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1. How to install SUMA Version 5.2a

2. Reference documents SUMA Version 5.2a

3. Upgrade SUMA Version 5.1 to 5.2a

4. The MISE System – Integrated Management of Emergency Supplies

5. MISE Manual

6. Labels for classification of emergency supplies

7. Practice Manual for SUMA Version 5.2a

8. Trainer’s Manual

9. Guide for registering medicines using SUMA Version 5.2a

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What is SUMA?

The project Humanitarian Supplies Management System (SUMA) started in 1992 as a joint effort of Latin American and Caribbean countries under the auspices of the Pan American Health Organization, the Regional Office of the World Health Organization, with the financial support of the government of the Netherlands. Its main objective is to improve the management of humanitarian aid, by strengthening the national capacity to manage effectively the humanitarian supplies, bringing them to the affected people in an adequate and convenient way.



Why was SUMA created?

When a major disaster strikes, a few hours following the mobilization of national and international solidarity, an abundance of supplies arrive by different means. Many of these supplies have not been requested and are not useful or of first priority to cover the needs of an emergency. On the contrary, they compromise the efficient reception, storage, classification, control and distribution of these supplies, consuming relief workers’ scarce time and resources.



Where can SUMA be of help?

SUMA helps to manage donated supplies by classifying them from the moment they arrive at their point of entry, and by establishing a prioritization system for the distribution of the supplies to the community, according to the needs of the affected people. The SUMA system also provides information of the flow of donations and their characteristics, allowing to produce reports for donors, national authorities, humanitarian agencies and the media about the received supplies and their distribution to the affected areas. This is crucial to guarantee a transparency and accountability in the management of the relief supplies.

The SUMA methodology can also be used in normal times for the inventory control of the warehouse of for example hospitals, pharmacies, health centers, etc.
This all is achieved applying the SUMA methodology, through the integrated efforts of trained local human resources, specially designed materials, and a flexible and easy-to-use software package.



How does SUMA work?

The system is composed of three levels:




SUMA Field Unit


Stock Management

SUMA CENTRAL is meant to be used wherever national authorities are managing a disaster or emergency.

At this level, the principal duties include:


 Defining the parameters to be used by the Field Units, such as reception sites, shipment directories, main user identities…etc.


Creation and set-up of Field Units


Integration of information sent by the Field Units (consolidation)


Providing consultations and making up reports which serve to aid the decision-making process and promote inter-institutional coordination


Maintenance of the system tables (database)

The FIELD UNIT is designed to operate at points of entry or reception sites, such as borders, water or river ports, and large storage centers (centers where supplies arrive during emergencies, such as airports, collection stands, etc.).

The main tasks at this level are:

Sorting and identification of supplies using priority labels, under the categories:




Classification of supplies by categories, subcategories and items

Selective checks on items

Making up various reports on the content of the supplies registered at the Field Units

Making delivery receipts for the addressees

Consolidating data on diskettes to be sent to the CENTRAL Level

The SUMA Field Unit uses manual registration forms in case of computer breakdown, or in the event that its use is required for gathering data.

The WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT module is a tool that registers the arrival and the delivery of supplies at the storage centers or warehouses. Along with supplies, warehouses receive a diskette with information coming from the Field Units and/or the Central Level. This allows for internal management, control and coordination with other institutions and organizations that may be working on the emergency. For example, the Red Cross might allocate a donation of medicines to the Ministry of Health, and SUMA enables solid and efficient tracking of such exchanges.

The main duties at this level are:

Tracking of local inventory

Elaboration of stock reports and deliveries by a number of parameters

Inventory follow-up of other subordinate warehouses


Apart from these three modules, there is another module available, the Pledges Module, which manages information on supplies before their actual arrival on site (those supplies in the ¨pipeline¨). It serves to follow-up on pledges made by donors and the needs expressed by recipient countries and then assigning pledges to the requirements. The module can be installed independently from the other three modules and is fully compatible with SUMA software.



What is needed to install SUMA?

The minimum technical requirements to install the SUMA software (version 5.1) are: (for Windows version):

Processor: 486 or higher

RAM: 16Mb or greater

Mouse: Recommended

Operating system: Windows, 3.x, Windows 95 up to 98 2nd edition

Free space on Hard Disk: 20 Mb minimum

Printer: any printer

Floppy disk: 3.5 inch, 1.44 Mb

CD ROM: preferred for installation process





How is SUMA organized and who operates it in a disaster?

The first step is to train local human resources in-country about the organization and management of emergency supplies and the use of the SUMA software to classify, sort out and assign priority levels. When a disaster strikes, these people will be able to install and operate the system at the different sites of supplies management. In cases of major disasters or in places where SUMA is not established, an international team can provide help with the intention to train locals to take over the system management in a self-sufficient way in minimal time.



Who can be trained?

Those who can be trained include staff from national government entities responsible for emergency coordination, as well as those from public, private, non-governmental and other organizations involved in or related to emergency relief. In addition are members of the international community, such as international NGOs, UN agencies and bilateral agencies.



What is necessary to receive training?

The promotion and coordination of SUMA is achieved through country entities involved with emergencies and disasters, such as ministries of health, emergency committees, Red Cross affiliates, etc. Any institution interested in receiving training should contact the office in charge of disaster management in the national Ministry of Health or through the local PAHO/WHO office. The SUMA system was designed with special regard to the participation of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs).]



To whom belongs the information compiled by SUMA?

SUMA facilitates data collection for easier decision-making. All the data entered and processed by the system are property of the affected country under the auspices of the authorities responsible for emergency management.



Has SUMA been used in any emergencies?

Some of the main emergencies and disasters where SUMA has been implemented include:

  • Hurricane Louis, Caribbean Islands..(1995)
  • Hurricane Cesar, Central America..(1996)
  • Earthquake Nazca, Peru..(1997)
  • El Niño (ENOS), Peru and Ecuador..(1998)
  • Earthquake Aiquile-Totora, Bolivia..(1998)
  • Floods in Chiapas, México..(1998)
  • Hurricane George, Dominican Republic..(1998)
  • Hurricane Mitch, Central America..(1998)
  • Earthquake Armenia, Colombia..(1999)
  • Complex emergency, East Timor..(1999)
  • Floods, Venezuela..(1999/2000)
  • Volcano eruptions, Ecuador..(1999/2000)
  • Earthquakes, El Salvador..(2001)



What is the latest SUMA version?

Since its beginning, SUMA has had several versions trying with each new version to satisfy even more the needs expressed by the users, who have been testing and operating the system in various disaster situations in their countries.

The new version 5.2 for Windows (95 or higher, now compatible with Windows 2000, XP, ME and NT) is currently being used, which has been launched officially midst of 2002.



How can I get more information?

To obtain more additional information about SUMA, as well as the SUMA programs, manuals, practices, mission reports, etcetera, please see other sections of our Website, where they can be downloaded free of charge to your computer: 


SUMA is also available on CDROM, which includes all the components to learn, teach and use the methodology (software, manuals, training materials and background documents).

To obtain this CDROM and other information, please contact one of the following addresses:

525 23rd Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20037-2895
Phone: (202) 974-3520
Fax: (202) 775-4578
disaster@paho.org / suma@paho.org

Subregional Office for South America

Av. Amazonas 2889 y La Granja, Edificio Naciones Unidas
Quito, Ecuador
(593-2) 246-0274 / 246-0277
Fax :
(593-2) 225-6174

Subregional Office for CENTRAL America

A.P. 3745-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica
Tel.: (506) 224-6395 / 224-6690 / 224-6941
Fax: (506) 224-7758

The Caribbean

P.O. Box N 508
Bridgetown, Barbados W.I.
Tel.: (246) 426-3860
(246) 436-9779

A.P. 114, Plaza Mayor 1225, Costa Rica
Tel.: (506) 384-8657
Fax : (506) 290-0413
Internet: http://www.fundesuma.net




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