“There are critical shortages of insulin, anesthetics, specific antibiotics needed for intensive care, serums, intravenous fluids and other blood products and vaccines.”
– Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Syria
Almost 1 out of 10 Syrians has diabetes. Of these, approximately half cannot manage their condition with diet alone and require daily doses of insulin and other medicines. In recent years, Syria’s capacity to manufacture, distribute and administer diabetes medicines through its national health service has been crippled. Those supplies that are available commercially cost more than twice the average individual monthly salary. As a result, hundreds of thousands of diabetics in Syria are entirely dependent on outside organizations, most notably the World Health Organization, for the medicines they need.
SAMS plays a critical role in meeting the needs of Syrians with diabetes through its clinics, many of which are located in areas that are difficult for some aid organizations to reach. It is estimated that between 40,000 and 90,000 diabetics who need daily treatment live within few miles of a SAMS clinic. Without these clinics and the supplies and medical care they provide, these people are at high risk for the terrible consequences of untreated diabetes, including blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, amputations and death.
The Diabetes Care for Syria Project was founded in May of 2017 to ensure that SAMS has a reliable, sustainable supply of insulin and other diabetes medicines, plus the necessary syringes and test kits, so that patients can focus on caring for their families and communities instead of searching for scarce diabetes supplies.
The Project Approach
In the first phase of its multiphase approach, spanning the first 6 months of 2018, the project team is working with healthcare companies and NGOs to secure donations of the medicines (insulin, metformin and sulfonylureas) and supplies (syringes, lancets and blood glucose test kits) sufficient to meet the needs of approximately 2000 diabetics who are currently receiving regular care at a SAMS clinic. By mid 2018, we hope to secure sufficient supplies to meet the needs of an additional 2500 patients who have received a diabetes diagnosis at a SAMS clinic in 2017 but are not currently receiving regular treatment. If successful, this would raise the total number of diabetics supported to 4500 by the end of 2018, a significant expansion of SAMS’ services in this area.
If needed, the project will aim in the following months and years to secure the significantly larger donations needed to expand SAMS’ ability to provide diabetes care to the remaining tens of thousands of patients in its areas of operation.
Integrated Project Management Company (IPM) is partnering with SAMS on the Diabetes Care for Syria project. IPM will be analyzing SAMS’ supply chain and project management processes related to the Diabetes Care for Syria project and advising on strengthening these capabilities, help review healthcare companies and NGOs for potential SAMS donors and partners, and develop a project plan to secure sustainable access to medicines and supplies. IPM is a project management consulting firm focused on planning and implementing strategically critical projects in the life sciences, healthcare, consumer products, and industrial sectors.