International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC)

International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC)

Infobox Organization
name = International Medical Equipment Collaborative

image_border =
size = 200px
caption = IMEC Logo
formation = 1995
type = Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
headquarters = North Andover, Massachusetts
location =
Motto = Supply the World with Joy
membership =
language =
leader_title = President
leader_name = Thomas Keefe (Founder)(1995-] )
key_people =
num_volunteers = 4,000
budget =
website =

International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that provides medical equipment to doctors and nurses working hospitals and clinics in impoverished areas worldwide. IMEC is located in North Andover, Massachusetts where volunteers sort, repair, package and ship donated medical supplies and equipment to international medical personnel. [ [ International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) ] ] Through partnerships with various humanitarian organizations IMEC has been delivering medical supplies for 14 years. IMEC is known for providing medical supplies that doctors request for their patients. [ [ IMEC (International Medical Equipment Collaborative) ] ]


Founded in 1995, IMEC started in the garage of now IMEC's President, Thomas Keefe. A former hospital administrator, Tom Keefe collected surplus medical equipment caused by hospitals closing, downsizing and eliminating entire services. With the help of humanitarian organizations, this acquired surplus was channeled to developing countries worldwide. Sustained mostly by volunteers, IMEC has grown extensively over the years refurbishing medical equipment and shipping worldwide.

"Between October 1996 and October 1997, IMEC brought about $1.6 million worth of equipment into its 30,000-square-foot warehouse, which used to be a giant machine shop. It also relied on 10,000 hours of volunteer time from individuals and organizations such as churches and service groups." [ [;col1 IMEC sends equipment to desperate hospitals | New Hampshire Business Review | Find Articles at BNET ] ]

In 2004, IMEC introduced the Center of Health Initiative [ [ International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) ] ] where IMEC would work with shepherding organizations to identify an empty hospital and retrofit it with basic health care services. [ [ HANDS Materials, Equipment, and Supplies Section ] ] By using surplus equipment from hospitals and clinics in the United States, IMEC is able to keep costs low while still providing the equipment needed. IMEC collaborates with the shepherding organization to ensure customs papers for a country are properly completed, as well as securing a offloading procedure in the destination country. [ [ Volunteers Saving LIves Around the World, February 6, 2007 ] ]

"IMEC's Centers of Health Initiative provides developing nations with a replicable, integrated model for sustaining medical care and health education that is efficient and economical. These centers stabilize existing services, expand the range of services, improve access to health care, and advance the health status of the population over time." [ [ USAID PVC: 2007 VOLAG ] ]

IMEC moved from several small storage facilities to a 150,000 square foot warehouse in North Andover Massachusetts in 2007 where they are currently located. The warehouse serves as the collection, refurbishing and distribution center for IMEC. IMEC currently ships 75 containers to 75 countries yearly through numerous shepherding organizations. [ The Armenian Weekly Newspaper ] ]

Recently, IMEC was nominated for the "Gates Award for Global Health" given by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. [ [ Global Health Council - 2007 Nominees List ] ]

The IMEC Process

IMEC operates under a 5-step plan: Assessment, Acquisition, Preparation, Packaging, and Shipping. []


The process begins when a shepherding group identifies a hospital in need and contacts IMEC to request service. IMEC’s assessment volunteers have many years of experience in working with hospitals in the developing world. IMEC and the sponsoring humanitarian organization work with hospital personnel to assess the hospital’s needs and to create a plan for its rejuvenation. The plan lists only the needed types of medical support — maternity, surgical, dental, eye care, etc. — and IMEC uses that plan to begin the process of equipment acquisition and preparation. Shepherding groups are often established humanitarian organizations, church groups, or in-country health system willing to support a project over a three to five year period.


The medical equipment and supplies that IMEC delivers come from a variety of sources. The majority of items donated to IMEC come from hospitals and medical equipment companies across the United States. Hospitals that are reorganizing often find themselves discarding fully functional medical devices that have been replaced with newer models. Medical equipment companies introducing new lines are left with unsold warehouse stock of discontinued devices. IMEC’s Acquisition Department offers its services to these companies and hospitals by taking their surplus equipment and bringing it to IMEC, where it is distributed according to the needs of the differnet projects. From time to time, a required piece of equipment is not available from donations, so it is purchased from the manufacturers. Often, these manufacturers offer this equipment at a discount, in order to aid IMEC's mission.


IMEC collects the equipment and brings it to its 150,000 square foot workshop and distribution center in North Andover, MA, where volunteers clean it, make sure it’s fully functional, and organize it for suite assembly. Used equipment is repaired as needed by skilled technical volunteers, many of whom are retired electrical engineers and medical technicians. Linens and medical supplies are sorted and organized into packages designed by nurses and physicians for the requirements of each suite.


IMEC's workshop volunteers organize the equipment and supplies into complete medical suites, packed onto pallets for shipment. For example, a labor and maternity suite includes all of the equipment and supplies necessary for a basic delivery room. Each suite is packed to fit onto pallets, taking one or two pallets per suite.


Twenty pallets fit into a standard 40’ container, which allows IMEC to ship between sixteen and twenty suites in one container—enough to completely equip a clinic. Nine containers will carry enough equipment,furnishings and supplies to equip an entire hospital.

A Volunteer Based Organization

IMEC is made up of volunteers supported by a small staff. Funded by donations from individuals as well as corporations, IMEC is able to sustain is activites. IMEC's volunteers come from corporate service teams, retired medical professionals and interested individuals. [ [ Portsmouth Herald Local News: Kids care about the caregivers ] ] This donation of time, effort, and expertise allows IMEC to efficiently and effectively carry out all aspects of the project. Experienced volunteers perform in-country hospital assessments and acquire needed medical equipment. Any necessary repairs to the equipment are done by volunteers who bring skill sets that include sewing, electronics, or the simple willingness to clean the marks of previous use. Volunteers perform the final packaging and shipping, down to the last act of loading the pallets by forklift into shipping containers destined for impoverished hospitals worldwide.

IMEC Worldwide

Over the years IMEC has shipped many containers worldwide with numerous shepherding groups. [ [ International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) ] ] [ [ International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) ] ] Some examples include [ IMEC REPORT] :


Registration and Funding in the United States

IMEC is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization registered in the USAID Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO). IMEC was officially recognized by USAID on 11/23/2001 and a report of financial activities is presented within the registry [ [
] . IMEC receives its funding from corporate grants and private donations.


External Links

* [ IMEC Official Website]
* [ United Way of the Greater Seacoast]
* [ International Relief and Development (IRD)]
* [ Knights of Vartan]
* [ Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)]
* [ Woodstock VT Rotary]
* [ Greenwich Rotary]
* [ World Vision]
* [ Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)]
* [ Mustard Seed Communities]
* [ Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA)]
* [ Salesian Missions]
* [ Association of Pakistani Physicians New England (APPNE)]
* [ Organizacion Dominicana de Recursos Internacionales]
* [ EPA Donation Programs]

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