Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on October 7, 2013

Labels: Kosovo, Macedonia , Humanitarian Aid, Health Systems Strengthening

Dr. Howe speaks with staff members at the Intensive Care Unit at the University Clinical Center where HOPE's SMRP provides critcally needed medicines.

Thanks to our generous partners, Project HOPE has been providing donated medicines to people in need since our founding in 1958. I ended my visit to our program sites in Eastern Europe in Macedonia, a country where HOPE’s Strategic Medical Resupply Program (SMRP) is helping health systems leverage donated medicines to go even further in bettering the health of those in need. 

In 2007, Macedonia became the first site for HOPE’s growing SMRP. The program is simple. HOPE supplies critically needed donated medicines to health facilities in country.  The participating institutions use the donated medications to treat patients, allowing the Ministries of Health to redirect resources they would have used to purchase medication to help build a sustainable health care infrastructure throughout the country. Project HOPE also provides training and stringent monitoring of donations throughout the distribution process. 

The success of this now multi-country program is evident:

  • Close to 80 hospitals and university clinics participate in the SMRP
  • More than 1,000,000 patients have been treated through the SMRP
  • More than $70M in value has been delivered through the program to date
  • More than $40M in value delivered to Macedonia alone

Building on the basis created with the successful Strategic Medical Resupply Program, Project HOPE has also developed a platform to deploy world renowned medical professionals to provide training and mentorship to strengthen capacity and improve medical best practices.

Dr. Howe at the University Clinic of Pediatrics in Macedonia.

We witnessed health education in progress at the Pediatrics Clinic, the only tertiary hospital for children in the country, were we met HOPE volunteer, Dr. Jennifer Mbuthia. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army, Dr. Mbuthia is on her third volunteer mission for Project HOPE, treating patients at the Pediatric clinic and also helping to design a course for the University Pediatric Clinic Skopje. It is so inspiring to meet with health care professionals like Dr. Mbuthia, who give up their precious vacation time to provide better health opportunities for people in need.  

With all the success we witnessed in HOPE programs in Poland, Kosovo and Macedonia, there is still need for health care support. I met with many of the countries’ top leaders during my visit and their messages were clear. Project HOPE’s support is appreciated and has been essential in bettering the health care system for the people of Eastern Europe. Our continuing support in providing donated medicines, as well as expert training for health care professionals and hospital administrators will go a long way in building a self-sufficient system that can provide better care for all.

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