Health Partners International in Canada
by Joanne Corker
On May 6th, Dr. Janikowski also formally introduced Guest Speaker  Dayana Gomez from Health Partners International in Canada:
Dayana Gomez, Director of Philanthropy & Communications at HPIC since 2019. Worked in the not-for profit sector for 15 years – her passion has always been to advocate and work to help ensure that everyone has the basics to live their best life- having food on the table and healthcare.
She worked for a decade at the Daily Bread Food Bank, handling corporate partnership and media events (CBC Sounds of the Season & BT Spirit of the Season etc), and then worked the William Osler Hospital Foundation and Mackenzie Health Foundation and centered in major gifts, community partnerships and executing capital campaigns.
Dayana is from Ecuador and has first hand knowledge needing assistance when arriving into a new country. Health Partners has been around for 31 yrs  - the mission formed in 1990 when 5 pharma companies wanted to help people in need due to earthquake in Iran.
HPICFocus is to improve access to medicine and healthcare in vulnerable communities by creating hope and enabling postive community transformation.
They equip medical teams- stock  clinics in hospitals  around the world and create programs- to build local capacity.  They handle short term needs and determine how to create jobs and provide long term resources
A charity like no other, they are the only ones who hold a Canada health establishment license – which means they can get medicine from the pharmaceutical plants themselves. This is  catered to the local needs.  They will tell the companies what is needed so their partners can provide to the community.
HPIC mobilizes medicine and  can do onsite training and pharmaceutical management. When they partner with someone the relationship has to be 360 degrees - very transparent. They don’t jump into partnerships automatically, this is very important as they need to preserve their license. Kits have been and are currently being packed for Ukraine.  Every kit has 600 medical treatments- value $6000 each.  Kits  for Ukraine are closer to $9000 value each.  These requests are  for medicines that handle chronic disease as well as  first aid care.
On average they handle 2-3 emergencies per year.  Last year they responded to 12 emergencies on top of regular work. Last year they  impacted the health of over $1M people in 30 countries.  They are a team of 15, with a distribution warehouse  in Oakville and  a head office in Montreal.Part of their work is looking around to see who needs help, and developing partnerships. Their projects focus on middle income  countries that are home to 75% of worlds population and 62% of the world’s poor. The goal is to restore and make communities resilient.
One focus is helping with maternal and child health i.e. Training mid wives-  making sure there are resources for the children, that a child doesn’t have to die because of an ear infection.
HPIC has approached and partnered with major pharmaceutical companies who provide free drug donations. Thos fees up HPOC funding to concentrate on logistics, warehouse climate controlled, export licenses, shipping costs, etc. This means that for every $1 raised, they can mobilize  $10 worth of medicine. Their administration costs are very low (1%) as most of the staffing is by volunteers.
HPIC use Izzy Dolls for packaging. This serves as a double purpose- HPIC does not use styrofoam or bubble plastic to wrap the goods- they use Izzy doll.  Volunteers also knit blankets and baby hats to go into the kits. All the boxes going out include a letter from young girls – to help give hope.
They have been working in Lebanon and Ethiopia since 2001 and have sent over $20M of medicine as these are priority countries for HPIC. Current project is raising money.
Ukraine is the most emotional projects  she and their staff have encountered yet.  People can help by coming to the plant and helping pack kits- finding partnerships.
Dayana is very grateful for receiving a lifesaving donation from Rotary- “HPIC is your organization” and invited all to see the facilities.  This is a National organization that has donors across Canada.
The Pandemic forced them to close volunteer program down and challenged their logistics. Yet, despite the pandemic, they were able to respond to each emergency.
There are many ways to get involved:
  • Donate
  • Volunteer at the warehouse
  • Host a fund-raising event
  • Celebrate a family milestone with the Program called ECHOage.
  • HPIC is glad to present at any event.
With emergencies they don’t hold back- but need clearance from NGO partners.  The kits go to clinics or hospital.  They know how many skids go to each spot.  So they are responsible for the skid- and there is proper reporting to show it goes to people who need it, for free.
During Pandemic local food banks and hospitals too priority- so received fewer donations.
Not a lot of people are aware of HPIC and as Director of Communication and Philanthropy Dayana  is trying to change this.  Our pharmaceutical companies have been heroes quietly giving. Dayana is trying to organize activities and promotions to make sure there is public awareness. They are very committed to changing this and getting the word out there.