Medical Surplus Resources

Assessing an MSRO

Catholic health care ministry has an opportunity to be a catalyst in the development of MSRO industry standards that can significantly improve the impact of surplus donations made to the developing world. The key is to donate usable and appropriately sorted supplies and equipment to an organization that matches donations to needs identified by in-country solicitors.

The 2010 study of MSROs by CHA highlighted nine drivers — or nine key impact areas — that will allow MSROs to effectively serve more CHA members and create greater impact for the developing world.

The nine drivers come not only from the 2010 MSRO study, but also, are based on feedback from ministry and industry leaders as well as expertise from the CRS, WHO and the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD). They represent the "best practices" of leading MSROs as assessed by CHA during the 2010 study.

A Summary of the Nine Key Drivers for Responsible Collection and Redistribution of Medical Supplies and Equipment Includes:


  • Leadership — An MSRO needs dedicated, full-time staffing.
  • Container Price/Value — An MSRO must find multiple funding streams and understand the realities of the end beneficiaries through relationships with those who solicit surplus on their behalf.
  • Staffing — An MSRO needs adequate staffing and effective volunteer recruitment and training.

Stakeholder Relationships

  • Hospitals — An MSRO must tap into hospital resources while leading them to make donations that would be effective in the developing world.
  • Beneficiaries — An MSRO must focus all of its efforts on the children, women and men in the developing world who benefit from the donated goods and services. An MSRO must also have an online, current database of surplus available. Solicitors can access the database, order surplus goods and following receipt of these goods, evaluate shipment content and process.
  • Business/Financial Partners — An MSRO needs to utilize technical and strategic strengths of health care organizations.


  • Sorting/Quality Management — An MSRO has to have the capacity and staffing to sort down to the individual item level and move short-dated items quickly.
  • Shipping/Distribution — An MSRO must take ownership of the entire process of shipping, from knowing and complying with customs regulations and laws to ensuring that shipments are received and that contents are correctly distributed.
  • Inventory Management — An MSRO must provide an online database so that solicitors can see available inventory. It should have less than a one-month backlog of items to sort and should have effective processes for intake.

First Do No Harm: Assessing and Selecting High Quality MSROs

This guide offers Catholic health care leaders tools for assessing the practices and effectiveness of surplus recovery organizations (MSROs). Based on the ground-breaking 2010 study of Medical Surplus Donation, this booklet and accompanying online tools provide assessment questions and information leadership can use to assure their organizations medical surplus donations are made appropriately and effectively by an MSRO.

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