Partners for World Health staff load medical supplies onto a truck. Contributed / Paul Golding

A Portland nonprofit has renewed an effort to provide Ukrainian health care workers with much-needed medical supplies, two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine formally began.

Partners for World Health’s latest shipment, as part of their relaunched Ukraine Response Appeal, was the 12th it’s sent to Ukraine. The most recent shipment included a state-of-the-art 3D printer that creates custom-fit prosthetics.

“We work with NGOs on the ground, making sure that things get exactly where we intend them to,” said Paul Golding, the organization’s director of advancement.

In the last two years, they have sent nearly $4.9 million worth of supplies to hospitals in need during the war. They have an additional five to eight more shipments planned.

“We routinely ship supplies to developing countries, natural disasters and war zones,” he said. “Ukraine has been a big focus.”

Golding said they also work with medical institutions in Syria, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Bangladesh and many more places around the world. The organization has continued to expand its reach.


Last year, we did 19 shipments all over the world, and this year we have hit the target of 30,” he said.

Golding said that many doctors and nurses going to Ukraine have secured what they need from Partners for World Health’s funds.

The UN reported in November of 2023 that over 10,000 Ukrainians, including over 560 children, had been killed since the invasion began.

“We’re helping to raise awareness of that because it’s an ongoing conflict,” Golding said.

According to a report from Physicians for Human Rights, by August 2023 Russia had launched over 400 attacks on Ukrainian hospitals since the war’s start.

Golding said that Partners for World Health depends on their hospital partners in Maine and New England who supply surplus medical equipment, which otherwise would be thrown out.


“A lot of it would be headed to a landfill if we didn’t disrupt it,” he said.

Partners for World Health states that about $10 billion annually is spent in disposal fees amongst hospitals across the U.S., which discard over 5 million tons of supplies, equipment and trash per year. Since it was founded in 2009, the nonprofit has collected more than 5 million pounds of medical supplies.

“It’s a really amazing place,” said Kali Focht, the organization’s volunteer recruitment coordinator. The volunteers she works with are united by their desire to “do something bigger than themselves.”

Focht said they have about 180 active volunteers.

“You don’t need to be a medical professional or medically inclined to work with us,” she said.

Focht said that “seeing how much we waste” in medical supplies is shocking.

“A lot of people in this world can’t access medical goods, and we should be helping wherever we can. We need to make that choice every day,” she said.

The organization was formed in 2009 by Elizabeth McLellan. McLellan was unable to be interviewed before the Portland Forecaster’s print deadline on Tuesday because she was working with health facilities in Bangladesh.

To learn more about Partners for World Health and their efforts, go to

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