Webinar Series 2: ‘Donor and Funding Challenges for LMICs and Hospital Readiness in the Time of COVID-19’

April 10, 2020

Webinar Summary Compiled by Ashley Scott, IGHN Key Correspondent/MSc Global Health TCD

 Update from Ruairi Brugha, Professor Emeritus, a Former Head of the Department   of Public Health & Epidemiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland:

  • Advised using the WHO situation dashboard and Department of Health websites to keep up to date on numbers globally: Epicentre of the virus has shifted from Italy to the United States. China is at risk of a second epidemic. Africa is showing very little reporting reflecting possible complacency, and inability to react and test at capacity.  There are 19 deaths in Ireland, however testing is only capturing 10% of infections so the numbers don’t tell the real story. It is worrying that a high number of healthcare workers are contracting the infection through their work. Community transmission numbers are worrying with clusters of cases are increasing, suggesting containment measures are not being implemented effectively. Shortages of PPE (personal and protective environment) and high levels of stress of Healthcare professional could become intolerable.
  • Vulnerable populations are being hardest hit. The Department of Justice and Department of Health need to ensure optimal communication and collaboration to address vulnerable populations. Get in contact with NGOs to see what they need- staff numbers have decreased etc, but may be a space for volunteering.
  • In this for the long haul until vaccines can be developed or measures decrease the virus to very low levels.
  • Indirect effects of health systems being overwhelmed have potentially worse effects than the primary epidemic itself. Countries need to keep current programs going e.g. ARV distribution.
  • Find a way to help yourself to manage and you need to care for yourself before you care for others.

Panellists:

Nelly Comon, Manager, Donor Relations Department at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria 

  • Operational guidelines have been developed in countries authorising the reprogramming of funds to fight COVID-19 in these countries. This includes Ordering PPE, testing and information campaigns. Collaboration is crucial in addressing problems affecting multiple stakeholders to better support countries, such as addressing possible supply chain issues.
  • 24 countries have asked to reprogram their funding, and so far, 20 million dollars has been set aside to assist.
  • It is important for donors and partners to prioritise governance in funding to ensure that funds are provide without this being taken advantage of, and without reducing necessary funding for other important programs.
  • Countries need to continue with current measures to reduce the virus and collaborators need to work together to strengthen health systems towards the betterment of communities.
  • Operational guidelines for repurposing grants are available on the Global fund website.

Unarose Hogan, WHO Consultant, COVID-19 Hospital Readiness

  • WHO has revised formally existing checklists H1N1 hospital readiness checklists and are going to countries to review the key components including administrative readiness (surge capacity, communicative resources, human resources), clinical readiness (essential services, IPC, case management, surveillance) and support service readiness (logistics and management of supplies and pharmaceuticals, labs, essential support services).
  • Barriers to IPC include constrained PPE, inadequate isolation facilities and human behaviour. A systemic lack of reprioritisation of IPC in hospitalisation in low and middle-income countries is worrying, such as reduced engagement with clinical IPC in hospital settings and an absence of regulation around infection control training.
  • IPC is a role for EVERYONE in hospital settings and all hospital personnel need to be included in training.

 

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