PQMD Members Aid Nepal Earthquake Victims
The membership of Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD), a global alliance leading the development and championing of high standards in medical supply and service donations, is committed to working in collaboration with other organizations whose focus is to ensure a coordinated response to disasters.
On April 25 2015 a devastating earthquake ripped through the South Central Asian country Nepal. It was at a magnitude of 7.8 and its epicenter was the district of Lamjung. It killed more than 8,800, injured more than 23,000, and affected more than 8 million people. A second 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit a few weeks later, killing and injuring more. It was the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake.
The disasters created a situation where hospitals were in critical need of medical resources; district hospitals and other health facilities were crippled, and the already week health infrastructure was stressed and stretched to the limits, almost immediately. The population was in need of urgent medical support, supplies, and equipment to help those with injuries sustained in the earthquakes. In addition, there were equally urgent needs of a massively displaced population at high risk of other communicable diseases, due to exposure, and lack of clean water. PQMD members, through well-established partnerships and collaborations, were able to contribute to the disaster response by fielding teams that were on the ground within days of the tragedy, bringing teams of doctors, donated medical supplies, hygiene kits, and equipment from companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Astra, and Pfizer which were quickly distributed throughout the country.
Since those initial challenging days, PQMD members and their partners have been implementing relief efforts. Several of the organizations have had long standing offices and operations in Nepal and countries nearby, making the response time very short, and having the opportunity to make significant impact during the early days of the crisis. In addition, many of the corporate members have made major amounts of cash available to distressed areas, dispersing it through partner NGOs and organizations on the ground, working directly with the most affected.
Direct Relief, Heart to Heart, and Water Missions International in partnership, airlifted 118,771 pounds of medical materials to Nepal. The materials are equivalent to 6.2 million daily doses of medications. Direct Relief additionally purchased $260,000 worth of medical materials in India through Doctors for You that were then sent to Kathmandu, Nepal. They also procured safe birth kits from a company in India to deliver to hardest hit areas.
AmeriCares and World Vision have been heavily involved in response activities. AmeriCares sent out an early response team consisting of aid workers and experts to survey the situation and bring supplies to the most remote and difficult to reach areas. They arrived with medicines and supplies within 48 hours of the earthquake. World Vision, distributed thousands of sheets, blankets, and food items to affected families. A number of their aircrafts successfully landed in districts with tarps, blankets, hygiene kits, tents, and other critical supplies.
International Medical Corps has been working with the Ministry of Health in Nepal to identify what is needed. They have established and are operating mobile medical units in hard-hit districts, and are continually expanding such units to other affected areas. Resources have been allocated toward the mobile medical units to ensure that there are working staff, tools, and medication to treat patients. The threat of waterborne diseases has become a major concern. Hence, International Medical Corps have mobilized to deploy hygiene promotion and distribution campaigns in order to keep families healthy and prevent the spread of communicable diseases. In addition to mobilizing medical supplies to provide care for 30,000 people for three months, they have also built 300 emergency latrines to provide access to safe sanitation for 6650 people. Looking towards the longer term, IMC teams have also provided training and capacity building for health workers.
PQMD member organizations have responded fast and expansively in the wake of the disaster. They are continuously pushing forth efforts to ensure that the effects of the tragedy do not claim any more lives and to help those who have survived overcome the great challenges that exist. Many members of PQMD are committed to continuing to provide support as needed, and expect to remain in Nepal for many years to come.