COVID-19: Response in the Americas
International Medical Corps has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bahamas by promoting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and infection prevention and control, and providing supplies. On the island of Grand Bahama, we have provided five health facilities with bucket handwashing stations and distributed 14,436 personal protection equipment (PPE) items, including masks, gloves, gowns, sharps containers, aprons and first-aid kits. To date, International Medical Corps has reached more than 15,000 individuals in the Bahamas with COVID-19 awareness messaging. In addition, the Bahamas team is providing mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services through webinars and TV and radio show discussions on coping with stress from COVID-19, as well as a psychosocial support hotline that provides peer support group activities by telephone. As social distancing measures relaxed in June, the team restarted a community outreach program, providing health and hygiene promotion. In coordination with Grand Bahama Health Services, we also started new rounds of infection prevention and control (IPC) and disinfection training sessions adapted for COVID-19, reaching 80 health housekeeping staff and more than 100 people from small businesses. In July, we will provide mental health training for 20 health professionals and psychological first-aid training for an additional 50 health workers.
In Puerto Rico, International Medical Corps has been responding to COVID-19 by supporting four hospitals with PPE and medical equipment, as well as emergency medical field units that have enabled hospitals to screen 169 patients to date. International Medical Corps’ Puerto Rico mission is adapting its current programming to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19, shifting many of its nutrition awareness and education activities to an approach that includes increased use of social media, development of an informational hotline and remote training. To date, the Puerto Rico team has reached 36,085 people with COVID-19 awareness messaging on social media. The team, which recently received a $50,000 grant to address mental health needs, is identifying the most effective ways to continue providing emotional support and preparedness to address the anxiety and stress caused not only by recent earthquakes but also concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Puerto Rico team will soon be receiving 109,000 KN95 and 32,600 surgical masks to further assist regional hospitals.
To help meet a rising need for disaster response in the US, International Medical Corps offers robust domestic response capacity that can quickly provide health and medical care to affected jurisdictions. We maintain Mission Ready Packages that enable rapid response to meet the medical surge needs of local jurisdictions, typically within 24 to 72 hours.
As of August 12, there were 5,197,118 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 166,027 deaths from the disease, in the United States. International Medical Corps is responding to the outbreak of coronavirus and COVID-19 in the US and globally, providing expertise, equipment, training, and triage and treatment services. Our multi-pronged approach, which ensures that at-risk countries and regions are able to prepare for and respond to potential outbreaks of the coronavirus, prioritizes areas where the disease has spread or where healthcare systems and populations are particularly vulnerable.
International Medical Corps is one of only a few international non-governmental organizations to receive import licensing to support healthcare facilities in Venezuela. As concerns around COVID-19 have continued to grow, our team is participating in coordination meetings with UN agencies, INGOs, key health officials and mayors of municipalities, has been coordinating with directors of health facilities in Miranda state and will be meeting with officials in Táchira and Bolivar states. To meet growing needs, we have imported PPE—including gloves and masks—and inter-agency emergency health kits that include basic medicines, equipment and supplies to provide life-saving services to 10,000 people for approximately three months. International Medical Corps is working to distribute nearly 50,000 gloves and more than 20,000 KN95 masks to hospitals in Miranda and Táchira, two states with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. We have also started COVID-related training for frontline healthcare workers in Venezuela.