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West Suffolk Hospital helps to save lives across the world

25 July 2005

Medical equipment that can no longer be used by West Suffolk Hospital is being sent to help to set up a jungle hospital and to save lives in remote parts of Nigeria.

Redundant eye surgery equipment from West Suffolk Hospital has already helped volunteer doctors to restore the sight of more than 60 people in the Niger Delta and more medical equipment is on its way.

Photographs of charity health care clinics in Nigeria

West Suffolk Hospital has been working with the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Christian charity Tools with a Mission (TWAM) for a year and a half to send equipment that is no longer needed in the UK to third world countries in need.

The link with the New Foundations boat clinic and new hospital providing healthcare for 40,000 people in the Niger Delta is the latest in a series of partnerships ensuring medical and technical equipment does not go to waste when it is replaced or surplus.

Earlier this year, a 20ft container of redundant hospital equipment including beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, and hearing aids was sent to help a hospital in India that had been destroyed by the South East Asian tsunami.

Superseded computers from West Suffolk Hospital have also been sent out across the world, including 18 needed to teach IT skills at a women’s college in southern Tanzania.

West Suffolk Hospital’s Director of Facilities, Steve Moore, said: “We have developed a good partnership with Tools With A Mission, and we hope other hospitals in the region will follow our lead.

“Technology advances very quickly in the medical field and the equipment we are sending to Nigeria has been replaced with more modern items. The equipment is safe but is no longer of use in this country because it is not compliant with UK legislation but is compliant in other countries.

“Hospital staff volunteer to help to collect together equipment we no longer use to hand over to TWAM, who check it is working and carry out any repairs before sending it out to people in need.”

Operating and examination tables, small scanners, electrical equipment, blood pressure monitors and thermometers are just some of the items being collected together to go out to the new hospital in Warri, Nigeria, which is due to open in September.

The New Foundations boat clinic and hospital has been set up by a charitable trust founded by a Cambridge-based GP, Dr David Donovan, who heard about TWAM while working voluntarily at St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.

He reports some 60 adults and children in the region have recently been able to have eye surgery to restore their sight using equipment from West Suffolk Hospital, and the boat clinic is saving dozens of lives by bringing health care to remote villages.

TWAM was set up 30 years ago to send new and refurbished tools all over the world to the most needy communities. Some tools are made up into kits for use by carpenters, electricians or builders. The charity has also set up overseas workshops and offices to train local people in various trades and skills.

TWAM’s volunteer development manager for Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, is Mike Coleman, a committed Christian from Bury St Edmunds, who said: “This scheme brings mutual benefits because we identify a need for unwanted medical equipment, which it would otherwise cost the hospital money to dispose of.

“TWAM is about enabling people to help themselves, so we don’t just provide the tools and equipment, we provide training so people can learn the skills they need to become independent."


Tools With a Mission is based at Unit 2, Bailey Close, Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, Ipswich. Tel 01473 210220. Mike Coleman (medical) can be contacted on 01284 702236, or 0781 3368396.

New Foundations website is



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