Managing Medical In-Kind Donations
The conference room at the Galleria Hotel in Jnah was alive with chatter as the participants of the Medical In-Kind Project Capacity Building Initiative workshop enthusiastically shared ideas and asked questions in a collaborative environment. It was clear that those in attendance were taking the opportunity to add value to their operations so their patients would get better health care.
“I am so pleased that ANERA is conducting this workshop,” said Nada Saayfan of the Mother and Child Society, one of many organizations in Lebanon that receive medical supplies from ANERA’s Medical In-Kind Program.
Since 2003, ANERA has been providing in-kind donations to impoverished and marginalized Lebanese and Palestinian communities through its local partners, the YMCA and the Health Care Society (HCS). A 2008 program appraisal identified the need to raise awareness about the smart use of medicine and to help improve the management and handling of medicines and supplies, to provide a better service to their patients.
“We want to create a common language among our network of recipients who receive medical donations through our partner, Health Care Society,” says Dima Zayat, ANERA’s coordinator of the in-kind program in Lebanon. “Based on the questions raised at the beginning of the workshop, you could tell that each organization had a different way of handling donations and understanding procedures."
The two-day interactive workshop included rounds of discussions, presentations and practical exercises for the 17 participants, representing nine HCS recipient organizations. Participants were a bit skeptical at the beginning of the session but later showed a willingness to express their capabilities and limitations. They also voiced appreciation for the opportunity to learn how to improve their professional knowledge.
“I feel I have greatly expanded my understanding of medication-handling standards as well as the distribution process,” said Insaf Issa from PARD, a recipient organization active in the Palestinian camps.
The workshop is the first phase of ANERA’s two-part initiative in partnership with HCS that will span several months. Site visits will follow to support partner organizations and to ensure that best practices shared during the workshop are being implemented.
“We hope this positive atmosphere of collaboration will continue to deliver quality services to our community,” said Bahija Mayassi, Director of Health Care Society. "As much as the workshop was successful, in my opinion, it is just a starting point...the capacity-building activities aim at enhancing our ways of handling medical in-kind donations in a way that shifts the program away from being merely charity-oriented to a more responsible development-oriented approach.”
In FY 2010, ANERA was able to deliver over $13 million of donated medicine to impoverished and marginalized communities in Lebanon, thanks to its donors like AmeriCares, Direct Relief International (DRI), International Health Partners (IHP) and Globus Relief, and its partners in Lebanon, the YMCA and HCS.