Supply management is one of the key aspects of Konbit Sante’s mission to strengthen capacity for health care in Greater Cap-Haitien. Without maintaining a proper inventory and tracking items that are received and distributed, it is impossible to determine which supplies are needed, which are out of stock, and which are currently in use.
In 2005, Konbit Sante began subsidizing the salary of a manager at the Justinien University Hospital supply depot, which was built the previous year by the Haitian Ministry of Health with our help providing steel shelving and technical assistance to develop an inventory and requisition system. We hired Ketlie Deslandes in 2008 to be the assistant stock manager in the depot, and she was promoted to depot manager in 2016 when her predecessor left. The position is contracted with JUH, and Konbit Sante pays her salary.
Ketlie was born in Limbé, Haiti, and lives southwest of Cap-Haitien in Böis Caiman. Her duties include maintaining the inventory of medical equipment and supplies, recording daily deliveries and shipments, responding to donation offers, and training depot staff as needed. When supplies are requested by a service at the hospital, it is her job to disburse them and record their usage.
“Having a dedicated and reliable person managing the depot is essential to maximizing the impact of the medications, supplies, and equipment that we help procure for JUH; i.e., making sure that essential items are delivered to the services and points of care where they will impact patient outcomes,” said Konbit Sante strategic advisor Nate Nickerson, who was involved in hiring Ketlie when he was executive director. “She is instrumental in understanding what specific things the hospital needs and is involved in requisitions of available items from the many donor organizations with which we collaborate.”
Keeping track of everything that comes and goes in the JUH depot is no small task: there are about 15,000 items in stock at any given time, from small items such as intravenous tubing, syringes, and spinal needles to larger items such as warming tables, sterilizers, and oxygen concentrators. And when there is a shortage of an item, she has to make difficult decisions based on which service has the greatest need.
“Managing the inventory is the most challenging part of the job,” Ketlie said. “However, it is very rewarding when I am able to fulfill the requests from the other hospital services.”
Dominique Joseph, administrator of Konbit Sante’s office in Cap-Haitien, says Ketlie goes “beyond her role” as stock manager to ensure that supplies go where they are needed at JUH.
“Ketlie is very flexible, hardworking, and responsible,” Dominique said. “She is willing to learn and share her knowledge with others—there was a time when she educated the stock manager when she was an assistant. She is a valuable member of the Konbit Sante team.”