Creation of a recycling business in the physiotherapy sector

The first repair and maintenance workshop for medical and orthopaedic equipment opened its doors in Gennevilliers, staffed by victims of social exclusion. It will provide a service which many disabled people have eagerly awaited.

Social and Employment

Gennevilliers, France

Marie-Marguerite Bourbigot

35,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/10/04
  Project leader HAL Association

«  This is an extremely worthwhile project which, in addition to its end purpose, also supports social integration, training and employment. The training provided by Greta covers four courses all of which lead to qualifications. Trainees who have not been taken on are now given ongoing help with job hunting. »

Marie-Marguerite Bourbigot

Since 1985, the "Handicap & Libertés" association (HAL) has been working in France to help the disabled with training, employment and provision of equipment.
In Europe and Latin America, it has joined forces with other organisations pursuing similar objectives. Together, they have created Mamed, a network of repair workshops for medical and orthopaedic equipment which offers employment to the socially excluded. The thinking behind this network is simple: in the industrialised countries of Europe, medical equipment is easily accessible but poorly maintained. Getting repairs done to beds, tables, drugs cabinets, wheelchairs, Zimmer frames, walking sticks and all other types of physiotherapy equipment can be one long struggle. Equipment in a state of disrepair is often discarded despite the fact that the items were probably costly to acquire and could be maintained and used locally or sent to countries where there is a shortage of such equipment.

"Social Security approved"

The first workshop in the Mamed network has been set up in the underprivileged district of Gennevilliers, in Ile-de-France. Mechanical and orthopaedic equipment repaired at the workshop is sold at cost to developing countries. The workshop will also adapt medical equipment according to the particular illness and needs of customers in the Ile-de-France region.To augment this range of services, it has set up a rental and sale service for private customers.To meet the recruitment needs of this project, in 2005, Greta trained thirty disabled people or victims of social exclusion in repair of medical equipment. At the end of this training period, eight trainees were taken on at the Mamed workshop.
The workshop has already obtained approval from French Social Security: it oversaw start-up and operations and event to charge of overall supervision to guarantee that repairs are done properly.
HAL has also been approved by the "Assistance publique des hôpitaux de Paris" (APHP) for collection of used equipment from its establishments.
To support the start-up of the project, the Veolia Foundation provided funding of 35,000 euros to cover the cost of purchasing two vehicles for collection of damaged medical equipment from physiotherapy units and hospitals.

In early 2006, Mamed collected its first container of orthopedic equipment to be renovated.Under the supervision of a technical manager, the repairs began in the month of February.At the same time, Mamed convenient its awareness raising operations with the authorities: a study with the French captain health Ministry served to add the used equipment to the list of products at refunded by the Social Security administration. Mamed also entered into a partnership with the Ile-de-France health insurance administration to facilitate the installation of a loan service with regional patients.
Mamed also continued to expand its activities internationally.Through the Veolia Foundation, Mamed developed a relationship with Ateliers Sans Frontières.Together, they organize the regular delivery of used orthopedic equipment to Morocco.Armed with this experience, the HAL Association, which initiated the Mamed network, is opening international partner workshops, particularly in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Benin and the Palestinian Territories.