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1. How to install SUMA Version 5.2a

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| What is Suma? | How does SUMA Work? | Who Operates SUMA? |

| The Future of SUMA | More Information |

What is Suma?

The flood of relief supplies that arrive in the aftermath of large-scale disasters often poses serious logistic and management problems for national authorities. SUMA is a tool for the management of humanitarian relief supplies, from the time pledges are made by donors, to their entry into the disaster area and their storage and distribution.

Can produce reports and keep disaster managers and humanitarian organizations, as well as donors, the media and the beneficiaries informed of exactly what has been received; quickly identifies and classifies all the humanitarian relief aid and assigns priority to the supplies according to the needs of the by the disaster affected population; offers a tool for inventory control on warehousing and for  the monitoring of the distribution of emergency supplies from the central warehouses or distribution centers up to local level. SUMA began as a PAHO/WHO technical cooperation  project in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1992. The objective of SUMA is to build and strengthen a capacity in the countries to deal effectively with information on incoming relief supplies. Some 3000 volunteers in more than 30 countries in the Americas and in other regions of the world have received training, since the beginning of the project. SUMA has been implemented in a variety of both natural and complex emergencies.




How does SUMA Work?

Information on supplies is collected at different points of entry such as an airport, seaport, or border. The SUMA team assigns a priority to each item based on how it meets the needs of the disaster victims. Items are classified by category, subcategory, and item. Other SUMA teams work at warehouses and distribution centers, managing information on the distribution of items from central to peripheral points. Information gathered in the field is forwarded in an electronic format to the central level, where the emergency is being managed, for it's consolidation. Standard or customized reports can be easily generated for disaster managers, assisting them to monitor pledges from donors, identify gaps or duplications in the distribution, as well as helping them to take logistical decisions.




Who Operates SUMA?

A main objective of the SUMA project has been to develop self-reliance in countries, ensuring that they can manage humanitarian assistance with their own resources. National SUMA teams are made up of volunteers from the ranks of national health or relief agencies, the Civil Defense or armed forces, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Customs Departments, Red Cross, NGOs, and other organizations. In the immediate aftermath of large-scale disasters, especially in smaller countries, it may be unrealistic to count on local trained health professionals to sort through incoming medical supplies. Other life-saving priorities will prevail! This is the time when assistance among neighbors is brought into play. PAHO/WHO together with it's executive branch the NGO FUNDESUMA, provide logistical and technical support in mobilizing SUMA teams from nearby countries. SUMA teams are self-sufficient and have received specialized training which includes:

  • Sorting/identification of supplies
  • Software operation
  • Use of the SUMA priority labelling system
  • Operational aspects of relief assistance (radio and satellite communications, use of generators, etc.)

The SUMA team members assist affected countries in large-scale international disasters.





The Future of SUMA

Without the full support of national authorities, inter-institutional assistance, and the enthusiasm of those trained in SUMA, the project would not have succeeded. SUMA is now the accepted standard in Latin America and the Caribbean for relief supply management, and is being increasingly requested for disaster management outside the Region of the Americas. Experienced SUMA team members provide training locally, in neighboring countries, and are being called on to train potential SUMA teams outside of this Region. One of the most important features of SUMA is its flexibility. It can be used in many different emergency situations, large or small scale, and in natural as well as complex emergency situations. The development and modification of the software has depended on constant feedback from national team members who have used it in a variety of disaster situations and training sessions. Some related document to this subject:

  • Report " Regional Workshop about the future of SUMA "

  • Executive summary "International workshop on Logistical Support Systems"





More Information

The SUMA software is copyrighted by the Pan American Health Organization, but distributed free of charge in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. For information on technical requirements or to obtain the software and training manuals, please contact:

SUMA Project

Pan American Health Organization

525 Twenty Third Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20037

fax: (202) 775-4578

e-mail: suma@paho.org



P.O.Box 114, Plaza Mayor 1225

San José, Costa Rica

Fax: (506) 291 0286

e-mail: funsuma@racsa.co.cr

Internet: http://www.fundesuma.net






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