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Updated: November 25, 2019

Maine nonprofit to send medical supplies to Syria

Elizabeth McLellan, founder of Partners for World Health, in the company's warehouse. Photo / Christina Wnek for Partners for World Health Elizabeth McLellan, founder of Partners for World Health, in the nonprofit's Portland warehouse.

Partners for World Health, a Portland-based nonprofit devoted to recycling medical supplies to improve global health, is preparing a shipment to Syria this week.

On Tuesday, it will send 15,000 pounds of donated medical supplies and equipment to Syria, its third shipment this year to the war-torn Middle Eastern country, in a 40-foot long container.

"The war in Syria continues, and every day people are injured," Elizabeth McLellan, founder and board president of Partners for World Health, told Mainebiz via email. "Partners for World Health is committed to providing help to the Syrian people," she said.

With Tuesday's shipment, the organization will have sent more than 45,000 pounds of medical supplies and equipment for multiple hospitals in Syria. 

McLellan added that the Partners for World Health team is doing what it can "and will continue to support the people of Syria for however long it takes for this horrible civil war to end."

This week's shipment will be the group's twelfth medical container going out in 2019. It will be shipped in partnership with NuDay Syria, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit working to secure sustainable aid in a dignified manner for Syrian mothers and children.

Syria, which borders Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel, has been ravaged by a deadly civil war since 2011.

With well over 500,000 people killed and more than 6.1 million Syrians displaced since the war began, the need for medical supplies and equipment remains dire, Partners for World Health said in a news release.

McLellan told Mainebiz the need is for medical supplies like beds, dressings and tape, gloves, surgical instruments, respiratory supplies, obstetrics supplies and "much much more."

Shipments are made possible through financial donations as well as the efforts of Partners for World Health staff and volunteers, who load the shipments at the organization's warehouse on Canco Road.

"The team ensures every inch of the container is filled with medical items that will have an extreme impact in the developing world," according to Partners for World Health.

From nursing admin to nonprofit leader

McLellan, who spent her career in nursing and healthcare administration, in 2007 began collecting discarded, unused supplies from the Maine hospital where she was then working, to send to developing countries. 

She later moved that operation from her home to an external storage site, and founded Partners for World Health in 2009.

The organization lists four drop-off locations for donated medical supplies and equipment: Portland, Rockport and Presque Isle in Maine, as well as Bethel, Vt. Drop-offs are by appointment only.

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