Adapted from "Redacción Médica" (25 April 2016)

Currently volunteers are being trained to operate the tool

Dra. Gina Tambini, PAHO/WHO Representative in Ecuador.The Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) trained volunteers in the classification and identification of medicines that are arriving at the area affected by the earthquake, as well as in the use of the LSS/SUMA (Humanitarian Supply Management System) software.

The software monitors the arrival, classification, distribution, stock control, and deliveries of supplies and medicines. It is also used to record information from national and international donations so that donors are aware that their shipments arrived.

WHO supported the Ministry of Public Health (MPH) of Ecuador in organizing collection centers and distributing medicines and medical supplies donated for the care of those affected by the earthquake of 16 April.

Logistics experts of this international health agency collaborated with the authorities of the Medicines Office in the implementation of a system to send medicines in an orderly and efficient manner to health facilities in areas affected by the earthquake.

Gina Tambini, PAHO/WHO Representative in Ecuador, said that arriving quickly with medicines and the necessary supplies to the most affected areas is vital in responding to this emergency. "The system that the MPH is setting up, with support from PAHO, will allow the management of drug donations in an orderly and efficient manner, so that they are distributed to the health services that need it most," she explained.

So far, the LSS/SUMA comprehensive system has been installed in two medicine collection centers: one in Manta, one of the cities most affected by the earthquake, and the other is in Quito.

The Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) and the Ecu911 Coordination Office-at its humanitarian aid and supply management unit-are also using it. The Ecuadorian health authorities are able to know what drugs are available and assign priorities according to the needs of those affected by the quake.

The government of Spain as well as Ecuadorian agencies and businesses, among others, have donated medicines and medical supplies. To date, a number of medicines and medical supplies that are on the list of 150 essential medicines and medical supplies, established by the MPH, have been received. To ensure response to the most urgent needs, only those items on the list are accepted as gifts, and based on their expiration date.

Coordination

A day after the collection center in Quito was set up, on 21 April, Natalia Rosales, in charge of the operation, from the National Office for Medicines and Medical Devices, along with Alejandro Santander, PAHO's Subregional Advisor for Emergencies and Disasters, supervised the shipment of trucks with medicines to the most affected provinces, and verified the functioning of SUMA. The center is operated by technicians from the Ministry of Public Health.

LSS/SUMA is a very useful tool for countries that want a proper and transparent handling of relief operations and proper management of medicines. medication management. It can also be used to maintain control of donations of building, search and rescue, and shelter materials, food, personal needs, and others.