Saving Lives Around the World
For North Andover resident Al
Movsesian, volunteering a day of his time at the old
Lucent Technologies building on Rt. 125is a labor of
With 150,000 square feet of warehouse space made
available by Orit Goldstein, Movsesian and dozens of
other volunteers for the International Medical Equipment
Collaborative or IMEC (a 13-year-old non-profit
organization) collect donated (mostly used) medical
supplies and equipment from area hospitals, test and fix
the equipment, then package and ship the supplies to
impoverished hospitals and clinics in underdeveloped
countries around the world.
IMEC is the brainchild of former hospital administrator
Tom Keefe, a Haverhill native who left his full-time job
to run the non-profit after seeing the dire
need of hospital patients around the world.
You go to other countries and you see that they do
not even have basic hospital needs, like sutures, heart
monitoring machines or incubators, Keefe says.
Our goal is to get donated medical equipment in
this country and supply an entire hospital
Keefe estimates that 55-70 40-foot containers full of
medical equipment are shipped each year to hospitals and
clinics in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South and
Keefe walked through the warehouse at the old Lucent
site, he showed us the millions of dollars of equipment
waiting to be inspected and shipped.
Specialty items like baby monitors, heart monitors,
incubators, IV machines, respirators, tables, chairs and
hundreds of other supplies needed to furbish and maintain
a hospital or clinic.
One of the first things we wanted to do,
Keefe says, was to make sure that the equipment we
were going to ship overseas would not be diverted to
corrupt government officials or sold on the black market.
So we make sure we have someone at each location to
follow the supplies to where they are needed, like the
Oncology Hospital in Yerevan, Armenia.
Keefe says that through shepherding
organizations like the Knights of Vartan, Rotary
Club, the Seventh Day Adventists, and other non-profits,
all the customs paperwork is filled out exactly as the
host country requires. The non-profit shepherding
organizations then follow the equipment through the
lengthy process of shipping the containers overseas and
that the customs of the host country are respected.
As just one example, the Knights
of Vartan have shipped four 40-foot containers of
equipment in the last couple of years, packaged by IMEC
and the volunteers in North Andover, to Armenia.
Thats twenty pallets of supplies and equipment per
container which were shipped to the Central Oncology
Science Center and Hospital in Yerevan. Keefe himself has
been to Armenia, evaluating its needs, taking stock of
inventory and overseeing the installation of the medical
Since IMEC does not use government funds, and depends on
the charity of non-profits and others, Keefe says that
what they need most is not donations but more volunteers
with specialized medical and technical knowledge to test
equipment, as well as those willing to help package and
ship the containers.
What we really need most are volunteers, bodies, we
need bodies to help us package and ship these
materials, Keefe says. We have been blessed to have
so many good people give of their time, and we are even
more blessed that companies like UPS, Timberland and
Phillips lend us some of their workers to help, but wealways need more.
What we try to do is provide medical equipment that
doctors in hospitals and clinics around the word tell us
they need. But it isnt just specialized medical
equipment, some hospitals dont even have a
computer, or desks, or exam tables - simple things we
take for granted in this country. So we send them what
A map of the world in Keefes conference room at
Lucent has 70 colored flags pinned to it, each
representing a country IMEC has delivered one or more
containers full of medical supplies to a needy hospital
or clinic.For information or to volunteer, you can
contact IMEC at 978-557-5510 ext. 316, or visit the Web
site at www.imecamerica.org.
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The February 2007
Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly
All Contents (C) 2007, Valley Patriot, Inc.
We publish 10,000 newspapers and distribute in Andover,
Methuen, Haverhill, Chelmsford, Georgetown, Groveland,
Lawrence, Dracut, Tewksbury, Hampton & Salisbury
Beach, and Lowell.
Valley Patriot Archive
Valley Patriot Story
Valley Patriot Editorials
Prior Columns by ...
Patriot of the Month