Massachusetts AIDS Agencies Use Their Network to Help Quake Victims
January 22, 2010
In the days following the earthquake in Haiti, two Massachusetts-based organizations that manage an AIDS drug supply chain in the island nation have used that capacity for emergency medical assistance.
"We converted what stock we had in the warehouse into emergency relief, and we basically put them into kits and got them out into hospitals," said Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, CEO of the Management for Health in Cambridge. "I was amazed how fast it happened -- the first deliveries left the warehouse in 48 hours." The group has four buildings in Port-au-Prince; the warehouse was the only one that escaped damage. All of its 187 employees in Haiti survived.
The nonprofit, together with the South Boston-based JSI Research and Training Institute, co-manages the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, which provides more than 1 million people worldwide with antiretroviral drugs. In Haiti, partnership staff members are responsible for securing adequate drugs at the right prices and delivering them through a network of more than 100 sites, including some in very remote areas. Some 7,500 Haitians died of AIDS in 2007, making it the leading cause of death among persons ages 15 to 44.
The supply chain made its first routine resupply of antiretroviral drugs since the quake on Tuesday; it also delivered emergency medical supplies such as bandages and antibiotics. At press time, the organization had provided about 40,000 pounds of medicine and other supplies to 16 hospitals and 14 clinics around Port-au-Prince.
The Haiti staffers already had experience in dealing with natural disasters. In 2008, they worked through a series of hurricanes that battered the island, Quick said. "Through that, the team hardly skipped a beat," he said. "And the same thing is happening this time."
01.21.2010; James F. Smith