Haitian Child

Haitian Child

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thank you Health Partners International of Canada

Last Friday I was networking online, trying to find medical supplies to take to Nicaragua, and I discovered Health Partners International of  Canada. 


HPI Canada was established as a not-for-profit relief and development organization in 1990. During 2010, HPI Canada provided over a million treatments in 75 countries. 

HPI Canada prepares a container of common medications and supplies that are useful for medical trips to countries where physicians and medications are in short supply. The generic container is not focused on paediatric care and is therefore not useful for my purposes, but there was a form for "Special Physician Requests." Supplied medications are donated by pharmaceutical companies who partner with HPI Canada. Physicians are requested to donate a modest percent of the wholesale cost. Definitely a win-win solution all around! 

Paperwork, I thought. Probably take forever. Rather than just fill out a form and send the information into cyberspace, I phoned and was put through to Ms. Martha Florez, Manager of Physician Programs for HPI Canada. Ms. Florez was incredibly helpful. She acknowledged that approving a special request in time for my trip in three weeks was a long shot, but she advised that if I got the paperwork to her, she would do her best.  

I spent the next three hours working on the paper. The time consuming part was estimating medication needs for the trip. I had the data about expected diseases (see my November 29, 2011 blog) but I needed to determine how many bottles of the pediatric formulation of each medication would be needed. I looked up each formulation online, calculated dosages based on the age (weight) of the children I will see, prepared a spreadsheet, inserted my data from previous visits, and estimated the number of children I would see. I'm sure a less compulsive person would just have made a good estimate, but I decided that the time invested would help insure any HPI Canada resources would be utilized. I've seen bags, closets, and even store rooms of expired medications around the world and this is a preventable and sad waste of resources. I do not want to become part of the problem. I need to be part of the solution. 


I was working through this methodically when Ms. Florez phoned to advise that she had talked to individuals at her end and that she needed the documents by about 2 PM. HPI Canada is headquartered in Quebec with a time zone two hours ahead of Alberta and the clock was ticking. I managed to send the completed application, my medical documents, and the important list of medications just in time.  

Yesterday Ms. Florez phoned with the terrific news that she had expedited my application and obtained some of the medications on short notice.  

Thank You Health Partners International Canada and Thank You Ms. Martha Florez.  Wow!



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