Creative Health Care Solutions in Mali During COVID-19 Pandemic
By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely impact communities around the world, the responses to the pandemic vary greatly due to the lack of resources and infrastructure within many developing countries and resource-constrained communities. This has led to some very creative solutions to reach those impacted with the virus and ensure comprehensive care while protecting health workers.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, MedShare partnered with an organization in Mali named Muso, which was using some very creative ways to respond to the outbreak in Mali and protect health care workers. Muso works to “cure delay because no one should die waiting for health care”. They partner with governments to design, test, and scale strategies for rapid, universal health care. As part of their Proactive Care model, Community Health Workers (CHWs) actively search for patients door-to-door, to connect them to life-saving services early. They provide doorstep care in the home, and evacuate the sickest patients to redesigned community health centers, where patients get care with no out-of-pocket fees. CHWs play a pivotal role in rapid, global responses to COVID-19, including identifying suspected COVID-19 cases, administering tests, and supporting contract tracing, but they must be equipped and protected to do so safely.
In the early phase of the pandemic, MedShare donated three months of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Muso’s424 CHWs, 25 dedicated CHW Supervisors, and the 148 providers at the public primary care clinics with which they partnered. The partnership with MedShare supported a critical supply need for gloves, gowns, masks, face shields, and other primary care supplies as they worked to procure PPE for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. As health workers were equipped with PPE, they additionally trained all CHWs and supervisors in their sites on a new COVID-19 response curricula, and provided supplemental support including paid sick leave and staﬀing coverage. Together, these responses equipped frontline providers in their efforts to safely deliver care through low-touch protocols, boost community-level understanding of COVID-19, drive uptake of key prevention practices, and connect patients into Mali’s contact tracing and monitoring system.
“We have together protected our brave health workers to care for more than 330,000 patients without delay or interruption.”- Muso CHW
Muso also lauchned reinforcements to Mali’s medical oxygen system by providing critical oxygen supply and training. Mali’s facilities have minimal access to oxygen, limited intensive care units, and few ventilators. To Muso’s knowledge, no secondary referral hospitals in the country had oxygen equipment available for hospitalized patients at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Oxygen is critically important in the context of COVID-19 and for pneumonia, a leading cause of child death in sub-Saharan Africa. Muso has collaborated with the Malian government to expand access to medical oxygen in their direct service sites and nationally. Alongside other primary care materials provided by MedShare, oxygen supplies will mean life-saving care for the communities served by this reinforced system.
“Thank you, MedShare team, for your responsive personal protective equipment and primary care supply delivery in 2020. Both have been important supports of Muso’s comprehensive COVID-19 response, and ongoing work to deliver rapid, universal health care. We are so grateful for your partnership towards our vision of rapid health for all, led by protected and supported frontline providers.” Muso CHW
Muso continues their efforts to battle one of the key detriments to addressing the COVID-19 pendemic, delay. By equipping Muso and other health care workers with critical PPE, MedShare is also ensuring access to quality care while protecting our frontline health heroes.