COVID-19 and Medic’s Response

Post co-authored by Josh Nesbit, Board Member; Isaac Holeman, Chief Research Officer; and Shreya Bhatt, Director of Partnerships. 

*This post is a first in a series of posts to share important updates and commentary on our Covid-19 response efforts and updates.*

As Covid-19 spreads across countries where we support partners and health workers – and where our teammates work and live – Medic Mobile has been focused on supporting global preparedness and response efforts in solidarity with the partners, health workers and communities that we serve. 

Our efforts have been grounded in our prior experience during major outbreaks and fast-evolving crises, including earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti. They are also grounded in a few undeniable truths. First, we know Covid will disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable, and may in fact deepen prevailing inequalities. Second, the global community will need to adopt a systems strengthening approach to Covid-19 response, not only to support with immediate needs but also to preserve the gains made to-date in community health and to create more robust, resilient and prepared health systems going forward. Third, response efforts that build on existing platforms, infrastructure and relationships wherever possible with minimal disruption will have greater success and sustainability in the long run. 

With these in mind, we have focused our response efforts on several areas:

Accompaniment with Ministry of Health partners as they lead nationally-coordinated responses to understand their prevention, surveillance, and response requirements, identify challenges, and assess where our expertise, skills, and tools can help. A core tenet of our organizational DNA has been a laser-focus on people first, and this is crucial now more than ever before. Several of our teammates in Nepal, Kenya and Senegal have been informally seconded to Ministry Health Emergency Operations Centres, Epidemiology and Disease Control Divisions, and other response working groups and coalitions, and are participating in daily meetings and activities to listen, learn, and where possible, provide support and thought partnership. Several of our partner organizations such as Partners in Health have also adopted similar approaches to accompanying Ministry partners. We look forward to this collaborative approach becoming a new normal in service of health system strengthening and preparedness.

Evolving existing digital health systems based on needs articulated by our partners. In countries with large deployments of the Community Health Toolkit in partnership with Ministries of Health, such as Nepal and Kenya, we are exploring opportunities to layer on Covid-19 prevention, surveillance, and case management workflows to these platforms in line with the Ministries’ strategic priorities. We are particularly focused on supporting surveillance and home-based care efforts as well as empowering and protecting frontline health workers at the community level. Across other CHT deployments in partnership with community health implementers, we are exploring standardization of Covid-19 care guides, protocols, and data standards. Stay tuned for more updates on these efforts in upcoming blog posts.

Coordinating with the wider digital health community, with a view to build on and strengthen existing systems, contribute content and ideas, lower fragmentation and enhance harmonization between existing digital health tools, systems and standards. We are closely reviewing critical information shared within the digital health community, and are participating in community events such as the recent ICTWorks-hosted COVID response workshop. The CHT was also featured in an ICTWorks post as one of 10 digital health solutions for the Covid response

We’re inspired by the perseverance, tenacity and empathy that Ministries of Health, community health implementers and the wider digital health community is displaying in the face of Covid-19, and we’re committed to playing our part in these challenging times.  

We will be continuing discussions on the CHT Forum, sharing resources on the Community Health Impact Coalition COVID-19 Resources document and continuing this blog series as our work evolves. 

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