|Disasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Supplement No. 4 on SUMA - Issue No. 72 (Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), 1998, 8 p.)|
The SUMA project has been underway for more than six years, and although a second phase is about to begin, many activities from Phase I will continue. These include changing behaviors and sensitizing countries and disaster managers to the need for a reliable humanitarian supply management system and placing emphasis on training of nationals. SUMA will also keep in mind the lessons learned in numerous disaster situations regarding supply management, which were used to adapt the SUMA system to user needs. Flexibility, recognition of the advantages SUMA offers. and daily practice and experience have served to make SUMA an increasingly frequent resource in other regions of the world.
As an example of this, SUMA is going to Rwanda later this year to hold a course with two important objectives. The first is to begin using a system which has already been tested in many different circumstances and which can become a global standard to strengthen national emergency management capacity. The second is to use SUMA as an integrated system for all types of supply management (before, during and after emergencies). These objectives also represent the primary direction SUMA will take in Phase II.
SUMA began as a supply management system following natural disasters in the Americas. However, in several complex emergency situations, SUMA proved just as effective This realization launched SUMA on the road becoming a global standard m humanitarian relief supply management for all types of situations.
Phase I (1992-1997) of the SUMA Project ended last year with an evaluation report supported by the governments of the Netherlands and Canada, highlighting its achievements and making recommendations to strengthen its weaknesses.
Important results were achieved in the first phase.
· The increasing interest in supply management - before, during and after disasters - from the countries in the Region is ever more evident, especially since it previously occupied a low priority in national agendas.
· International, multilateral, and bilateral agencies are now motivated and include the topic of supply management on the agenda of domestic discussions and in dealing with recipient countries.
· SUMA's efforts in training have been constant from the start, resulting in a critical mass of more than 1,700 trained users from different levels and institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean on how to use and manage the SUMA system. Thanks to experiences with SUMA, countries now identify their post-disaster needs more precisely, and donors have been better educated about humanitarian assistance in the Region.
· The evaluation also mentioned areas that require strengthening.
· The topic of supply management should be consolidated into each country's operational plans taking into account all actors: civil defense, ministries, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, etc.
· The project should expand its capabilities to include independent, self-supporting modules for warehouse management and following up on donor pledges.
· Training of groups of instructors in the countries should continue in order to ensure sustainability of the methodology.
· The scope of agencies active in SUMA should be broadened and more actors included. Particularly, the scope of the project should be expanded to cover the broad gamut of supply management.
The challenge of Phase II, financed primarily by the Government of the Netherlands, consists of using the evaluation results to improve all aspects of supply management, in which registering information is only one of several components. The methodology must also become a global standard, in coordination with the World Health Organization, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, governments and donors.
This new phase of SUMA brings with it an important change in the project's management. FUNDESUMA will assume most of the responsibility for and leadership in the technical management of this PAHO/WHO project. But, what is FUNDESUMA?