MILLWOOD, Va., April 7, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Project HOPE, the global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, today announced the development of a cold chain facility at Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Milot, the only one of its kind in northern Haiti, to ensure that critical medicines, vaccines and supplies can reach those in need.
The recently-installed cold chain facility includes a refrigeration unit, compressor and other equipment required to maintain a constant temperature of between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius to store thousands of vaccines and medicines. The cold chain ensures vaccine potency, quality and safety from the time the vaccine is manufactured until the time it is administered to patients. The cold chain facility is also a cost effective measure which enhances the life of the vaccine, thereby enabling vaccinators to travel to remote locations to vaccinate people who otherwise cannot travel to the hospital for vaccinations.
The USD$ 80,000 cold chain project was funded by GSK, the global science-led global healthcare company, and included a 200kW generator for Hôpital Sacré-Coeur. The Crudem Foundation, a medical NGO that provides quality health care at the hospital and to the people of northern Haiti, helped develop this project.
Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Milot serves the northern and central regions of Haiti, where multiple cholera and other outbreaks have killed thousands and made hundreds of thousands ill since the earthquake in 2010. Hôpital Sacré-Coeur's patients include indigenous populations who traditionally migrate during natural disasters and disease outbreaks.
"Haiti's medical needs are vast and the temperature-controlled cold chain facility will not only serve patients at Hôpital Sacré-Coeur but others in remote medical treatment facilities in the region," said Tom Kenyon, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Project HOPE.
Repeated cholera outbreaks are a present an on-going challenge in Haiti. Since 2010, Project HOPE has sent medical volunteers to train and assist local health care professionals in areas affected by cholera and continues to monitor the risk of cholera in the event a hurricane or tropical storms threatens Haiti.
"At GSK we are committed to help countries and communities in need to improve opportunities for patients, especially those at risk of cholera and other disease outbreaks, to gain better access to lifesaving vaccines. The cold chain facility will contribute to this cause in times of crisis and beyond," said Eric King, GSK Country Manager for Haiti.
Project HOPE distributed more than $60 million of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Haiti and along the border in the Dominican Republic within the year following the earthquake. The NGO specializes in building long-term capacity after the initial shock of manmade or natural disasters has passed and has left a rich legacy of health infrastructure around the world, helping to establish hospitals and clinics, train health care professionals and assess needs in places as diverse as China and Iraq. Medical volunteers from Project HOPE cared for patients in Haiti last year during a humanitarian mission aboard the USNS Comfort, the U.S. Navy hospital ship. The six-month mission, known as Continuing Promise 2015, provided medical and dental care and health care education to communities in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solution to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world's first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our website projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg.
GSK IS one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com
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Source: Project HOPE