Softbox Systems, a global provider of temperature control packaging systems and thermal covers for the life science and logistics industries, has helped protect temperature-sensitive shipments of essential medicines to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in partnership with the charity International Health Partners (IHP).
To help maintain the temperature integrity of the shipped medicines, Softbox donated its Silverskin thermally insulating pallet covers, which were used by IHP to protect shipments of medicines to the DRC. The transport of these medicines was especially challenging because of logistical challenges caused by COVID-19. Shipments contained Essential Health Packs, each pack including around 800 donated treatments of antibiotics, painkillers and other basic primary health medicines.
The first shipment of 24 packs went to IHP’s partner International Medical Corps in Goma, and the second, with 18 packs, went to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, established by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege to treat survivors of sexual violence.
“We do our best to ensure all products reach their destination in the same condition we’d expect in the UK’s pharmacies,” explained Colleen Harrisson-Dodds, IHP’s director of logistics. “The medicines must be kept below 25 degrees Celsius, and SilverSkin thermal covers help enable us to do that.
“When cargo changes planes or is unloaded, pallets might be left on the tarmac in the hot sun. Softbox Silverskin thermal covers reflect the heat and make sure the medicines don’t get too hot.
“With uncertainties unleashed by COVID-19, such as scarcer flights and more complex logistics, such protection has been vital,” said Harrisson-Dodds.
Panzi Hospital in Bukavu is one of two in DRC chosen to treat COVID-19 patients, and the shipment medicines have treated more than 1,500 patients there. The medicines sent to Goma are helping those fighting the latest Ebola outbreak.
Marissa Pledger, project manager for Panzi Hospital and Foundations, said, “In regular times it is difficult for us get the medicines we need, but during COVID-19, with border closures and the decrease in flights, all supplies in Eastern Congo – from medical supplies to regular food – are significantly diminished. These packs have allowed us to keep our pharmacy pretty well stocked during this time.”
Since the start of this year, IHP has sent more than four million treatments from the UK to vulnerable people without access to healthcare.
In 2019, Softbox donated temperature-control packaging systems to IHP for them to send temperature sensitive chemotherapy medicines to children with cancer in Tanzania.
“It’s a pleasure to be working with IHP again to provide the safe transportation of life-saving medicines,” said Clive Bryant, product and marketing director at Softbox. “COVID-19 is making international shipments of this nature much more challenging but also more vital than ever before. We’re proud to have been able to support the delivery of these medicines to those that need it most.”