When the Association of Kerala Medical Graduates in North America offered to gift reconditioned medical equipment to Kerala hospitals two years ago, the state government hailed the gesture. But instead of state-of-the-art heart-lung machines or dialysis units, the containers that arrived at Kochi port were full of syringes, needles, gauze and washbasins. The health department has refused to take delivery of the consignment. Worse, the Customs has slapped Rs 84 lakh demurrages on the government. Says C.R. Soman of Health Action by People: "We’re not a banana republic to depend on them for syringes and gauze."