When discussing challenges to clinical care with Haitian clinicians, most state that the lack of appropriate supplies is a constant frustration. Through the years, Konbit Sante has shifted from a “push” approach (sending supplies that we thought would be most needed) to a “pull” approach (sending only supplies that are specifically identified as needed and requested by our partners). We also assist with strengthening supply chain management systems to ensure that the supplies reach the patients in need.
At least once per year, we pack a 40-foot container of requested medical equipment, supplies, and furniture at our Maine warehouse and ship to Cap-Haitien. Each container costs about $10,000 to ship. The contents of each container are varied, but are typically valued at $150,000 to $200,000. The Konbit Sante administrator in our Cap-Haitien office handles the logistics of getting the containers through customs, and ensures they reach their intended destinations. Click here for a current list of needed materials and equipment.
We act as intermediaries for other groups that generously donate equipment and life-saving medicines by helping them clear customs and distribute the supplies. For example, in 2018, we facilitated the delivery of 150 wheelchairs from the Walkabout Foundation to children with special needs in Quartier Morin and Port-au-Prince. We also coordinated shipments of medicines from Direct Relief International and hospital supplies from Hope International Canada for all of our partner facilities.
Konbit Sante facilitates travel of technicians and engineers who train Haitian staff on the use of equipment and make repairs as needed. We also provide training and technical assistance to Ministry of Health biotechnicians to ensure that essential medical equipment stays in service as long as possible. This includes procurement for repair parts that are not available in Haiti.
Konbit Sante works with our partner facilities to strengthen inventory systems. For example, at the JUH pediatric service, we have identified a list of the most essential medicines and supplies that need to be available 24/7, and have committed to ensuring they are always there. We also support the salary of a supply manager for the service.