Posted in Issue 113 - May 2010 Member CountriesThe Program of Essential Medicines and Supplies (PROMESS), administered by PAHO/WHO, has been the central distributor of medicines and medical supplies throughout Haiti since 1992. The earthquake in January did not have a significant impact on the PROMESS warehouse, which continued to function and was able to perform among the less visible but most vital tasks for humanitarian assistance. PROMESS became practically the only source of medicines in the country, and experienced a sharp increase in demand for these items after the earthquake. The Haitian Minister of Health stated that “without PROMESS, there would have been a second catastrophe.”
Humanitarian aid organizations and donor countries sent tons of pharmaceuticals and non-medical supplies to Haiti to meet health needs following the earthquake. Organizing the enormous volume of supplies was a major challenge, and PROMESS was assisted by several governments, including the United States and Spain.
Four months after the earthquake, PROMESS continues to strengthen its role as the central provider of medicines and medical supplies to Haiti. It serves as the central repository of vaccines in Haiti and cooperates with UNICEF and UNFPA in storing and distributing supplies for their priority health programs. All international donations received by PROMESS are distributed at no cost to public health facilities, health clinics, and temporary health services that do not depend on international NGOs and are accredited by the Ministry of Health of Haiti.
The new PROMESS web site describes procedures for purchasing medicines and other useful information: www.paho.org/promess.