May 26, 2020

Having Twins in the Upper Nile

The 26-year old mother with her twins.
The 26-year old mother with her twins.

South Sudan has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. One in every 50 live births results in the death of the mother; with the high fertility rate, this means that each mother has a one-in-seven chance of dying in childbirth in her lifetime.

In an effort to improve the health of women and children, International Medical Corps has constructed facilities to support mothers and their babies with, among other things, antenatal and postnatal care, assisted deliveries, family planning (including proper birth spacing) as well as emergency obstetric care.

In January 2020, a 26-year-old woman arrived at a small clinic operated by International Medical Corps outside of Malakal, which is the capital of Upper Nile state in South Sudan.

The woman was already in labor when she arrived and the first baby was delivered shortly thereafter. However, as the medical team examined her, they discovered that the woman was actually pregnant with heterozygous twins, a rare condition where there are two placentas instead of one. To safely deliver the second baby, the mother needed to have surgery, something that was not possible at this first clinic.

To reach the clinic that could safely perform the surgery, they needed to urgently find a boat to cross the swamp located between the two clinics. As there were no boats available, International Medical Corps’ staff had to carry the woman to the second, larger clinic to save the life of the mother and baby. The area where these two clinics are located is in an extremely remote area of South Sudan — one with no roads or other means of transportation.

Thankfully, our team reached the clinic in time and an emergency cesarean section was performed. This surgery saved both the baby’s and the mother’s lives. By this time, the woman had been in labor for several days.

We thank the GlobalGiving community of donors for continuing to support maternal and child health in South Sudan.

The swamp where the team carried the laboring mom.
The swamp where the team carried the laboring mom.
Another view of the swamp between the clinics.
Another view of the swamp between the clinics.
May 8, 2020

Our Response to COVID-19: Puerto Rico

The medical shelter at Damas Hospital in Ponce.
The medical shelter at Damas Hospital in Ponce.

As a result of rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, International Medical Corps has been collaborating with local hospitals to help them prepare for and respond effectively to COVID-19, integrated as far as possible into our response to the Puerto Rico earthquakes. As of May 5, 2020, COVID-19 has caused 1,843 confirmed infections and 54 related deaths in Puerto Rico according to the World Health Organization.

To help bring this pandemic to an end, International Medical Corps is supporting healthcare worker safety in the 30 countries where we provide services. We are leveraging our 35 years of experience and the knowledge of our epidemiologists from the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the 2003 SARS outbreaks, and infectious disease response efforts to ensure that at-risk countries and regions, like Puerto Rico, are best able to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Globally, International Medical Corps is supporting relief efforts with the provision of supplies, screenings and case management, capacity building, mental health and psychosocial support, and the deployment of an Epidemic Response Team, as needed. For more details on our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-the-coronavirus-2019-ncov/

In Puerto Rico, we are collaborating with the Department of Health, Damas Hospital in Ponce, Hospital Universitario de Dr. Ramon Ruiz Arnau (HURRA) in Bayamon, Hospital San Cristobal in Juana Diaz, and Interamericano de Medicina Avanzada (HIMA) Cupey in San Juan to help them prepare for and respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Damas Hospital is a 330-bed teaching hospital in Ponce and Hospital San Cristobal is a public hospital located in Juana Díaz. The San Cristobal Health Network also includes three primary care clinics in nearby rural municipalities. Both Ponce and Juana Díaz are located on the southern coastal plain region — close to the epicenter of the series of earthquakes that damaged infrastructure, destroyed homes and reduced access to critical services in January 2020. We deployed four medical shelters to Damas Hospital and will supply additional shelters to San Cristobal next week to provide medical surge support that is integrated within our existing emergency response interventions for those affected by the earthquakes. Damas Hospital is using the temporary medical shelters to create an additional Emergency Department, and San Cristobal will do the same, with the inclusion of extra respiratory wards as well.

HURRA is a 306-bed hospital administered by the Department of Health and is affiliated with the University of Puerto Rico. HIMA-Cupey is a 70-bed hospital located in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the territory. The HIMA Health Network also extends into San Juan, Caguas, Fayardo and Bayamon. We are supplementing the capacity at the hospitals with three temporary medical shelters at HURRA and additional shelters to be constructed at HIMA-Cupey next week. At HURRA, the medical shelters are being used as an extra triage and check-in area for two patients at a time, allowing for six feet of space in-between them. HIMA-Cupey will use the temporary medical shelters to screen patients for COVID-19 outside of the Emergency Department, to decrease the risk of exposure for non-coronavirus patients.

Within International Medical Corps’ temporary medical shelters, our four partner hospitals will have the much needed additional capacity to support patients who test positive for COVID-19.

We thank the GlobalGiving community for continuing to support our emergency response efforts in Puerto Rico.

The view inside the medical shelter.
The view inside the medical shelter.
Medical shelters provide necessary extra capacity.
Medical shelters provide necessary extra capacity.
Apr 29, 2020

Our Response to COVID-19: Philippines

COVID-19 training on PPE in Manila.
COVID-19 training on PPE in Manila.

As a result of rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, International Medical Corps is temporarily shifting from providing emergency relief and recovery in response to Typhoon Phanfone and the Taal Volcano to focusing on the most emerging need – the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. As of April 22, 2020, COVID-19 has caused 6,710 confirmed infections and 446 related deaths as well as 693 recoveries in the Philippines.

To bring this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible, International Medical Corps is supporting healthcare worker safety in the 30 countries where we provide services. We are leveraging our 35 years of experience and the knowledge of our epidemiologists from the 2014 – 2015 Ebola outbreak, the 2003 SARS outbreaks, and infectious disease response efforts to ensure at-risk countries and regions, like the Philippines, are best able to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Globally, International Medical Corps is supporting relief and recovery efforts with the provision of supplies, screenings and case management, capacity building, mental health and psychosocial support, and the deployment of an Epidemic Response Team, as needed. For more details on our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-the-coronavirus-2019-ncov/

Specifically, in the Philippines, we have temporarily transitioned from our Typhoon Phanfone response and are now working with the Department of Health and Manila Health Officers to help prepare for and respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. In anticipation of additional cases, the Department of Health identified a total of four hospitals that may act as testing facilities. At one of these hospitals, the Santa Ana Hospital in Manila, we provided a medical shelter where the team is supporting surge operations, screening those suspected of having COVID-19, and establishing triage units and patient flow.

Prior to the outbreak, one N95 mask cost approximately $0.50; this price has now more than tripled, limiting local health systems’ ability to purchase crucial supplies. As a result of a global shortage of medical supplies and rising costs, we procured and delivered 200 PPE kits, each containing items such as masks, gloves, goggles, gowns, and others, to the Manila Health Department to help alleviate the strain on their local health system. In total, we have distributed more than 865,000 PPE and infection prevention and control (IPC) supplies in the Philippines as of April 17, 2020.

Complementing the PPE and IPC donations, we provided training to 44 healthcare staff, including physicians, nurses, non-medical staff, outreach workers, and more, on how to appropriately use the donated supplies — building their capacity to be more effective First Responders. Our teams also trained these same participants on related topics, such as: infection prevention and control procedures, the epidemiology of COVID-19, and isolation and quarantining protocols.

Finally, in addition to the previous trainings, we are working with the Manila Health Department to finalize a training-of-trainers curriculum related to the management of emerging infectious diseases by health facilities. The teams plan to include a variety of participants, including health professionals from the city’s six district health offices and hospitals who will use the knowledge and tools they gain to train staff in the city’s 58 health centers. Furthermore, the trainers will also host training sessions for Emergency Response Teams that have been established in the city’s barangays, or neighborhoods — exponentially spreading awareness and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Thank you to the GlobalGiving community for continuing to support our emergency response and recovery services in the Philippines.

Medical Shelter deployed to Santa Ana Hospital.
Medical Shelter deployed to Santa Ana Hospital.
 
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