As a small, 100% volunteer run organization, ORC is always challenged with time and resources. We are committed to utilizing the highest quality medications and supplies for our patients. In 2014, we were extremely lucky to be referred to and to receive the support of Health Partners International Canada (HPIC).
HPIC acts an intermediary between pharmaceutical companies who wish to donate products in kind to charitable organizations and those organizations who wish to receive these products.
Here is the official description from HPIC:
“Healthcare professionals serving as volunteers in the developing world sometimes require a very particular supply of medicines for the purpose of their medical mission or in response to particular needs in the field. In response to requests from these professionals, HPIC will attempt to procure the medicines and medical supplies to meet their needs.”
BUT….to ORC, HPIC is a bit like Santa Claus. Here is how it worked for us:
Step1: We write to Santa Claus (aka HPIC) outlining our history and our work as a good provider of free surgery AND we send our wishlist of medications and supplies. This is known as the “SPR – Special Physician Request”.
Step 2: “Santa Claus” decided that we made his list and assigned us a Super Elf by the name of Maryanne Mutch, Executive Director, Programs. Maryanne took her work very seriously and immediately contacted Doreen Lore, our Mission Coordinator for Cambodia 2014. Maryanne wanted to ensure that ORC receives the products that our team needs to carry out our work. Since sometimes a certain product is not available but there might be an equivalent substitute, she did the extra research and called Doreen to see if the solution is acceptable. The back and forth went on for a few months; sometimes with daily phone calls. Maryanne always made sure that all avenues were exhausted before Doreen had to order and pay for the supplies that were unavailable from the pharmaceutical partners of HPIC. This level of service is exceptional in any organization.
Step 3: In January, a month before our trip, Andrew Jones, Manager, Distribution Logistics from HPIC, contacted us to say that our supplies are on their way. We were so impressed by his efficiency. Check out this email excerpt: “This email is to inform you that the Special Physician Request (SPR #) you requested left our Mississauga this afternoon. You should expect your SPR to be delivered to your location by 5:00 PM on 1/23/2014. If you would like to track your shipment, you may either go online at www.sameday.ca or call our courier at 1-877-SAMEDAY. Your tracking numbers are SMI XXXXX. Please note that there is a brown envelope attached to the side of one of the boxes that contains copies of all necessary documents. The Confirmation of Safe Arrival form and the Project Report have been attached to this email for you to fill out and send back to us via email.”
The “Great Reveal”
The team gathered on a cold Sunday for of Anesthesia inventory and packing. All the boxes were lined up. We were all giggling like kids and couldn’t decide which box to open first. Finally Dr. Bob made an executive decision and everyone delved in. The most delightful unexpected bonus were these beautifully knitted dolls that laid on top of each box. They were the Izzy Dolls that are knitted by volunteers all over Canada to commemorate Master Corporal Mark Isfeld. At that point, HPIC’s awesomeness just went up another notch.
Thanks Maryanne, Andrew and everyone at HPIC for all your help! We really appreciate all your work in providing us with $10,000 worth of medications and supplies. Look forward to working with you on our future missions.