Supply Chain Partnership Fights Cholera

Jan. 4, 2011
A network of organizations has teamed up to battle the impact of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. A shipment of medical supplies arrived in Haiti last month thanks to a joint effort by the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), Apria Healthcare’s Coram Specialty Infusion Services division and AEROBridge.

ALAN, a non-profit organization that engages the supply chain community for humanitarian relief efforts, was first alerted to the escalating need for medical supplies by AEROBridge, a group of aviation specialists who coordinate emergency aviation response during disasters. The most critical supplies were IVs and sterile dressings required to help address the problem of dehydration, a key challenge of cholera.

AEROBridge was willing to provide transportation for supplies but needed to tap ALAN’s network of corporations and associations to find a donor for the supplies. ALAN immediately alerted its members of the need and identified Apria Healthcare as a potential provider. Coram, the specialty infusion services division of national home healthcare provider Apria Healthcare, rallied its branch offices and quickly collected more than 100 boxes of the necessary items from more than 70 locations around the United States – most within 24 hours of the initial request.

With supplies coming from so many locations, AEROBridge arranged for a consolidator to ship the most critical supplies by air and the remainder to be delivered by a cruise ship headed for Haiti. The supplies were delivered to the Cap Haitien Health Network and Partners in Health, an international organization, for distribution.

“Every link in the chain is important,” said Kathy Fulton, director of operations for ALAN. “Effective disaster relief requires that you have established trusted relationships before you need to ask for help. The connections among our organizations ensured that we were able to provide the necessary supplies in a timely and efficient manner.”

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