Published:
12/15/2016

When Project C.U.R.E.'s much-needed medical supplies and equipment arrive in Liberia, the Frederick National Lab’s Kathryn Kynvin is there to receive and distribute the donations to hospitals who continue to treat survivors of the most recent Ebola epidemic.

Project C.U.R.E., short for the Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment, has committed to sending seven, 40-foot cargo containers to Liberia on behalf of the Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia (PREVAIL).

Kynvin, a clinical program manager at the Frederick National Lab, is part of a collaborative effort between Project C.U.R.E., the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that began early this year to help hospitals and patients in Liberia, West Africa, following the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic. The Frederick National Lab is supporting NIAID in the combined effort.

All seven of Project C.U.R.E.'s cargo containers have been sent. Five have already been unloaded and distributed, with two more to go.

The Frederick National Lab is covering the shipping costs of the containers through NIAID’s support, as well as managing the receiving and distributing logistics. The lab arranged for shipments from the United States to Liberia, cleared the donations with transportation authorities, located secure and sufficient warehouse space, and matched the donations with facility needs.

As the shipping containers arrived, PREVAIL team members and Ebola survivors worked together to receive, unpack, sort, and distribute the donations. In addition to Kynvin, other national lab staff assisting with the offloading include Martin Edeline, Patricia Boison, Nikki Gettinger, Nadeeka Randunu, Jestina Doe-Anderson, Kevin Newell, Kenneth Low Hockeong, Tamalae Burnette, Jiwan Giri, and Wissedi Njoh, who also helped connect with hospitals in need.

Eleven hospitals, clinics, and health centers treating Ebola survivors in Monrovia, Kakata, Bong County, and Grand Kru have received critical equipment and supplies, including the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) hospital in Paynesville City, Monrovia, Liberia.

For the past five years, ELWA has been building a new facility with funding that covers only the cost of construction, not equipment and supplies. Thanks to Project C.U.R.E, ELWA received 21 new hospital beds. The DuPort Road Health Center, also in Paynesville, received its first ultrasound machine, as well as replacement beds for the delivery and examination rooms.

Project C.U.R.E. gathers used medical supplies and equipment donated by U.S. hospitals and distributes the items to hospitals and clinics in resource-limited countries around the globe. Items include supplies such as catheters, syringes, and surgical gloves and equipment such as beds, cardiac monitors, and wheelchairs -- serviceable equipment that the hospitals are either replacing with newer models or supplies that are in a surplus status or overstocked. Rather than simply destroy these items, hospitals can put them to good use, with Project C.U.R.E. taking care of collecting, storing, sorting, and shipping the donated goods.

The organization was founded in 1987 by James Jackson, an economic consultant in developing countries. After seeing patients turned away from clinics due to a lack of medical supplies, Jackson decided to start Project C.U.R.E. From initially using his garage as a storage site, the project is now a nationwide effort with distribution centers in six states.

On what she enjoys most about assisting with Project C.U.R.E., Kynvin said, "To me, supporting clinical research is about being part of a long-term effort you hope will bring accessible health benefits to at-risk and vulnerable populations. Project C.U.R.E. has been a wonderful, compartmentalized project that provides some immediate relief to a few of the problems hospitals in Liberia face. It has been a privilege to be able to match the supplies with some of the demands."