Dec 15, 2015
The Colostomy Association has launched a new service to change the lives of thousands of people living with a stoma across the world.
Stoma Aid is a new initiative that will collect unused ostomy supplies in the UK and redistribute them to patients living with a stoma in developing countries that cannot afford or access supplies.
Millions of people worldwide have undergone surgery for a stoma – an operation where an opening has been formed on their abdomen which allows waste to pass into a colostomy bag.
In the UK, patients with a stoma are able to access a huge variety of stoma supplies at little to no cost. However, thousands of colostomy bags are thrown away each year as they are no longer needed due to reversal operations, loss of a loved one, change in stoma size or skin problems.
These supplies cannot be returned to the NHS and all of these unwanted products can end up going into UK landfill sites. They may no longer be suitable due to change in stoma size or skin problems and the NHS cannot accept unused supplies back into their own stocks.
Meanwhile, there is a growing demand in developing countries for ostomy supplies. Tens of thousands of patients are forced to use improvised objects such as tin cans, plastic bags, crisp packets and bits of cloth as they cannot afford the price of a colostomy bag.
Stoma Aid will provide an ethical way for people in the UK to ensure their surplus supplies are benefit those in need. For patients in developing countries, Stoma Aid will help change their lives by dramatically reducing the risks of infection, hernias and isolation.
Frank Healy, CA Trustee, said: “Our charity receives hundreds of calls each year from people looking for a way to dispose of their unwanted supplies which can help those in need.
“These supplies cannot be returned to the NHS but they can help transform the lives of thousands of people across the world. We are extremely proud to launch this new service as it will make a very real difference to ostomates across the world.”
Speaking about the need for surplus supplies, Janet Yaki from the Papua New Guinea Stoma Association said: “The ostomy supplies we will get from the UK will dramatically improve in the lives of the adults and young children I assist. Some of them travel from remote locations. It takes them a day to walk to the nearest road link to Port Moresby which takes another 12 hours to get to the hospital.”
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