Nearly three decades ago, Dr. Luis Molina, a cardiologist at Hospital General de Mexico in Mexico City, identified a problem among his patients. In a region where approximately 20 percent of adult deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease1 and 50 million people live below the poverty line, heart patients who were in need of pacing therapy couldn’t get it.
“In the case of pacemakers, the government does not provide them, so patients have to buy the devices,” Molina explains. “The problem is that these patients don’t have the money.”
That’s when an effort between Molina and Medtronic — to expand underserved patients’ access to healthcare — began. Through a Medtronic program, the company donates pacemakers to Dr. Molina for patients who would otherwise never have access to the critical technology.
The program quickly grew.
“First it was 24 pacemakers. Then 48. And now, we are at 150 pacemakers per year,” Molina said.
To date, more than 3,000 patients have received donated devices. And as an added benefit of the program, more than 550 physicians have been trained using donated devices.
“The partnership with Medtronic has enabled us to continue to serve patients year after year instead of just a one-time gift or product donation,” Molina says of the program.
“It’s very touching to be there and to see people getting access to technologies they would not otherwise be able to get any other way,” says Fernando Oliveros Arreaga, vice president for Northern Latin America Medtronic.
Like Oliveros’ team in Mexico City, Medtronic employees around the world — driven by the company’s Mission to contribute to human welfare — collaborate with clinicians and health system leaders to strengthen community health efforts and expand access to lifesaving therapies. In fiscal year 2019, Medtronic contributed more than $9 million in product donations globally. A percentage of product donations are used to further medical education and training efforts, like the one Molina is leading, to teach other physicians how to perform the procedure so they can bring these new skills to their patients.
“Underserved patients — patients who are poor — cannot always afford the best of medicine,” says Molina. “But they can afford the best of our effort.”