ATLANTA, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- When a 7.0-magnitude earthquake reduced major parts of Haiti to rubble, members of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD), a humanitarian alliance, rallied to provide vital medical supplies and life-saving medicines to victims. Now, six months after one of the world's worst natural disasters, they are encouraging relief organizations across the globe to commit to Haiti's full recovery.
Within three days of the Jan. 12 disaster, PQMD member organizations had already pledged $15.5 million in cash and medical products to support relief efforts reaching hundreds of thousands of Haitians. Six months later, the contribution level has quadrupled to more than $66 million. With more than one million people still living in makeshift tent cities, and the Atlantic hurricane season threatening the impoverished country with another potential natural disaster, PQMD members say ongoing aid is crucial to Haiti's recovery.
"There has been such an outpouring of support from both our corporate and non-profit member organizations in response to the Haiti catastrophe," said Lori Warrens, PQMD's Executive Director. "Thanks to the commitment of humanitarian organizations and the compassion of their health care volunteers who donated their time administering medicine and supplies, we have helped provide essential medical care to people who might not otherwise have access."
According to the Business Civic Leadership Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, approximately $147.8 million in corporate-driven aid has been donated to benefit Haiti relief efforts. Of that amount, 45 percent is from PQMD members.
The worst natural disaster to hit the Western hemisphere in 200 years, the recent earthquake claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Haitians and injured more than 300,000, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Only hours after the event, PQMD's corporate and non-profit members were on the phone with each other to identify essential medical supplies and equipment and determine who would deliver and administer the products. One member, for example, supplied hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of orthopedic supplies provided for the unprecedented number of crush injuries, while another helped fund emergency response units, blankets, clean water, temporary shelter and medical supplies. A different company sent oral and topical antibiotics, while another shipped hygiene kits.
Corporate donations often rise to the occasion following disasters like Haiti, but a lack of coordination can hinder the relief efforts. The alliance, however, has been able to avoid these issues by adopting strict donation guidelines and adhering to high standards in the delivery of medical products to underserved populations and disaster victims across the globe. These standards help ensure that all medical supplies are relevant to local disease patterns, packaged and labeled properly, and, on arrival, bear at least a one-year shelf life. From surgical packs to syringes, pediatric fluids, IV catheters, diuretics, antimicrobial scrub brushes and vaccines, PQMD's donations are helping rebuild Haiti's nearly decimated medical infrastructure.
"Our members are often first responders when disaster strikes," said Myron Aldrink, chair of PQMD and executive director, Western Michigan office of Medical Teams International. "By having the right medical supplies in the right place, administered by the right people, we have helped to alleviate some of the suffering and, ultimately, saved thousands of lives."
Haitian officials say PQMD member organizations have played a key role in the nation's relief efforts the past six months, particularly when it comes to providing necessary medical equipment and educating local health care providers. One member alone helped conduct inventory on 60 percent of Haiti's medical equipment and will provide training to develop in-country biomedical technicians.
Still, the earthquake has taken a heavy toll on the nation's population, the majority of who live on less than $2 per day. Government leaders and PQMD member organizations warn that hundreds of thousands of people are still at risk from major health complications related to living in camps and other substandard conditions around the country. In addition, many of the longer-term recovery and reconstruction programs are only just beginning to take effect.
"It's important to remember that the road to recovery will be long," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses. "There will need to be ongoing assistance from international donors to help meet the massive humanitarian health needs that continue to exist."
For individuals and corporations who want to give, PQMD recommends donors look for an organization with pharmacological experience, established relationships with government officials or non-governmental organizations and a strong field presence. To access the full PQMD Donor Guide, and for information detailing where PQMD member donations have been sent and how they are being used, as well as case studies detailing PQMD members' relief assistance in Haiti, visit http://www.pqmd.org.
Formed in 1996, the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) is a humanitarian alliance of manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, as well as non-profit charitable organizations working in developing countries. PQMD members are committed to raising medical donation standards, promoting effective donation practices and informing policy makers and the general public on the donation process. PQMD Donation Guidelines, education programs, research and partnerships are advancing quality medical donations worldwide. For more information about PQMD, visit www.pqmd.org.
PQMD Membership: Abbott, Alcon, AmeriCares, Baxter, BD, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Catholic Medical Mission Board, Direct Relief International, Eli Lilly and Company, Genzyme, GlaxoSmithKline, Heart to Heart International, Hospira, Inc., IMA World Health, International Medical Corps, Johnson & Johnson, MAP International, Medical Teams International, MediSend International, Merck & Co, Inc., Mercy Ships, National Cancer Coalition, Pfizer Inc., Project HOPE, Sanofi-aventis US, Tulipe, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and World Vision.
SOURCE Partnership for Quality Medical Donations