HHI Responding to COVID-19
Heart to Heart International has launched international, domestic and local responses to COVID-19. HHI deployed a team of infection prevention and control experts to the Marshall Islands to develop the country’s COVID response and continues to support remotely. HHI’s Haiti team has a community health worker program focusing now on COVID-19 information campaigns. In Puerto Rico, HHI is working with partners to implement virtual monitoring and a helpline for those experiencing symptoms. HHI’s mobile medical unit with doctors and nurses is being utilized to support community members experiencing housing instability. Across the U.S., HHI is distributing hygiene kits for those in vulnerable populations. HHI has collected and distributed personal protective equipment, including masks, gowns, and sanitizers to clinics, hospitals and first responding organizations. HHI remains an active member of healthcare coalitions, providing gap support so that service organizations can continue to operate.
How to help:
COVID-19 Response Overview
Updated October 2020
Shortly after COVID-19 was identified in China in December of 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned healthcare experts from Heart to Heart International (HHI) to travel to the Marshall Islands to help under-resourced areas prepare for this new virus. By the time COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March, it was clear the impact of the virus was much greater than initially anticipated, and HHI launched a multipronged approach to address the myriad challenges of responding to COVID-19.
Direct Patient Care:
- HHI deployed medical and health care volunteers to COVID-19 hotspots throughout the United States to relieve overworked doctors and nurses. In partnership with International Medical Corps, volunteer doctors and nurses headed to New York and Chicago to assist with staff shortages.
- HHI partnered with Hope Faith Homeless Assistance Campus to provide free medical care to more than 600 homeless patients, including providing COVID-19 testing. HHI volunteers have dedicated more than 1,200 hours to provide care at the Hope Faith Medical Clinic, which has helped prevent trips to the emergency room and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- HHI has delivered 593 shipments (1.1 million pieces) of PPE to 38 states, 1 U.S. territory and 5 countries. The n95 masks, patient masks, face shields, gowns, sanitizer, and gloves that were included in these shipments are being used by frontline healthcare workers at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and more.
- Good hygiene is critical to infection prevention and control of COVID-19, especially in vulnerable communities. HHI has delivered more than 73,000 kits of hygiene supplies to 84 partners (food banks, homeless groups, nursing homes, public safety organizations, schools and more) in 26 states, including the 10 states hardest hit by COVID-19. (Total value of hygiene kits and PPE shipped = $1.7 million.)
- Haiti – HHI helped train vendors in Haiti’s large, crowded open air markets on infection prevention. Workers were deployed to educate the public on hygiene practices, detection of COVID-19 and medical follow-up. HHI also established hand-washing stations throughout the markets and has been improving sanitation and water quality to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in rural communities.
Testing and Training
- Through a partnership with University of Kansas Medical Center and the CDC Foundation, HHI has been providing free COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic essential workers in vulnerable communities. Individuals have been tested at community partner locations to best accommodate the convenience and trust of the populations. Providing accessible testing ensures populations that would not have been tested can contain the spread of the virus.
- HHI developed an Infection Prevention and Control online training program for businesses, nonprofits and healthcare organizations. The program was designed by HHI’s physicians, infectious disease experts and healthcare specialists and has empowered 114 organizations, serving more than 800,000 beneficiaries, to implement changes in their procedures and reopen their businesses safely.
The COVID-19 crisis affects all communities. HHI has been at the forefront of the fight against the virus by engaging volunteers, collaborating with partners, and deploying resources to strengthen communities through improving health access and providing crisis relief at the international, national, and local level.