COVID-19 Pandemic: How HOPE is Responding
Get the latest about Project HOPE's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Project HOPE has been working around the clock to provide protective gear and other critical equipment to doctors and nurses working on the front lines. We know how deadly and contagious this virus can be.
COVID-19 has now been confirmed in at least 15 countries where Project HOPE works. This includes Colombia, where more than 1 million Venezuelans have fled, and Indonesia, where large portions of the population are still recovering from devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. Project HOPE is already on the ground in these countries and actively responding to this growing threat.
Our strategy centers around training and equipping health care workers to ensure they are safe and have the resources they need to save lives—including here in the United States.
The stakes are high: If even one country fails to contain the spread of COVID-19, everyone on earth will continue to be at risk.
What We’re Doing
- Project HOPE is working to bring in protective gear for American doctors and nurses, as well as expanding access to eConsultations and e-learning platforms for frontline health workers.
- HOPE has activated its global roster of medical volunteers to provide staff surge capacity in hard-hit cities, including Chicago.
- In Puerto Rico, Project HOPE recently distributed N95 masks to a migrant center in Mayaguez. The masks will be shared amongst 10 satellite centers throughout the island.
- Project HOPE is ramping up vital training and contact tracing in high-risk countries like North Macedonia, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Colombia.
- Project HOPE has teamed up with experts from Brown University to launch a remote COVID-19 training program for health workers in at-risk countries to become infection control and prevention specialists so they can train other health workers in their communities. The first trainings have been held in North Macedonia and Puerto Rico and will soon expand to Kosovo.
- In Colombia, Project HOPE is providing case management and care for patients at coronavirus observation and treatment centers in two hospitals. We are also supplying PPE and infection prevention and control measures.
- Project HOPE has facilitated the shipment of 80,000 surgical masks to Indonesia.
- We are preparing for COVID-19 to impact the communities where we work and are working closely with our country leadership to determine their exact preparedness needs. We are ready to support Ministries of Health, frontline health workers, and communities as they detect, contain, and respond to this viral threat.
- We continue to help people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 access the health care they need, including those living with HIV/AIDS. Last year, this work reached more than 759,000 people around the world.
Despite the incredible challenge this outbreak presents, we remain dedicated to our mission and will not stop working to help everyone access the health care they need to reach their full potential.
Thursday, April 2, 2020: First COVID-19 Trainings Conducted in North Macedonia and Puerto Rico
Project HOPE’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand, with the first round of COVID-19 trainings conducted this week in North Macedonia and Puerto Rico. More than 40 health workers participated in the first training in North Macedonia, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. Today, those trainers begin educating health workers around the country. We expect over 1,000 health workers from over 150 institutions to receive the training in this next phase.
These remote-by-design trainings were created in partnership with experts from Brown University and will be underway soon in Kosovo and other countries where Project HOPE works. The curriculum will be widely available in English in the coming days, with Spanish and French translations underway.
In the U.S., HOPE is procuring a shipment of personal protective equipment, which will include N95 masks and Tyvek lab coats from their Indianapolis facility. Additionally, HOPE is preparing to provide surge support in Chicago starting next week, with medical volunteers helping staff a COVID-19 overflow space at the McCormick Center.
Monday, March 30, 2020: HOPE Providing Medical Surge Support, PPE in Hard-Hit U.S. Cities
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread inside the United States, Project HOPE has activated its global roster of medical volunteers to provide staff surge capacity in hard-hit cities and will continue to procure and distribute critically needed personal protective equipment to protect frontline health workers.
Project HOPE has activated its Illinois-based roster of volunteer medical professionals to provide surge staffing at the McCormick Center in Chicago, which will serve as overflow space for the treatment of moderately affected COVID-19 patients to alleviate the burden on hospitals with limited beds and equipment. HOPE is also partnering with the Weitzman Institute to expand access to COVID-19 eConsultations for primary care providers to consult with infectious disease specialists online.
Since the outbreak began, Project HOPE and its teams in Wuhan, Shanghai, and Beijing have been providing vital personal protective equipment and medical equipment to frontline health workers. As the number of new cases inside China continues to decline and manufacturing operations increase, HOPE is working with local manufacturers to secure PPE that meets internationally recognized standards and establish a supply chain from China to countries that are high-risk or are experiencing stock-outs of supplies. In addition to PPE, HOPE will source critically needed medical supplies and equipment as resources allow.
Thursday, March 19, 2020: HOPE Expands to Support America’s Health Workers and Underserved Communities
As confirmed cases of COVID-19 rapidly increase in the United States, Project HOPE is ramping up to support America’s response efforts.
“As a global humanitarian organization, Project HOPE’s mandate is always to respond where the need is greatest, and now the need is massive right here at home,” said Rabih Torbay, President and CEO of Project HOPE. “We will be supporting America’s health workers as they work to save lives and fight the virus’s spread. And because one case can ignite a cluster, we’re also looking at ways we can support underserved and marginalized communities that are unlikely to seek testing.”
This is not the first time Project HOPE has used its global expertise to tackle health-related issues in the United States. In 2017, Project HOPE responded to three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria – by sending medical volunteers to Texas, Florida, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
Friday, March 13, 2020: HOPE Pivoting Response to Focus on High-Risk Countries
As the number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to slow inside China, Project HOPE is pivoting its efforts to focus on global preparedness measures, initially targeting at-risk countries in southeastern Europe, East Africa, South East Asia, and the Latin America/Caribbean region.
HOPE teams in North Macedonia, Kosovo, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia are working to develop and prepare for response activities in coordination with local partners. Activities will include delivering preparedness and response training to health care workers, strengthening surveillance and contact tracing, and mitigating the risks of the virus on the Colombia-Venezuela border. Inside China, HOPE delivered 10 disinfection machines, 12 air compressors, and 15 ventilators to hospitals in Hubei Province this week. Despite the recent decline in new cases, Hubei Province reported there were a cumulative total of more than 4,100 severe cases as of March 11.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020: COVID-19 is now a global pandemic
Health officials in China are rushing to contain the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory illness that has infected more than 100,000 people and killed over 3,000 around the world. What started as a mysterious illness has turned into a global pandemic with massive ramifications.
Project HOPE is on the ground in Wuhan, helping support doctors and nurses on the front lines of the virus.
Friday, March 6, 2020: HOPE Deploys Defibrillators and Patient Monitors in Wuhan
As the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide tops 100,000, Project HOPE teams in China continue to assist frontline health workers working around the clock to halt the spread of the virus in the country. This week, HOPE procured 20 defibrillators and 20 patient monitors for eight hospitals in Hubei Province, where the outbreak originated. HOPE also distributed more than 400,000 face masks to four hospitals in Wuhan.
In total, Project HOPE has distributed more than 5 million pieces of personal protective equipment to over 27 hospitals across Hubei, Yunnan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Sichuan provinces and Shanghai since the outbreak began in January. Upcoming distributions include 15 ventilators, 12 medical air compressors, 10 disinfection machines, and 2,100 surgical gowns.
Additionally, HOPE is expanding its COVID-19 strategy in response to the number of cases rapidly increasing around the world and requests from local governments and partners. In addition to procuring and distributing medical equipment and supplies in China, HOPE will focus on strengthening the preparedness of global health care workers, particularly in low and middle-income countries.
Project HOPE is partnering with the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at the Watson Institute of Brown University to develop a health worker training package designed to rapidly and sustainably scale-up local capacity for COVID-19 preparedness and response, which will be piloted following requests from the Ministries of Health in Macedonia and Kosovo. Additionally, we are working with our country leadership in other geographies including North Macedonia, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Colombia to determine their exact preparedness needs and how we can support their ministries of health, front line health workers, and communities to better detect, contain, and respond to this viral threat.
Friday, February 28, 2020: HOPE Teams Worldwide Preparing for Pandemic Threat
HOPE teams around the world are working to prepare countries and communities that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, including in the Balkans, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Colombia and other high-risk environments.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, HOPE is identifying critical areas for support and is ready to assist. Programmatic areas could include: trainings on infection, prevention and control to protect nurses and other frontline health workers; advising governments on policy development and coordination; and supporting health outreach workers to conduct community-based surveillance, reporting, and contact tracing.
In China, HOPE continues to procure personal protective equipment and medical equipment for distribution. The following procurements are expected to be delivered to hospitals in Wuhan and other areas of need in the coming weeks:
- 15 ventilators and 12 medical air compressors
- 495,000 face masks
- 20 defibrillators and 20 patient monitors
- 1,500 masks and 500 face shields
- More than 2,100 surgical gowns
To date, supplies have been delivered to more than 22 hospitals across Hubei Province, Shanghai, Yunan Province, Jiangsu Province, Anhui Province, and Sichuan Province.
Sunday, February 23, 2020: Project HOPE Partners with United Airlines
United Airlines is donating funds to deliver desperately needed ventilators to 11 hospitals in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, which remains under lockdown and continues to host the highest number of cases.The ventilators, which can help save the life of a critically ill patient with a respiratory illness like COVID-19, will be delivered to the hospitals by Project HOPE’s team in China in coming days.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020: HOPE Has Now Distributed 4.5 Million Pieces of Protective Equipment
As health workers inside China continue to battle the spread of COVID-19, Project HOPE has now distributed more than 4.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment, including a recent shipment of 1.8 million respirator masks and 80,000 isolation gowns for use inside Shanghai and Hubei Province.
Last week, the Project HOPE team in China received a shipment of PPE donated by MedShare, SOS, Goods 360, and Mission Outreach, which arrived via donated flights from the UPS Foundation with additional support from the Coca-Cola Foundation. In addition to the respirator masks and isolation gowns, the shipment included other PPE such as surgical gowns, scrubs, caps and shoe covers.
Since February 3, HOPE has distributed more than 2 million face masks, 11,000 protective suits, and 280,000 pairs of exam gloves to public hospitals in Wuhan.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020: HOPE Receives 17 Tons of Protective Gear in Wuhan
Project HOPE has received a 17-ton shipment of protective equipment and medical supplies brought to Wuhan via four aircraft charted by the U.S. Department of State. The supplies include protective gear, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid donated by U.S. businesses and relief organizations. Project HOPE received the supplies and is working with the Hubei Charity Federation to facilitate deliveries to hospitals on the front lines of the outbreak.
Additionally, HOPE recently distributed protective equipment and supplies donated by MedShare and MAP International to the Neurology Department at Xinhua Hospital in Wuhan. Prior to this shipment, each doctor in the Neurology Department had one coverall suit that had been used for at least a week and was disinfected only with UV rays at the end of each day.
Project HOPE is working to facilitate two more airlifts of personal protective equipment this week and continues to support frontline health workers in Wuhan and Shanghai.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020: Two More Shipments of Protective Equipment En Route to China
Two shipments containing over 100 pallets of personal protective equipment are currently in transit to Wuhan and Shanghai, China, as Project HOPE continues to mobilize support for frontline health workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak. The shipments are bound for the Hubei Provincial Charity Federation and Shanghai Children’s Medical Center.
Our first large-scale shipment was transported to Wuhan on February 3, containing over 2 million N95 masks, 11,000 protective suits, and 280,000 pairs of nitrile gloves, which were distributed to six public hospitals in Wuhan. A second shipment containing 220,000 face masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles, and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls was distributed to Shanghai Children’s Medical Center on February 4.
Monday, February 3, 2020: First Delivery of Protective Equipment Arrives in China
Project HOPE staff in China have received the first shipment of critically needed protective equipment, including 2 million face masks, 11,000 protective suits, and 280,000 pairs of exam gloves provided by MAP International and MedShare, utilizing in-kind transport from UPS.
Additionally, part of a second shipment has also arrived, including 12 pallets of protective equipment donated by Latter-day Saint Charities. This shipment has been delivered to the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. An additional four deliveries of 68 more pallets will arrive Tuesday.
As China continues to urgently call for medical equipment and surgical masks, additional airlifts of protective equipment are planned in the coming days and weeks.
Friday, January 31, 2020: First Delivery of Protective Equipment En Route to China
As supplies are running low in China, Project HOPE is mobilizing multiple airlifts of personal protective gear and other critical medical supplies to support doctors and nurses in Wuhan.
Right now, Project HOPE staff in China are prepared to receive the first airlift on Sunday, which will include more than 2 million respirator masks, 280,000 pairs of gloves, and 11,000 protective coveralls provided by MAP International and MedShare, utilizing in-kind transport from UPS.
HOPE will support the delivery of the supplies to Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention and onward to hospitals in Wuhan.
Thursday, January 30, 2020: Project HOPE is Airlifting Supplies to the Front Lines of the Virus
Project HOPE is airlifting critical supplies to frontline health workers in Wuhan, China, including 220,000 face masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles, and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls. The donations are from Latter-day Saint Charities and will be bound for Wuhan in the coming days.
“Personal protective equipment is often the only barrier between a doctor or nurse and the critically ill patient during a disease outbreak,” said Rabih Torbay, President and CEO of Project HOPE. “The items being flown to Wuhan will help replenish stockpiles in hospitals on the front lines of this outbreak, some of which Project HOPE has supported for nearly 20 years.”
Monday, January 27, 2020: Project HOPE is Mobilizing Support in Wuhan
Project HOPE’s team on the ground in Wuhan is mobilizing a shipment of personal protective equipment to arrive in Wuhan in the days to come.
The equipment will help meet the immediate needs of doctors and nurses in Renmin and Zhongnan Hospitals at Wuhan University as they manage the massive influx of patients presenting with flu-like symptoms.
Project HOPE has a long history in Wuhan, having collaborated with Wuhan University for more than 20 years to establish the HOPE School of Nursing, which has trained thousands of nurses.
You Can Help!
Project HOPE is currently airlifting critical support for the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Here’s how you can help.
Donate. Our ability to respond when health emergencies spread depends on the generosity of people like you. Please make a generous donation to our Global Health Emergency Fund today. You’ll help us prepare for emergencies before they happen and respond quickly when disaster strikes, so we can help communities around the world when we’re needed most.
Volunteer. Are you a healthcare or other professional who would like to learn more about volunteering abroad with Project HOPE? Learn more about our volunteer program and join our volunteer roster
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Originally published January 27, 2020. Last updated March 18, 2020.