Adapting During the Coronavirus Outbreak
By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
In just a matter of weeks, coronavirus has changed all of our lives in ways that we never would have thought possible. Life as we know it has been turned on its head. As we’re adapting to social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, we’re all having to make rapid adjustments in everything that we do.
Responding quickly in times of need is something that MedShare has a good amount of experience doing. Our Disaster Relief program is designed to provide medical supplies and equipment to communities where there are gaps in infrastructure or lack of access to critical supplies needed to support recovery from catastrophic events. We work with partners throughout the year to pre-position supplies in our warehouse so that we are equipped to respond quickly when the need arises.
When the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global health emergency on January 30th, we were able to work with our partners to respond within days to provide several shipments of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to support medical personnel fighting coronavirus in China. Our efforts were focused on providing relief at the epicenter of the outbreak to help manage and limit the spread.
However, now that the epicenter has shifted and confirmed cases are increasing rapidly in the U.S., we’ve adjusted the focus of our relief efforts to healthcare providers and community clinics here in the U.S. Support of local community clinics is an important aspect of the work that we do. Community clinics address a vital need by providing healthcare to underserved populations. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been partnering to provide critically-needed PPE and other medical supplies to these community clinics and other nonprofit organizations as they work to contain the spread of coronavirus amongst the populations they serve.
While supporting local clinics is part of the work we do every day, what is new for us is the donation of supplies to hospitals. Typically, hospitals donate surplus supplies to us throughout the year. In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals are being overloaded, and there’s a tremendous need for PPE, including N95 masks, surgical and procedure masks, gloves, gowns, and caps, as well as ventilators. In response to this need, we’ve been partnering with hospitals in the Atlanta and New York metropolitan areas and the San Francisco Bay Area to donate PPE and equipment that they so desperately need to treat patients and protect the healthcare workers who are battling coronavirus on the frontlines.
We recognize that these are unprecedented times and that we all need to adapt to find ways to support those who need us the most. The challenge is great, but by working together, we can ensure that we’re getting resources where they can be most effectively deployed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.