How Project C.U.R.E. Works

Project C.U.R.E.'s Programs

Project C.U.R.E. volunteers packing medical equipment bound for Tanzania.
Project C.U.R.E. volunteers packing medical equipment bound for Tanzania.
Associated Press/David Zalubowski

Though Project C.U.R.E. began in Colorado, it now has large distribution centers in four U.S. cities as well as smaller collection centers in additional cities (to check if there's a Project C.U.R.E. outpost near you, check the organization's Web site). These distribution and collection centers take in the medical supplies and equipment, which usually arrives from wholesale distributors and hospitals. The wholesale distributors often have surpluses, while the hospitals might be replacing a perfectly serviceable machine for a newer model. In either case, it's usually less expensive to donate the equipment than to dispose of it [source: Jackson].

Project C.U.R.E.'s mission is to "deliver health and hope around the world" [source: Project C.U.R.E.]. To do that, the organization can't just send this equipment off to the developing world randomly. Instead, hospitals and clinics from around the world apply for Project C.U.R.E.'s assistance, and before any equipment is provided, a team from the organization does an on-site needs assessment to evaluate how the supplies will be used. The organization estimates that it spends about half the year on these needs assessments, which may include meeting with local governmental officials to ensure that the supplies will clear customs and be used as directed. To date, none of Project C.U.R.E.'s shipments has ever been lost or confiscated.

These shipments are called CARGO. CARGO containers measure about 40 feet (12.2 meters) long, or the size of a semi-truck's trailer, and are delivered to their destination via cargo ship. The containers, which are hand-loaded to maximize space, usually include $400,000 worth of medical equipment that has been specifically requested by the partner clinic or hospital [source: Project C.U.R.E.].

In addition to their large CARGO containers, Project C.U.R.E. also packages smaller C.U.R.E. KITS, which are designed to be transported as checked luggage by medical professionals. The KITS, which weigh about 45 pounds (20.4 kg), contain $1,500 worth of medical supplies that can address short-term or emergency needs. The C.U.R.E. Kits for Kids are even smaller; these shoebox-sized kits contain simple health care supplies like burn ointment, soap, bandages and lice shampoo. They're provided to parents seen at the partner hospitals and clinics who have children under the age of 15 at home.

C.U.R.E. Clinics provide a chance for medical professionals to travel to partner hospitals and clinics for a seven to 10 day stint working with local doctors and nurses. During a C.U.R.E. Clinic, a medical professional may serve about 200 patients a day.

Find out how you can lend a hand on the next page.