NAMI Montana has had years of experience ordering equipment directly from manufacturers for our Montana NAMIWalks bandanas, hats, etc. We put that skill-set to work finding medical equipment from reputable suppliers on Alibaba.com.
Our first shipment arrived on Friday. It was 11,000 simple medical mask, mainly for patients to wear so they don’t cough on clinicians or other patients. We are expecting an order of 3,000 N95 masks to arrive late this week or early next week. All of this equipment either has been or will be distributed by DPHHS to facilities in need of it. We are deeply grateful to our donors, especially the Oro y Plata Foundation, for allowing us the freedom to move quickly to protect Montana’s healthcare system.
The main goal wasn’t to order this set of masks, but to test alternative supply lines so DPHHS and other partners across the state will know how to tap into these supply lines. We wrote a How-to article to help other organizations make similar orders. We distributed it to DPHHS, the Montana Hospital Association, Montana Association of Counties, the Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana, and other organization. We also telephonically trained personnel in how to vet suppliers, safely place orders, etc.
These are difficult times where everyone is struggling with a lot of unknown variables. We are grateful to everyone who is working to care for our state. We will get through this together.
As the week goes on, we will update you on how Montana’s local NAMI affiliates are doing to get their support groups back and running through video conferencing.