COVID-19: Response in the Americas
The Bahamas country mission closed in October 2020. International Medical Corps responded 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 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. In sum, International Medical Corps reached more than 15,000 individuals in the Bahamas with COVID-19 awareness messaging and supported six primary health facilities in our pandemic response. In addition, the Bahamas team provided 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 provided 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 provided mental health training for 20 health professionals and psychological first-aid training (PFA) for an additional 50 health workers. Through an August lockdown, International Medical Corps continued PFA and IPC training, while making improvements to WASH infrastructure, including handwashing stations. The mission is now closed out, with only minor reports remaining.
Over the course of the pandemic, International Medical Corps has been responding to COVID-19 by supporting six hospitals with PPE and medical equipment, as well as emergency medical field units that have enabled hospitals to so far screen more than 5,090 patients. In addition, we have adapted our training and community services, shifting many of our nutrition-awareness and education activities to an approach that includes remote training, the development of an informational hotline and increased use of social media. To date, the Puerto Rico team has trained 79 frontline staff on COVID-19 treatment and prevention, and has so far provided 614,100 PPE and IPC items to supported hospitals. Over the course of our response on the island, we have directly reached 1,031,165 community members and 29 health facilities with COVID-19 messaging and related services, with 1,307,425 indirect beneficiaries reached in total. Currently, 69.6% of the population has received one vaccine dose, with 60.6% fully vaccinated. In an effort to increase those numbers, International Medical Corps is supporting 10 surge positions at the mass vaccination clinic at Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), one of the leading research universities in Puerto Rico. To date, we have supported the vaccination of 6,348 people and have reached 24,000 people with messages on social media promoting COVID-19 vaccines. We also trained 125 medical personnel on COVID-19 vaccines, along with nine community and religious leaders, who play a key role in building confidence for COVID-19 vaccines in their communities.
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 November 29, there were 48,229,273 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 776,639 deaths from the disease, in the United States. International Medical Corps is responding to the outbreak of coronavirus and COVID-19 in the US by providing expertise, equipment, training, triage and treatment, and vaccination services. Our multi-pronged approach prioritizes areas where healthcare systems and populations are particularly vulnerable. International Medical Corps also is leveraging its decades of experience in cold-chain management and last-mile delivery of vaccines to assist with vaccination efforts in the US and abroad.
More than 100,000 Venezuelans have been forced to return to their home country in recent months due to the pandemic, with some walking for thousands of miles after facing job losses and business closures while working abroad because of national lockdowns. Hospitals continue to be understaffed, and the nurses who risk their lives to show up for work take home barely enough money to buy the day’s groceries. International Medical Corps is one of only a few international non-governmental organizations to receive import licensing to support healthcare facilities in Venezuela. Our Venezuela team has provided COVID-19 training for 999 frontline staff in 36 health facilities. Since late February 2020, we have screened 12,975 patients for COVID-19, have donated 246,689 items of PPE and have reached 2,021,394 people indirectly to date. The team continues to actively coordinate with UN agencies, INGOs, key health officials and mayors of municipalities, as well as directors of health facilities in Miranda and Bolivar states.