COVID-19: Responding to the Pandemic: Our Impact

For too long, we have ignored how our actions—from deforestation to wildlife trade—drive infectious disease outbreaks. We also have not invested in controlling them. Global health security initiatives have been underfunded, even in the midst of epidemics, such as Zika virus in the Americas in 2016. COVID-19 is an opportunity to break free of this inertia, but the movement needs a leader—the United States must fund and coordinate pandemic prevention and preparedness.  

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

“In mid-July, a G-20 panel called for $75 billion in financing over the next 5 years to develop flexible, responsive health systems that provide early detection of and faster response to disease outbreaks. While these capabilities are critical in responding to outbreaks, they will ultimately fail to prevent another pandemic,” writes MSH’s Senior External Affairs Officer, Ashley Arabasadi, in an opinion article for Global Health NOW. “This is because we’ve been viewing global health security through the narrow lens of human health.

{Photo credit: Rejoice Phiri/MSH} Photo credit: Rejoice Phiri/MSH

On April 2, 2020, Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika confirmed the country's first cases of COVID-19.

 {Photo credit: Raian Amzad/MSH}A client picks up a prescription at a private-sector drug shop in Dhaka, Bangladesh.Photo credit: Raian Amzad/MSH

In Bangladesh, private neighborhood drug sellers are the first point of care for 70% of the population. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the country went into lockdown, the people of Bangladesh depended even more on the safe delivery of products and services from local accredited drug sellers. Despite all odds, they kept their shops open safely.The Better Health Bangladesh project (BHB), funded by the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office, has been supporting Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Drug Administration since 2018 to accredit these private-sector drug sellers in 32 districts. MSH, which leads the project, began supporting private drug seller accreditation in Tanzania in 2003. The model has since been adopted in a number of countries in Africa and Asia. The medicine vendors receive assessments and training in pharmaceutical practices, such as accurate dispensing, counselling, and other pharmaceutical services. In the first phase of the project, through December 2020, BHB accredited 2,193 retail medicine shops against a target 2,500 (88%).

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Internal displaced people being screened for TB, COVID-19, and HIV in 1 of the 10 centers for internally displaced people in Mekelle, Tigray.Photo credit: MSH staff

The major conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is affecting the functionality of the region’s health system, impacting everything from human resources to infrastructure. TB services are no exception. TB client follow-up has been disrupted, and many facilities have been damaged, including laboratory diagnostic equipment like microscopes and GeneXpert machines. The capacity to ensure service continuity and collect monitoring and evaluation data has been compromised.

{Photo credit: Les Angles d’Afrique}Dr. Pétas Akogbéto and US Ambassador Patricia Mahoney.Photo credit: Les Angles d’Afrique

Pour lire cet article en français, veuillez cliquer ici.Since the first COVID-19 cases confirmed on March 17, 2020, Benin has taken important measures to fight the pandemic.To support Benin in this fight, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Integrated Health Services Activity—implemented by Management Sciences for Health—helped the departments of Alibori, Atacora, Oueme, and Plateau establish platforms to coordinate response efforts and led a training for health staff trainers on standard guidelines and procedures in COVID-19 infection prevention, control, an

MSH was formed in May 1971 by Dr. Ron O’Connor to focus on supporting countries as they strengthen their health systems and the local ownership needed to achieve sustainable change. In 2021, we are celebrating our five decades of health impact. But we are not going to celebrate this anniversary by reflecting on the past. We want to focus on the future of global health – the Next 50 Years.We turn 50 during a time when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of global health is on everyone’s mind and impacting everyone’s lives.

 {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.

Pages