**If you are in southern Maine and would like to volunteer to assist with sorting and packing supplies for Haiti, please email us or call (207)347-6733
Acquiring and Managing Scarce Resources
When discussing challenges to clinical care with most Haitian clinicians, most state that the lack of appropriate supplies as a constant frustration. Konbit Sante works to ameliorate this problem by sending 40-foot sea containers of donated medical equipment, supplies, and furniture to Cap-Haitien twice a year. The contents of each container are varied, but typically end up valued at approximately $150,000. To date we have shipped thirteen containers. Additionally, because of our relatively long-standing and in-depth relationship with the Justinian Hospital, we are able to act as intermediaries for other groups, such as Direct Relief International, Hope International of Canada, who generously donate life-saving medicines.
Isemanie Lucien, had the strength, determination, and backbone to institute and enforce inventory controls – a change that was quite unpopular. Now in the depot there are rows of steel shelving where the materials are organized and stored, an inventory is completed and recorded of all shipments received, and requisition forms must be filled before anything can leave the depot. Getting to this stage is a significant accomplishment, yet there is still much more progress left to make.Bringing equipment and materials to the region is one step toward solving the problem of inadequate supplies. However, we recognize that this step is the easy part. The work of managing the supplies that are there and planning for what is needed is much more challenging yet equally necessary in order to meet the ultimate goal of providing patients with appropriate care. Working with colleagues in the Ministry of Health and with other partners, Konbit Sante strives to this end by establishing and staffing an improved supply chain system to responsibly manage and distribute materials and supplies. Before our arrival at the Justinian the supply depot consisted of a large pile of things in a room. There were no controls or records of what came and went. Many of the supplies left the hospital grounds for personal use. We successfully encouraged the Ministry to employ a stock manager for the depot and we help by augmenting the salary of this person. The woman hired,
In the spring of 2009, with the support of Direct Relief International, we hired a supply chain coordinator who works to best match donor goods with hospital needs. He is tasked with the challenge of devising a system for analyzing supply usage data to better understand what materials are needed and in what quantities. That information then is communicated to donor organizations. Finally, he also works tirelessly to free shipments from customs and ensure they are delivered safely to their destination.