COVID-19 is a global health problem, but within the limited resource setting of LMIC it has the potential to have a catastrophic impact on healthcare providers and services. Massive expansion of critical care capacity, rapid recruitment of workforce and procurement of equipment and PPE which has been central to the response in many countries is simply impossible in systems which are resource poor in terms of staff, resources and finances from the outset. Continuing and diversifying our support for partner countries over this critical period is essential if we are to help them achieve the long-term aim of developing resilient health systems and increased health capacity for surgical services.
During the Covid-19 pandemic we have supported our partners through our PPE campaign which saw 3,000 N95 masks distributed in Zambia and Ethiopia, 1000 face shields, researched and developed resources in partnership with the WFSA concerning innovative, homemade PPE, guidance and multiple training resources. After collaborating with local groups and traders in Zambia to produce more face shields, surgical masks and surgical gowns 3,000 locally produced face shields, 1000 fluid resistance face masks have been made.
Our most recent campaign Take a Deep Breath focused on increasing the availability of oxygen and oxygen delivery devices as resources became immensely stretched and patients put at risk because of an oxygen shortage. Alongside this we have continued to support teaching, staff wellbeing and supported advocacy efforts to raise awareness of the challenges being faced by our partners in country. Hear our podcast with the RCOA here and read our joint letter to the UK government around provision of aid and vaccine equity here.