COVID-19: Responding to the Pandemic: Our Impact

The pandemic may be interfering with our fight against drug-resistant bacteria. Luckily, the same tactics can beat back both scourges.The COVID-19 pandemic may be interfering with our fight against drug-resistant bacteria. Luckily, the same tactics can beat back both scourges, writes Mohan P. Joshi, technical lead for issues related to antimicrobial resistance and global health security at Management Sciences for Health, in an opinion article for Knowable Magazine.  

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}A clinical aide from Madagascar's Atsimo Andrefana region attends an in-person workshop.Photo credit: MSH staff

Since the start of Madagascar’s COVID-19 outbreak in March of this year, ensuring the continuation of routine health care services has been a challenge. Restrictions on movement and travel have forced health providers to adapt and identify innovative measures for providing quality primary health care in the midst of an epidemic. While in-person training and clinical capacity-building exercises have been curtailed, a timely switch to virtual training and mentorship has helped the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the MSH-led, USAID-funded ACCESS program meet these challenges and ensure the continuation of essential health services for women and children in remote regions of the country. When the onset of the epidemic threatened the deployment of 118 clinical aides in Atsimo Andrefana, Vatovavy Fitovinany, and Atsinanana regions, ACCESS and the MoPH rapidly developed and hosted virtual trainings and orientation sessions. These clinical aides—doctors, midwives, and nurses recruited to provide critical ongoing support to health facilities—help staff to implement activities needed to improve the quality of care, manage and integrate services, and strengthen data collection.

 {Photo credit MSH staff}National Medical Stores staff undergo a practical session on processing of orders for COVID-19 emergency supplies using the eELMIS with a trainer from MSH/UHSC.Photo credit MSH staff

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, access to timely and accurate supply chain data is critical to the success of Uganda’s response to the outbreak. The first COVID-19 case in Uganda was reported on March 21, 2020. Additional cases were reported days later, triggering the government to implement drastic measures to restrict the spread of the disease. Uganda’s response has largely centered on closing its borders, limiting public gatherings, and conducting tests and treating COVID-19 patients.

{Photo credit: MSH staff}Photo credit: MSH staff

COVID-19 is changing how malaria projects maintain programming in Nigeria. Before the pandemic, trainings and capacity-building efforts were conducted face-to-face, coupled with breakout sessions, where attendees huddled to discuss a topic or idea in-depth. But as public health experts recommend physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus, face-to-face interactions are no longer considered a safe way to meet or share knowledge. To bridge this communications gap, organizations and programs worldwide are now utilizing virtual resources—an approach that has not been widely tested in training large groups of people in Nigeria, especially health care workers.

{Photo Credit: Warren Zelman}Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

In the wake of the US decision to terminate the relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), Pandemic Action Network and leading global health organizations have published a brief paper outlining some of the critical steps that the world needs to take to prevent pandemics. The report sets out a key challenge for global leaders to work together in an unprecedented way to end COVID-19 as swiftly as possible and prepare for future pandemic threats.The report, published jointly by the Pandemic Action Network, ONE, PATH, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Global Health Security Agenda

Family home outside of Pucallpa, Peru. Photo Credit: Leslie Alsheimer

Three-quarters of all emerging diseases are zoonotic, and yet most countries do not have a comprehensive animal health surveillance network. In an opinion article for The Hill, “Can Veterinarians Save Us from the Next Pandemic?,” MSH’s Senior External Affairs Officer, Ashley Arabasadi, and Dr. Tracey McNamara, a veterinary pathologist who played the catalyst’s role in identifying West Nile Virus, discuss the need to invest in animal disease surveillance to prevent the next pandemic.Read their commentary in The Hill, here.

 {Photo credit: Doris Bota/MTaPS}Participants relax after an infection prevention and control training in Kisii, Kenya.Photo credit: Doris Bota/MTaPS

Since March 18, 2020, the USAID Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program has been collaborating with the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MoH) to roll out a series of training-of-trainers (ToT) courses to help the government contain and manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

The USAID MTaPS Program, led by MSH, is on the frontlines supporting USAID’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in high-risk countries. The program’s mandate includes advancing the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and is, therefore, well equipped to respond to global public health emergencies such as the current outbreak.  MTaPS has formed a COVID-19 response team to assist countries in developing a rapid response action plan to manage the outbreak.

 {Photo Credit: Rejoice Phiri/MSH}Two women wash their hands outside Nathenje Health Center.Photo Credit: Rejoice Phiri/MSH

Story and photos by Rejoice Phiri, Communications Manager, ONSE Health ActivityMalawi’s media is awash with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed daily life in the country, as well as worldwide.

Read this blog on the CSEM websiteAuthors: Justin Koonin, Dheepa Rajan, Eliana Monteforte, Marjolaine NicodIn September 2019, at the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health in history.This Declaration included a commitment to “engage all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector and academia, as appropriate, through the establishment of participatory and transparent multi-stakeholder platforms and partnerships”[1].The test of that commitment has

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