Group sends medical supplies overseas to the needy - FOX 13 News

Group sends medical supplies overseas to the needy

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A group of USF grads is helping stock the shelves of crumbling medical facilities in Central America. The nonprofit Advocates for World Health was started by USF students two years ago.

Their prudent business plan: help out struggling nations by salvaging surplus medical supplies here at home.

"We warehouse it and then redistribute it to hospitals and clinics, particularly in Central America," said AWH Executive Director Ryan Kania.

Hospitals, clinics, and research centers across the Bay area are on board, donating thousands of pounds of often unused tools each week.

"The supplies vary from very sophisticated equipment like X-ray machines, to single use devices like catheters and gauze sponges," Kania said Thursday.

Moffitt Cancer Center is one of the nonprofit's strongest supporters.

"Studies are constantly opening and closing. When a study opens, they send you a huge amount of supplies that you need to conduct the study. Sometimes, it's all used and necessary...but sometimes the study doesn't even take place," said Moffitt Cancer Center Research Specialist Gustavo Luna.

Thanks to some diligent volunteers, those extra goods are no longer going to waste. Since 2010, the nonprofit's collected about $2 million worth of medical supplies that otherwise would have been scrapped.

The frugal message is now taking flight on campuses across Florida and the United States, with over a dozen different chapters of Advocates of World Health up and operating this year.

"We see immediate change and it's really touching to see the way we're able to help others save lives in those communities," said AWH Development Director Jordan Markel.

Right now, the USF Chapter of Advocates for World Health collects surplus medical supplies from about 20 different hospitals and clinics across the Bay area.

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