Partnering to provide care for underserved populations


At a glance


International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC), Andover, Massachusetts, USA


  • Many lives were improved, particularly in underserved healthcare communities through donations made possible by the Philips and IMEC partnership.
  • Staff were highly engaged through volunteering opportunities and enabled significant reduction in demo inventory.
  • Complementary business opportunities for Philips in Africa were created.


  • 92,000 additional Lives Improved in Africa
  • 500 medical devices installed base growth for Philips in Africa creating additional lifecycle business opportunities

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The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 70% of medical equipment donations in Africa are unusable and inadequate. Together with IMEC, Philips demonstrated the value of sustainability by donating clinically viable medical equipment that would otherwise sit in a warehouse taking up space, costing money and time.

Through these donations, IMEC and Philips created entire solutions for specific use enabling more than 92,000 people to be treated by clinicians in underprivileged communities. Philips has already improved the lives of 2.1 billion people in 2016, leading the way in sustainable operations and bringing healthcare to those that need it most.

IMEC provides equipment solutions for healthcare, agriculture, and education projects in developing countries. Core philosophies of IMEC are: reduce environmental waste by recovering surplus equipment, bringing these materials to impoverished communities, and donating total solutions. Sustained mostly by volunteers, IMEC has grown extensively over the years refurbishing medical equipment and shipping worldwide.1

"It is amazing the difference we can make with partners like Philips."



Dr. Sue Crawford

Chief Medical Officer of IMEC

 The challenge  


The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 70% of medical equipment donations in Africa are unusable and inadequate. A Philips business in Patient Care and Monitoring Systems had lots of used inventory and previous attempts to reduce the inventory involved ‘’trashing’’ clinically viable equipment in an unsustainable way. Although Philips employees were motivated to donate medical equipment, there was no process with traceability and well-intended donations were at risk of being non-compliant. The unstructured nature of these donations did not allow for proper training, nor were the medical devices going to appropriate facilities.

imec sustainability

The solution  


The ambition was to reduce the inventory in Philips while simultaneously donating clinically viable medical equipment to underserved communities. The focus of this partnership was to help:

  • Underprivileged people in need of healthcare
  • Doctors, nurses, and clinicians in need of tools and innovative technology to facilitate efficient diagnosis and treatment


The collaboration with IMEC is highly complementary to the work that Philips is currently doing in African countries. IMEC works to train recipients and connect them to supplies and service so that the donations are sustainable.

"Over the last 20 years, we have been delivering appropriate medical equipment that doctors and nurses need to take care of their communities."



Tom Keefe

Founder and CEO of IMEC



Philips is supporting the build-up of a primary care infrastructure by rolling out community life centers. These are needed to build-up a referral system and help resolve the current situation where there is not enough care and where hospitals are over-crowded. IMEC is focused on district hospitals which are a necessary element of a sustainable healthcare system. Philips can strengthen the effort as a local partner to support application training, service and remote monitoring – which are necessary ingredients of a sustainable operation.


Equipment that originally would have cost more to store than scrap can now be part of a sustainable process: providing clinically viable and used medical equipment.


Philips is committed to having 95% of its business revenue linked to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2020 in particular SDG 3 – Ensuring healthy lives for all and SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production.


Philips and IMEC’s partnership helped create 50 medical suites within a year by donating 500 medical devices and enabling 92,000 people to be treated by a clinician. Since December 2015, aged demo equipment has been donated to underprivileged communities in developing countries, which continues to this day. 


This partnership enabled more underserved healthcare communities to have access to healthcare and treatment; provided integrated solutions to enhance medical diagnosis and treatment as well as enabling people to be cared for in the right way – there is always a way to make life better.

IMEC infographic

Looking forward

With this life improving program, Philips in partnership with IMEC wants to improve the access to quality healthcare in the district hospitals in Africa. 





Results are specific to the institution where they are obtained and may not reflect the results achievable at other institutions.

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