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Carolinas HealthCare System, Chiquita Brands and Harris Teeter Collaborate to Support Sustainable Healthcare Abroad

Carolinas HealthCare System’s International Medical Outreach (IMO) Program, Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB), and Harris Teeter Inc., are collaborating to promote sustainable, quality healthcare and education in underserved communities globally. 

The three Charlotte-based organizations have joined forces to facilitate the transportation and delivery of medical and computer equipment donations abroad. With support from Chiquita and Harris Teeter, Carolinas HealthCare System’s IMO Program—a partnership with the Heineman Foundation of Charlotte—will distribute equipment and supplies more effectively to hospitals and clinics in Honduras, Guatemala and Panama, and to public schools in Guatemala.  

“Carolinas HealthCare System is proud to work with partners like Chiquita and Harris Teeter on a project that has the potential to significantly change lives,” said Michael Tarwater, chief executive officer for Carolinas HealthCare System.

Harris Teeter and Chiquita aref collaborating to provide free land and sea transportation of medical equipment from the IMO warehouse location in Charlotte to facilities in need in Central America. The first set of containers were loaded at an employee volunteer event on April 10, 2013, and will be shipped to Guatemala, where the supplies will help equip adult and pediatric intensive care units at a regional hospital in the city of Quetzaltenango.

“Everyone at Chiquita is excited about this new partnership,” said Ed Lonergan, president and chief executive officer for Chiquita. “Improving, supporting and giving back to the communities in which our employees work and live is very important to Chiquita. This is a natural collaborative effort between three Charlotte-based companies and a great avenue for all of us to help

Carolinas HealthCare System’s IMO Program has a 50-year history of assembling, refurbishing and donating equipment and supplies in several countries, establishing sustainable cardiology programs, intensive care units, and more.

“We are thrilled to embark on this meaningful partnership with two strong community partners that, like us, are committed to benefiting people everywhere,” said Francis Robicsek, MD, Ph.D., vice president of Carolinas HealthCare System’s IMO Program. “With their support, we can increase our involvement in assistance projects abroad.”

To date, IMO has helped thousands of patients in 28 countries, with a focus in Central America. In 2012 alone, it donated 390 pieces of medical equipment, worth $4.1 million if purchased new, to nearly a dozen countries. The medical equipment loaded into containers on April 10 for the intensive care units in Quetzaltenango is worth $1.2 million if purchased new.

“Harris Teeter has a proud history of working with the International Medical Outreach Program,” said Catherine Becker, Communication Manager for Harris Teeter. “We are pleased to once again partner with two outstanding Charlotte-based organizations to help IMO further its humanitarian mission to promote better living standards and sustainable healthcare both here and abroad.” 

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