Virginia based nonprofit creates medical unit in Haiti

Cold chain facility only one of its kind in northern Haiti

CLARKE COUNTY, Va. - "Haiti is one instance where we're making a difference. Can we change the whole world? Certainly not, there's not enough monetary resources to do that, but we can touch places," said Chuck Clark, Project HOPE senior distribution manager.

Project HOPE is a global health organization based in Clarke County. It recently created what's called a cold chain facility in Haiti, the only one of its kind in the northern part of the country.

The facility is helping more people get access to much needed medicines and vaccines.

"It is refrigerated storage and capability to move it to hospitals, and in users of refrigerated vaccines," Clark said.

Project HOPE partnered with other companies to make this possible.

"In Haiti's health system, it's been missing a temperature controlled cold chain system, and this has made it difficult to distribute donations - all the aid that's come in since the earthquake in 2010,” said Eric King, cluster head for pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline - Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and North Caribbean.

Since vaccines and some medicine have to be temperature controlled, there's an alarm system set up at the cold chain facility in Haiti, which allows workers to know whether or not the temperature gets out of range.

"We don't want a vaccine to be administered to a patient that has fallen out of those prescribed temperature levels, so that's what the cold chain facility is about," Clark said.

Project HOPE said the facility is about the size of 50 standard refrigerators.

It enhances the life of the thousands of vaccines and medicine inside, enabling health care professionals to travel to more remote locations and serve more patients.

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