Haiti: Supply Chain Management System Empowers Local Hospital to Save Lives

 {Photo credit: SCMS}SCMS staff provides technical assistance to head of pharmacy at Hôpital Bernard Mevs in Haiti.Photo credit: SCMS

Hôpital Bernard Mevs is one of 177 sites where the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS), a US President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded project, delivers lifesaving HIV & AIDS drugs and commodities in Haiti. On any given day, dozens of the more than 1,070 patients currently on antiretroviral treatment (ART) at the hospital wait outside the pharmacy’s door where Rose-Marie Marcelin dispenses their monthly supply of medication.

Running this pharmacy is hard work. Rose-Marie, a trained nurse, has been head of the hospital’s pharmacy since 2008. She dispenses medication to between 50 and 70 patients daily, so it is important that the pharmacy run smoothly. She smiles with pride:

After my training with SCMS, I’ve been able to manage my stock very effectively. I apply the first in, first out method and it works. We’ve had no expiries or stockouts at the pharmacy since.

No expiries mean that funds aren’t wasted, and no stockouts mean that patients are not turned away. It also means an improved quality of life for Rose-Marie’s patients and their loved ones.

States Dr. Marlon Bitar, co-director at Hôpital Bernard Mevs:

Without USAID, there would not be an HIV & AIDS program. As simple as that.

He and his twin brother Jerry Bitar, wellknown in the community for their philanthropic work, run the hospital which is located in one of the poorest communities in Port-au-Prince.

SCMS has been our only source of ARVs since 2006 and without it, we could not survive.

SCMS also provided the hospital’s lab with a Reflotron machine, in response to the MOH’s national objective to upgrade laboratories and provide better care to HIV patients. The Reflotron is an automated chemistry analyzer that monitors the patient’s liver and kidney functions to ensure they are not compromised by ARV treatment, therefore helping doctors make critical decisions about a patient’s treatment.

As the only supply chain system in Haiti for HIV, SCMS provides ARV and opportunistic infection drugs, rapid test kits, lab equipment and commodities to testing and treatment sites like this hospital throughout the island’s 10 geographical departments, reaching many hard to access places.

The funds made available by the US Government through US Agency for International Development (USAID) and PEPFAR, which has funded SCMS in Haiti since March 2006, have helped Haiti make great strides in combatting the AIDS pandemic. Eight years later, SCMS has purchased over $74.5 million in lifesaving commodities for Haiti.

As a result of this investment, treatment is no longer a privilege that only a few can afford. From October 2013 to September 2014, with PEPFAR and SCMS’s help, nearly one million Haitians were tested for HIV and as of September 2014, over 43,000 individuals living with AIDS are on antiretroviral treatment.

Supply Chain Management System (SCMS), established in 2005, supplies lifesaving medicines to HIV & AIDS programs around the world and is led by the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), a nonprofit organization established by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and John Snow, Inc. MSH manages SCMS operations in Haiti.

This story originally appeared on the SCMS website in PDF format.