Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shipping Containers Transformed Into Haiti Medical Facility

Logistics Group Damco Provide Free Services for Earthquake Relief
Shipping News Feature

HAITI – We have covered in the past some of the amazing uses to which the ubiquitous standard TEU shipping container has been put and also commented recently on the lengths to which shipping lines and various logistics agencies have cooperated to bring aid to this stricken region. Here however is a story which neatly combines the two.

An organisation called Containers to Clinics (C2C) has developed a new clinical model for health service delivery. C2C retrofits shipping containers into health clinics with high-quality equipment, medicines, and medical staff and arranges to transport them to underserved areas of the developing world to administer primary healthcare to women and children. C2C’s clinics are designed with diagnostic, lighting, and climate-control technologies appropriate for low-resource settings and reflect local cultural traditions and health education needs.

Now, partnered by logistics group Damco, who provided all overland and sea shipment of the C2C unit to Haiti and Stack Design Build who manufactured the containers-turned-clinic in Cranston, Rhode Island, two recycled shipping containers modified into a two-exam room, pharmacy, and laboratory facility, have been delivered to the Grace Children’s Hospital on the island.

The clinic was transported by tilt-bed truck to Brooklyn, New York, where it left port aboard the Maas Trader 46 on June 9 bound for Port-au-Prince. The clinic arrived in Port-au-Prince on June 14, and after clearing customs by consignment to USAID:Haiti, it made a last, overland trip to the Hospital grounds.

The Damco-C2C partnership highlights the unique value of using shipping containers as health facilities. “Damco is pleased to be able to partner with Containers to Clinics in delivering these much-needed shipping container health clinics to the people of Haiti. We thank them for the opportunity to assist in this worthy initiative,” said Todd Renehan, Chief Commercial Officer for Damco, North America.

"This partnership is a terrific example of two organisations sharing similar principles of mission including innovation, sustainability and essential human rights,” explained Elizabeth Sheehan, Founder and President of C2C. “By providing pro bono shipping of container clinics, Damco exports the opportunity for better health to the women and children of Port-au-Prince.”

Prior to the earthquake on January 12, Haiti had the worst maternal and infant mortality and morbidity ratios in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake exacerbated these challenges to health service access; with destroyed health facilities, loss of productivity, food insecurity, and extreme water and sanitation challenges, the health situation is at the tipping point from bad to worse. The recovery of the health sector will depend heavily on the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and the establishment of replacement and auxiliary health centres throughout the country.

Photo: Inside the new C2C facility