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Tara, Honduras

Responding to Medical Supply Emergency in Honduras

  • June 23, 2014
  • Access to Medicines, Newsroom, Latin America and Caribbean

In May 2014, AmeriCares responded to an emergency in Honduras with an air shipment of laboratory supplies. Through our partner in Honduras, the shipment of more than 400,000 units of supplies was delivered to the Honduran Institute of Social Security, which provides health care services to pensioners and working families throughout Honduras. The shipment is providing three months of diagnostic services for the institute’s patients. Without the shipment, thousands of Hondurans would not get the tests and diagnoses they need.

The emergency came about after the Honduran government investigated the institute’s board of directors, which had been accused of financial mismanagement. The government froze the institute’s bidding and procurement operations, resulting in empty supply shelves in medical laboratories.

“It was very difficult to tell our patients we cannot do exams because we have no supplies. These patients had probably been waiting since 4 a.m. for an appointment and each day we had to tell them we could not provide these services for which they depend on us,” says the Central Laboratory’s director, Dr. Rosibel Colindres, describing the situation before AmeriCares delivery. Seeing the crisis, the government contacted AmeriCares and its Honduran partner, the Honduran Order of Malta, for emergency medical aid.

AmeriCares immediately contacted the medical technology company BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), which has partnered with AmeriCares since 1986. BD allowed the institute to select laboratory supplies directly from their catalog free of charge; the supplies included syringes, blood collection tubes and antibiotic sensitivity discs. AmeriCares then air-shipped the supplies to Honduras. AmeriCares has been working in Honduras since 1986, supplying public and charitable hospitals and clinics with medicines and supplies.