Our Health Work: A Look at 2020

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In 2020, MedGlobal’s mission to create a world without healthcare disparity became more important than ever. The world faced horrific disasters that killed, injured, and displaced millions – from the Beirut port explosion, to the devastating fire in the Moria refugee camp in Greece, to record-breaking floods in Sudan. Protracted humanitarian crises worsened, and we are now faced with impending famine in war-torn Yemen and a freezing winter for the millions of internally displaced persons in Syria. Of course, the world faced a global pandemic. For many of our medical colleagues here in the U.S., this month has been especially difficult, as hospitals are once again stretched thin with patients facing severe COVID-19 cases. 

Throughout it all, communities were resilient, local health workers became heroes, and MedGlobal responded. With the support of thousands of donors and partners, we’ve managed to expand our life-saving health services globally. 

In 2020, MedGlobal has: 

  • Served over 1 million people in 11 countries. 
  • Provided over $3.1 million in humanitarian and health support.
  • Supported 130 health facilities.
  • Scaled up our work to respond to COVID-19.
  • Distributed 1.16 million PPE items to save and protect health workers as they treat others.

Our healthcare support in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Gaza, Greece, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, the United States, and Yemen would not have been possible without your generosity. Join us in supporting communities around the world with critical healthcare in 2021.

Our 2020 Programs:

Health Services

Through support for hospitals, clinics, and health workers, MedGlobal ensures that communities around the world have access to the most critical health services. In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the health post we support alongside local partners OBAT Helpers and Prantic has served more than 130,000 Rohingya refugees and vulnerable members of the Bangladesh host community with a wide range of health services, like pediatrics care, family planning and women’s healthcare, and management of chronic conditions like diabetes. In Cúcuta, on the Colombia-Venezuela border,  MedGlobal supports the only primary care clinic dedicated to the full primary care needs of displaced Venezuelans. In addition to these permanent MedGlobal clinics, we have supported 128 other hospitals and health facilities in 2020 alone with their most critically-needed supplies, equipment, infrastructure, and technical expertise, so health services are comprehensive and accessible to local communities. MedGlobal particularly focuses on primary care, infectious disease control, management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), maternal and child health, reproductive and sexual health, surgical medicine, and dental services.

Global COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Across 11 countries, including domestically in the United States, MedGlobal scaled up our health services to include a comprehensive COVID-19 response. Our goals are to ensure that health workers are able to remain safe, patients receive comprehensive treatment, and core health services can continue simultaneously. Supplying health facilities with personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic equipment, and oxygen has become a major component of MedGlobal’s work. MedGlobal distributed over 1.16 million PPE items, including over 700,000 in Gaza, where COVID-19 has pushed the health workforce and health system to the brink of collapse. In Colombia, Gaza, and Syria, we provided ventilators to support COVID-19 patients in hospitals, as well as CPAP and BIPAP machines, which are non-invasive ventilators for people suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms. MedGlobal has also invested in building oxygen generating stations, which are key for providing local hospitals, ambulance systems, and isolation centers with the oxygen needed to care for those with COVID-19. Additionally, we have adapted our training and health education initiatives to a virtual format and launched COVID-specific webinars for MedGlobal field staff and local healthcare providers at our country sites. 

Emergency Responses

The majority of MedGlobal’s countries of operation face humanitarian crises, which put millions of people in need of emergency health assistance. In Yemen and Syria, communities face the effects of years of war, hunger crises, and a lack of access to health. MedGlobal has provided not only health assistance to local hospitals, but emergency nutrition assistance, food baskets, personal hygiene kits, and support for local internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. In Lebanon, following the devastating Beirut port explosion on August 4, MedGlobal launched an emergency response, establishing a medical tent that provided care for affected individuals during the first month post-blast, when hospitals were most overwhelmed. MedGlobal also provided local hospitals with critically needed supplies, to fill gaps following the surge in healthcare needs after the explosion. This summer, Sudan saw record-breaking floods, leading to a state of emergency. MedGlobal also launched an emergency flood response, providing 13 health facilities with supplies and medications to support patients and manage the increase of water-borne and vector-borne diseases caused by the floods.

Health Training and Education

Health training and education for local health workers, based on local needs and priorities, are key components of MedGlobal’s mission. In 2020, MedGlobal led virtual trainings for health professionals in Bangladesh, Greece, and Ecuador. Based on the local health worker needs, MedGlobal launched online trainings focused on key COVID-19 response and preparedness practices. We initiated online trainings for clinic staff in Bangladesh to help them best treat Rohingya refugee communities, and a four-part training series for physicians and nurses who were facing the epicenter of Ecuador’s coronavirus outbreak in Santa Elena. Community-based health education campaigns are also critical, particularly this year to ensure that people are informed about how to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. MedGlobal led community education campaigns in Gaza, led health education sessions for clinic patients in Bangladesh on handwashing and COVID-19 symptoms, and launched a training series for health workers in Ecuador who led their own COVID-19 education campaigns based on MedGlobal methods.

Mental Health & Psychosocial Support

MedGlobal strives to provide comprehensive patient care by integrating mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) into our other health services. Particularly in 2020, we assessed the importance of scaling up MHPSS services. The fear of contracting COVID-19, isolation from social distancing, difficulties from significant changes in daily life, and other added stresses has taken a mental health toll on communities around the world. MedGlobal scaled up our mental health and psychosocial support through activities like training for Bangladesh clinic staff on personal mental health, and a mental health referral network in downtown Beirut following the port explosion.

Building Health Infrastructure 

As part of MedGlobal’s mission to provide quality care, we invest in the communities where we work though building sustainable health infrastructure. MedGlobal particularly focuses on countries like Syria and Yemen, where health infrastructure has been decimated by war and there are less than half the health workers necessary to meet the WHO’s benchmark for basic health coverage. In Syria, MedGlobal, in partnership with Rahma Worldwide and Violet Organization, built two critically needed oxygen generator stations in northwest Syria. With COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing, oxygen generators are key to provide hospitals, clinics, ambulances, and isolation centers the oxygen supplies needed to care for COVID-19 patients and create a lasting impact for local communities. In Sudan, MedGlobal and partner the Sudanese American Physician Association (SAPA) are building an oxygen generator and filling station at Nyala Teaching Hospital in South Darfur, which will be the first oxygen generator in all of the Darfur region. This will have a long-term impact and increase health access in one of the most underserved areas of the country. 

Nutrition

Food insecurity is closely linked to nutrition, and in many of the areas where we work, malnutrition is common and increasing. As one of 46 NGOs that make up the Global Nutrition Cluster, MedGlobal provides emergency food assistance and nutrition support that is tailored to the needs of our country sites. In Yemen, where millions of people have been pushed to the brink of starvation, we partnered with Pious Projects, Islamic Oasis, and Latter-day Saints Charities to distribute nutritious food baskets to five camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Al Khawkha. In Colombia, we have partnered with Corprodinco and Action Against Hunger to provide nutrition assessments to Venezuelan migrant children and pregnant women who visit our clinic in Cúcuta. Similarly, in Syria MedGlobal supported nutrition services at a quarantine center in Darkoush in collaboration with Rahma Worldwide. 

Our Countries of Operation:

  • Bangladesh: Over 900,000 Rohingya refugees currently live in overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar after fleeing violence in Myanmar. MedGlobal runs a primary health post in the Kutupalong refugee camp alongside partners OBAT Helpers and Prantic, providing a range of health services. In 2020, MedGlobal also provided 10 distributions of medicines, medical supplies, and critical equipment to our health post and other clinics in the Cox’s Bazar area in 2020. We led 7 trainings and educational sessions for local health workers providing ongoing care for Rohingya refugees, on the topics of clinical management of COVID-19 patients, mental health support, and more.

  • Colombia: Colombia hosts over 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees, many who fled their country due to the collapse of the economy and health system. MedGlobal operates a primary care clinic supporting maternal and child health services in Cúcuta, on the Colombia- Venezuela border. In response to the growing number of Venezuelan migrants who are stuck on the border, MedGlobal also partnered with UNHCR and other organizations to provide health services at the Tienditas Bridge, where a shelter was established to care for Venezuelans on the border. MedGlobal has also distributed a range of critically needed supplies and equipment, including portable ventilators to a COVID-19 treatment center and “mother-and-baby” kits for pregnant women.

  • Ecuador: The COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc on Santa Elena, which became the epicenter of the crisis in Ecuador. MedGlobal worked to support this community, providing over 70,000 PPE items and medications for 6,000 patients in Santa Elena, more than any other NGO. In partnership with Parametria and the MUEVE Foundation, MedGlobal provided food and hygiene kits to displaced Venezuelan families. We also led trainings for health workers on clinical management of COVID-19 patients, caring for patients in their homes, and health education campaigns. 

  • Gaza: In the fall of 2020, COVID-19 began to spread rapidly in Gaza, and has pushed the already fragile health system to the brink of collapse. In 2020, MedGlobal provided essential supplies to local hospitals, including over 700,000 PPE items to protect vulnerable health workers, sanitizing supplies, and a critically needed PCR machine which allowed for rapid testing capacity to help stem the spread of the virus. MedGlobal also supports the Pediatrics ICU Department of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, where health workers have saved the lives of hundreds of children facing health emergencies.

  • Greece: Greece hosts tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in overcrowded camps. Starting in 2018, MedGlobal supported a clinic in the Moria camp on Lesvos Island alongside Kitrinos Healthcare. In 2020, MedGlobal launched an online training for health professionals on COVID-19 preparedness and clinical management of COVID-19 patients. However, on September 8, devastating fires destroyed the camp and our clinic, and displaced over 10,000 people. MedGlobal is now working with partners to identify the best means of health support for refugees and migrants as they cope with displacement, uncertainty, and the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • Lebanon: Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita of any country, with around 1.5 million Syrian refugees. In 2020, MedGlobal continued our support of health facilities in Bekaa Valley to serve vulnerable Syrian refugees. On August 4, a massive explosion in Beirut’s port led to an emergency and exacerbated the crippling economic crisis facing the country. MedGlobal acted quickly, establishing a medical tent immediately to care for the blast victims and providing local hospitals with critically needed medications, PPE, and equipment when they were struggling with national shortages.

  • Pakistan: Pakistan ranks in the top 10% of countries with the highest infant mortality rates worldwide. To reduce neonatal mortality, MedGlobal has led a train-the-trainers course in the Helping Babies Breathe resuscitation technique, teaching over 100 participants. MedGlobal also supported health workers in Pakistan coping with the COVID-19 crisis by providing nearly 27,000 PPE items and sanitizing supplies to Al Ghazi Trust Hospital in Punjab Province.

  • Sudan: In 2020, Sudan has struggled to manage the COVID-19 crisis while also suffering from record-breaking floods across the country and facing a recent refugee crisis, as tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees cross the border into east Sudan. As part of our COVID-19 response, MedGlobal supported eight hospitals medical supplies and equipment, seven of which were receiving aid for the very first time from an NGO. We also launched an emergency flood response, supporting 13 health facilities to manage the increase of water-borne and vector-borne diseases caused by the floods. MedGlobal is building an oxygen generator and filling station at Nyala Teaching Hospital in South Darfur, the first oxygen generator in all of Darfur, to build health capacity in the short and long-term.

  • Syria: Syria faces a protracted emergency conflict, and this year communities around the country were also hit hard by COVID-19. In northwest Syria, MedGlobal, along with Rahma Worldwide and Violet Organization, is building two major oxygen generator stations, which will help supply health facilities, especially those leading in COVID-19 treatment, with critically-needed oxygen. MedGlobal has also provided health facilities and isolation centers in the northwest with critical supplies and PPE, as well as supported families in the Atmeh IDP camp with hygiene kits and health services. In addition, MedGlobal distributed 200 oxygen concentrators and 100 CPAP/ BIPAP machines, or non-invasive ventilators, to communities in need in Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Latakia, Hama, Zabadani, Bludan, and Safita in partnership with local independent NGOs.

  • United States: Over 300,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, with disproportionate impact on marginalized and underserved communities. In response to the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the United States and hospitals being stretched thin, MedGlobal began a US-based response. In Chicago, MedGlobal worked with IMAN to launch a much-needed community testing site. We supported Saint Anthony Hospital, a safety net hospital which primarily serves people of color, immigrants, and those facing economic hardship, with PPE, a point-of-care ultrasound device, and a PCR machine to ensure rapid COVID testing capabilities. MedGlobal also recruited medical volunteers and provided supplies and equipment to the Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Facility, a hospital which serves as the healthcare hub for the Navajo Nation.

  • Yemen: After five years of conflict, Yemen is on the brink of famine and 80% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. Only half of all healthcare facilities are fully functional and almost all lack basic supplies. In 2020, MedGlobal worked with health workers and hospital directors around the country to identify the most critical needs to protect medical staff during the pandemic and support them with what they need to safely treat patients. MedGlobal provided 25 local hospitals and isolation centers in the most hard-to-reach areas with supplies, critical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and over 98,000 items of PPE. We also distributed nutritious food baskets to five IDPs camps in Al Hudaydah.

Join us in supporting communities around the world with critical healthcare in 2021.
With your support, the reach of our free health services will continue to grow.

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