Friends of Ostomates Worldwide USA (FOW-USA) is a non-profit organization that collects donated ostomy supplies from individuals and organizations in the United States and sends them to ostomates in need around the world.
There are many developing countries where supplies are unavailable or too expensive. Ostomates resort to using plastic bags, metal cans, rubber gloves, or rags or towels as their pouching system. Their quality of life is poor and skin care is a major issue. With access to proper supplies FOW-USA is able to help these ostomates improve their health and improve their quality of life.
Because so many needs exist around the world, FOW-USA partners with other groups who do similar work, including the International Ostomy Association and its regions. From August, 2015 to July, 2016 they have shipped over 14,500 pounds of supplies costing nearly $37,000 to countries including Nigeria, Venezuela, Philippines, Zambia, Laos, and Nepal.
Providing ostomy supplies to those in need is their mission, but education is key to quality ostomate care.
Ostomates and organizations in need of ostomy supplies not only use their website to request products, but also have access to educational information covering basic ostomy care and management. With decades of combined ostomy care experience, Board members Nancy Gutman, RN, Jan Colwell, CWOCN and Julie Bauer, RN have created instructional materials on the use of colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy pouching systems which are included in product shipments.
These educational resources will soon be available for download on their newly updated website and will be translated into several languages. FOW-USA has also provided ostomy education to the Lions for Stoma Care Project whose mission is to teach doctors and nurses about stoma patient care in Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, and China.
Friends of Ostomates Worldwide USA relies solely on product and financial donations.
Here are four ways you can help:
1. If all your needs are met, make a financial donation. No amount is too small, everything counts.
2. Gather your extra unused ostomy supplies. All types and sizes of new ostomy supplies are appreciated, including pediatric brands. Mail to their warehouse at: FOW-USA, 4018 Bishop Lane, Louisville, KY 40218-4539. Donors pay for shipping at their own expense.
3. Find out how you can volunteer. They would love to have your help coordinating and processing donations and requests. If you live in the Louisville, KY area, please contact FOW-USA.
4. AmazonSmile is a simple way to support FOW-USA at no cost to you. When you shop, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our organization when you select Friends of Ostomates Worldwide – USA Inc.
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