Project HOPE Highlights the Importance of Health Security, Equity, and Access – Reflecting on Three Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington, DC (10 March 2023) – On March 11, 2020, WHO declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its third year, Project HOPE – the global health and humanitarian aid organization – reflects on the global health lessons around global health security, vaccine access, health equity, and rebuilding primary health systems.
“Tomorrow marks the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic declaration, signifying a sobering milestone for a global health crisis that claimed the lives of nearly seven million people and changed the course of modern history, while exposing major gaps in our global health system,” said Rabih Torbay, President and CEO of Project HOPE. “Over the past three years, Project HOPE has responded with PPE distributions, vaccine campaigns, healthcare trainings, health promotion, and more, but we’re also working within some of world’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities to improve global health security and rebuild health systems that are strong, resilient, and prepared to tackle public health threats.”
COVID-19 undid years of progress made in global health as access to essential health services was disrupted around the world. Notably, there has been a significant decline in routine childhood immunization rates with the number of “zero-dose” children greatly increasing, thereby increasing the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and polio, which poses an urgent risk to global health security. There has also been a decline in maternal health services, threatening to erase critical progress in lowering maternal and infant death rates. Additionally, the global health workforce is experiencing burnout at a historic rate, reducing the capacity of an already strained health system.
“Now that COVID-19 is at a transition point from its high mortality and morbidity, Project HOPE is focusing on helping health systems rebuild their capacity and ability to provide primary health services and regain progress lost during the pandemic. This includes disease detection and control measures, prevention efforts such as routine immunization campaigns, maternal and child health supports, and mental health and resiliency programs for our frontline health workers,” said Dr. Nagesh Borse, Deputy Chief Health Officer at Project HOPE. “Luckily, there’s international recognition for the need to prioritize and increase collaboration around global health security, equity and access — collaboration that would address the blind spots and inequities exposed by COVID-19 and ensure access to information and vaccines for all. Project HOPE is also participating in the discussions with USAID’s Primary Impact initiative, focusing on rebuilding health systems worldwide.”
Project HOPE has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response since the initial outbreak, acting as one of the only international relief organizations responding on the ground in China. Since then, the organization responded to surges in places like Nepal, India, Yemen, and the Southern U.S. Additionally, Project HOPE has distributed face masks, isolation gowns, protective coveralls, exam gloves, and other protective gear; and provided lifesaving medical equipment to support patient care and treatment, including disinfection machines, medical air compressors, and ventilators. The organization has also worked in partnership with trusted institutions to implement health worker trainings for COVID-19 response and for mental health and resiliency. Project HOPE’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts to date:
- Reached 1,207,194 people in 103 countries with pandemic preparedness and response efforts
- Distributed 18 million pieces of personal protective equipment across 15 countries
- Implemented mental health trainings for over 75,000 health workers in 40 countries
- Helped deliver COVID-19 vaccine trainings in 40 countries across Africa
- Provided COVID-19 vaccines to 30,906 people who were initially hesitant
- Provided direct medical services to 54,105 people affected by COVID-19
- Provided surge staffing for charitable clinics across the U.S.
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About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leading global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries around the world. We work side-by-side with local health systems to save lives and improve health. Our mission is at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information on Project HOPE and its work around the world, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.