World Help needs DLA's help

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

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The Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP) is a special authority allowing the U.S. Agency for International Development to grant humanitarian aid organizations with access to government surplus materials. The Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services serves as a primary resource for obtaining excess items for outreach to developing nations.

About two dozen private volunteer organizations currently partner with LEPP, and one – World Help – provided a recent look at the kinds of work its accomplishing with the help of DLA Disposition Services.

“DLA routinely provides access to new or usable product that has a shelf-life left on it, for free, giving organizations like World Help a unique and cost-effective opportunity to help many struggling communities and people around the world who otherwise would not have access,” said World Help Humanitarian Aid Director Josh Brewer. “We have mobilized everything from ventilators to x-ray machines to hospital beds, to anesthesia machines and basic consumables to more than two dozen institutions in five countries. … We mobilize between 50 and 75 40-foot ocean-going containers of supplies each year.”

Brewer is the primary property screener for his organization and said DLA has played an “integral role” in World Help’s shipments of excess and surplus medical property originally valued at more than $50 million for use around the world since 2010. He said World Help currently assists in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Zambia, Uganda, Nepal and Haiti.

“Our main program objective is to provide rural, under-served and under-resourced hospitals and clinics with the products and equipment they need to properly care for their patients,” Brewer said.

Currently, part of a large lot of obsolete military emergency field slings is headed to Guatemala and Nepal. World Help recently acquired 173 pallets of muslin triangle slings through DLA that were originally valued at $1.2 million but became obsolete when the governing military medical requirement changed, compelling DLA Troop Support to purchase and stock a generic, more commercially-available version. DLA Troop Support Medical Supply Chain Contracting Officer Rose Mary Adams said that once Troop Support’s inventory of old slings no longer met the services’ requirements, the office reached out to Disposition Services’ reuse experts to find a potential destination. 

“The slings will … provide tangible resourcing to assist institutions working to care for patients who, in this context, have basic first aid needs,” Brewer said.   

He said World Aid works closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. embassies to help support American goals for international development and it relies on in-country partners to help choose what to focus those efforts on.

“We conduct annual needs and market assessments to determine the scope and capacity of the expressed needs,” Brewer said. “Often times, we conduct site visits to see and vet these needs firsthand. From there, we craft an engagement strategy around those indicators. The current and future appropriations of the slings/bandages are based on these assessments.”

Brewer cited some of his organization’s recent efforts, including securing medical equipment for the Intensive Care Unit of a major Zambian hospital, helping to significantly increase access to dialysis in Guatemala with donated equipment and providing excess boots to under-resourced Guatemalan farmers.

“Typically, farmers do not have adequate protection while working out in the fields all day – both footwear and headwear – often leading to disease or injury,” Brewer said. “These shoes not only make a world of difference for their comfort, but also keep them safe while working. These farmers and field workers would not have enough resources to find product like this. What was meant for one purpose is being used to serve another.”