Hospital bassinets heading to Africa

For three weeks, Maggy Bell came to work every day at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital and noticed a lineup of bassinets in the hallway leading to The Stollery Family Centre for Childbirth & Children. After some digging, Bell was told that despite being in good working condition, the bassinets no longer met hospital Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) standards and were being replaced.

“In September, my first grandchild was born here at Markham Stouffville Hospital,” says Bell, who is a coordinator in the executive offices. “My daughter-in-law delivered via C-section, and between adjusting to becoming a new mom while also recovering from the surgery, the bassinet allowed her easy and safe access to her baby while bonding in those first few days”.

Bell understood that hospitals needed to adhere to strict rules, but thought it was a shame to see the bassinets go to waste, especially after seeing what an important resource they were to new birth parents.

She took a photo of the bassinets and sent it to her friend, Jill Bartley. Bartley is the chief operating officer at Hope and Healing International.

Hope and Healing is a not-for-profit organization that provides empowering, ability-restoring, and life-changing services in 12 of the world’s poorest countries. Hope and Healing works specifically with the world’s most vulnerable children and families – those trying to survive the double disadvantage of poverty and disability.

Bartley confirmed they would love to have the bassinets go to new parents in need and Bell got to work on her end.

“I was happy to volunteer as coordinator to work through the obstacles as required,” Bell says. “I connected with our senior leadership team, the manufacturer of the bassinets, the lawyers, you name it.”

After several months of back and forth, and coordination from Bell, the donation was approved. The bassinets will provide a safe, warm place to rest for newborns in communities with very little access to adequate medical care and will bring comfort to families who are struggling in harsh circumstances. The bassinets are currently en route to Africa and scheduled to arrive in June. They will be distributed to several clinics in some of the most rural areas in Zambia.

“I’m sure I am not alone when I say that it warms my heart to know this could make some sort of difference to another baby, family, or healthcare facility in need,” Bell says. “For the small price of giving some of my time and effort into helping make this happen, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I hope others will be more aware of the possibilities in making a difference to something, someone, or somewhere”.

For more information and to learn more about Hope and Healing International, visit


Photo: Bassinets that no longer met Markham Stouffville Hospital Infection Prevention and Control standards were being replaced and MSH staff Maggy Bell went to work to ensure they would be put to good use elsewhere.

Story submitted by Michelle Lee Hoy & Alanna Sloan.

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