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Global Health Thought Leadership

MedShare Disaster Relief – Support for Haiti Continues

By Charles Redding, CEO & President

On August 14, 2021, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck western Haiti causing over 1400 casualties, 6900 injuries and widespread disaster. MedShare, along with other humanitarian aid organizations, are actively responding to this disaster to once again provide critical medical aid to victims and health workers.

When natural disasters strike vulnerable areas around the world, MedShare is poised to respond quickly and effectively. We are in a unique position to equip first responders in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster and partner with local institutions and government agencies to support long-term recovery and rebuild capacity.

Many areas, like Haiti, affected by natural disasters already have difficulty reaching patients in rural locations. The limited infrastructure that was once in place no longer functions properly and creates bottlenecks for humanitarian aid delivery. MedShare is adept at overcoming these obstacles and continues to work with partners in Haiti to provide critical medical supplies and equipment during the rescue, recovery and rebuild phases. 

MedShare was also there for Haiti in 2010, when another powerful earthquake struck and killed up to 300,000 people. Despite a massive international relief effort the country was all but overwhelmed and has never fully recovered from this tragic episode.  We ramped up our relief efforts for Haiti once again in 2016, when Hurricane Matthew killed more than 850 people and left tens of thousands of people homeless.  All of this has happened on top of the economic and political instability the country continues to face.

Humanitarian Aid to Haiti 

  • Between 2000 and 2021 MedShare supported over 1.7 million patients by distributing 137 shipments of critical medical supplies and equipment to Haiti.  
  • MedShare has provisioned Haiti with over $16 million in medical supplies and equipment.
  • MedShare has shipped over 13 million pounds in medical supplies and equipment to Haiti, including 8 shipments of high-quality hospital beds. 

In the moments following a disaster, high on the priority list are food, shelter, medical care and clothing. MedShare’s Disaster Relief Program focuses on:

  • Communicating directly with our in-country NGO partners, hospitals and clinics to determine their needs
  • Sourcing immediate needs from our product supply partners
  • Coordinating and expediting shipments of critical supplies with our logistics partners
  • Provisioning medical mission team volunteers as they travel to the region to provide aid
  • Continuing support after the initial response to aid in rebuilding health systems in areas devastated by disaster

One of MedShare’s key partners, Hope for Haiti, is located in Les Cayes near where the recent earthquake struck, and was also significantly impacted during Hurricane Matthew. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life of the Haitian people, particularly children. During Hurricane Matthew, we partnered with Hope for Haiti to provide healing to thousands of Haitians impacted by the hurricane.

The city of Les Cayes’ premier rehabilitation center, FONTEN has been a longtime partner of Hope for Haiti and recipient of MedShare’s humanitarian aid donations. Patients that require intensive rehabilitation and long-term, one-on-one care are referred to this hospital. After Hurricane Matthew hit, FONTEN’s need for wound care items was high. Many people were wounded from flying debris, or were injured after the winds stopped from all of the hazardous debris laying around. 

For many Haitians, like little Samuel and his mother (right), FONTEN was one of the only facilities that would serve them after Hurricane Matthew. Samuel needed regular therapy and was normally seen at the hospital near his home in Port Salut, about 45 minutes from Les Cayes. With damage from Hurricane Matthew, he needed to find a new healthcare facility. When Hope for Haiti spoke with his mother, it was their first time at FONTEN. Because of donated items like wound care items, commodes, and crutches from MedShare, the hospital staff were able to serve more patients like Samuel. Commodes were especially in high demand as many homes and sanitation blocks were destroyed. 

“Thanks to MedShare donations, the center had enough materials to meet the critical needs of patients.” – Hope for Haiti

Between 2010 – 2020, MedShare has responded to over 14 disasters across 19 countries, serving over 1.9 million patients with $15.5 million dollars in aid, thanks to the generous support of our partners and donors. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic MedShare has delivered over 6 million units of PPE to over 240 medical institutions across 10 countries, including the U.S.  

If you would like to volunteer to support our current Haiti relief efforts or donate to our Disaster Relief Program, please visit www.medshare.org.

 

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