Leaning on Purpose During Times of Crisis
Susan Lorenz-Fisher, Senior Vice President-Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, AmerisourceBergen
Months of warfare have taken a devastating toll on the people of Ukraine, and the impact of war on their health system has left hospitals damaged and outpatient clinics destroyed. As the country’s citizens require access to essential health services more than ever, it has become exceedingly difficult for Ukrainians to get the medical care they need. Emotions run deep for all those who have been impacted by this tragedy. It’s times like these that make our purpose that much clearer and inspire us to live out our principles to the highest degree.
AmerisourceBergen and the AmerisourceBergen Foundation have always been committed to creating healthier futures by reducing barriers to care, so the current conflict and its effects on Ukraine’s health system immediately compelled us to provide aid to civilians and our local team members in the country. Given our unique role in the supply chain, we had an opportunity to get critical medical and healthcare supplies into the country quickly and in great measure.
In addition, we partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Corporate Citizenship Center to host the Ukraine Medical Needs In-Kind Roundtable, which brought together private sector stakeholders, staff from the Ukraine Ministry of Health, members of the Embassy of Ukraine, and U.S. government officials. This helped us gain additional support by informing the corporate community of the specific medical needs during this crisis and encouraging them to provide appropriate assistance.
In total so far, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation has been able to get more than $500,000 worth of provisions into Ukraine by working directly with 10 local non-profit partners on the ground and surrounding countries. We let our purpose guide us and focused our efforts on reducing barriers to care, which allowed us to serve more than 100,000 people with much-needed medical supplies, including equipment like oxygen concentrators, critical care medications, and first aid. We have also been able to extend additional care with a variety of services, such as:
• Healthcare and mental health services
• Protection services for violence against women and children
• Trauma and mental health training for healthcare workers
• Access to safe water and sanitation
• Food and hygiene parcels
• Veterinary care to pets of refugees crossing the border in Romania
The immeasurable loss and strife that people face when caught in conflicts like these can make it feel like what you’re doing to help isn’t nearly enough, but I was lucky enough to receive a comment from one of our local non-profit partners that put it all into perspective.
Speaking about International Medical Corps, which AmerisourceBergen supports, a coordinator from Maternity Hospital No. 5 in Odessa said: “There are not enough words to describe our gratitude and appreciation for your help and support to our cry for the universe. Today we received kits for labor and C-section for our hospital. All the staff are amazed and can’t believe it happened. Thanks a lot for all you are doing, not only for us but also for the hundreds of thousands of our Ukrainians who have become refugees.”
International Health Partners CEO, Adele Paterson, shared:
“The crisis in Ukraine, coming so soon after COVID-19 has reminded us all that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Thanks to the support of generous donors such as AmerisourceBergen Foundation, International Health Partners has been able to expand our work into Ukraine and the surrounding countries, to ensure that our neighbours can access the medical help they need in a time of crisis and vulnerability.”
I have been further inspired by the actions of our team members. When we announced that the AmerisourceBergen Foundation would match employee donations on a 2:1 basis for select non-profit organizations that are helping on the ground in Ukraine, they responded with more than $75,000 in personal donations. To date, we’ve been able to make an additional $225,000 in donations with the support of our team members, which makes a very powerful statement that a company’s purpose, when authentic and embraced, can guide more than just the enterprise to do the right thing.
For more information, visit https://www.amerisourcebergen.com/newsroom/media-statements/media-statement-on-current-operations-in-eastern-europe
This perspective originally appeared in the Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) Insights blog.