61582-1
Marks, I. H., Thomas, H., Bakhet, M., & Fitzgerald, E. (2019). Medical equipment donation in low-resource settings: a review of the literature and guidelines for surgery and anaesthesia in low-income and middle-income countries. BMJ Global Health, 4(5), e001785. https://doi.org/10.1136/BMJGH-2019-001785
Matthews, N. R., Davies, B., & Ward, H. (2020). Global health education in UK medical schools: a review of undergraduate university curricula. BMJ Global Health, 5(12). https://doi.org/10.1136/BMJGH-2020-002801
Monkhouse, A., Sadler, L., Boyd, A., & Kitsell, F. (2018). The Improving Global Health fellowship: a qualitative analysis of innovative leadership development for NHS healthcare professionals. Globalization and Health, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/S12992-018-0384-3
WHO. (2000). Guidelines for health care equipment donations. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/70806