A recent article published by the BBC discusses the issue of donated medical supplies going to waste in the developing world (full text available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/health-14902877). For example, voltage regulators, infrared sensor technology and ultrasound scanners may lie around unused if there isn't a local technician to maintain such equipment. To avoid these issues, MedPLUS Connect conducts site visits to recipient hospitals before a shipment is ordered, and after it is received. On these site visits, we ensure that the hospitals' requests are compatible with their current infrastructure. If a hospital receives a piece of equipment they can't use, we make arrangements to have it sent to a facility that can use it.
The issue of technology synchronization raises another very interesting question: should developing countries strive to catch up to the technology of developed countries, or should they seek different technology altogether? The BBC article focuses on the latter. The article states that appropriate technology is not low tech, but different tech. Technology designed specifically for environmental conditions of the developing world can yield tremendous benefit - and it would make sense to invest in this kind of technology. Prototypes of "different technology" that were recently displayed at a conference of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers include a solar-powered hearing aid that overcomes the need for expensive batteries, a stethoscope that can connect to mobile phones allowing doctors to monitor hard-to-reach patients remotely, and a nipple shield for breastfeeding mothers who are HIV positive which blocks the transmission of the virus to their babies. The onus is now on the engineering and development communities to get this sort of technology, specific to local environments, into the field.