SOS, a Louisville-based global health organization, reached a major milestone in 2019 with the diversion of the 3,000,000th pound of medical surplus supplies from local landfills. SOS partners with hospitals and physicians to recover and redistribute surplus medical supplies and equipment that would otherwise be thrown away.
Once processed and tested, the supplies are appropriately redistributed to SOS’s partners and other organizations with the greatest need for the items. These include hospitals and clinics in medically impoverished regions of the world, as well as many local organizations that focus on education, social services and animal welfare. SOS helps health organizations reduce disposal costs and improve their environmental impact. All major Louisville hospitals including Baptist, Norton, and University Hospital have been working with SOS for years, and now, that partnership model has gained regional attention.
In the past eighteen months, SOS has developed new partnerships with hospitals in other metropolitan areas, including TriHealth in Cincinnati, St. Elizabeth’s in Covington, St. Thomas in Nashville and St. Vincent in Birmingham. By partnering with more hospitals throughout the region, SOS is not only expanding its positive environmental impact by diverting more medical supplies away from landfills, it’s also getting more critically needed medical supplies to those in need.
The organization is currently piloting a Maternal and Child Health program to deepen the impact on two of the most vulnerable populations served. As an example, SOS recently sent a shipment of 11 tons ($118,000 value) of medical supplies and equipment to Kambia, Sierra Leone to provide prenatal care for pregnant women, midwife services for safer deliveries, and follow-up antenatal care with a well-baby program.
The organization’s expansion locally, regionally and globally led to a rebrand this year, from Supplies Over Seas to simply SOS. This is not an abbreviation of the former name, but rather a clearer message about SOS’s identity as an organization that responds to the call for help.
Since 1993, SOS has transformed surplus medical surplus into life-saving tools that have delivered health and hope to medically impoverished communities in 105 countries. SOS is one of seven organizations accredited by the MedSurplus Alliance, it’s the only organization of its kind in the region, and one of only fifteen in the United States.