May 1, 2020

MCDI New COVID-19 Landing Page

By Matthew S. Lynch

MCD's mission – to improve the health and wellbeing of people worldwide through enduring, high quality, cost-effective and universally accessible solutions – is more critical and relevant now during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before.

We are deeply concerned about the threat the novel coronavirus poses to the health and wellbeing of the global community, to the people we serve as well as to our staff, partners, and their families and friends.

Therefore, in partnership with the global health community, we are leveraging our expertise, capabilities, and extensive practical community-based experience in infectious disease management as well as health systems preparedness and strengthening to empower countries around the world to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our landing page to discover more of what we’re doing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 eTraining

MCD’s public health division (MCDPH) is pleased to announce the launch of a new Community Health Worker COVID-19 eTraining module offered free of charge in English and Spanish. MCDPH wants to ensure all communities across the United States including those facing significant health inequities have the resources to protect themselves and stop the spread and devastating impact of COVID-19.

MCDPH's comprehensive interactive CHW COVID-19 eTraining module covers crucial topics for CHWs including:

  • Various roles CHWs can adopt in combating the spread of the coronavirus;

  • How to communicate with community members about COIVD-19;

  • How the disease spreads and how to prepare and protect themselves, their family and their homes;

  • Common symptoms, testing options, and how to safely connect clients to health care services;

  • Steps to take when sick and caring for someone who is sick;

  • Myths, facts, and reducing COVID-19 stigma;

  • Managing stress, anxiety, and how to practice self-care;

The CHW COVID-19 eTraining module is the most recent module in MCD's online Community Health Worker Online Training Program. This eTraining platform has served over 3,000 users from health departments, health provider systems, and community-based organizations in more than 35 states. Other modules in the Community Health Worker Online Training Program cover chronic disease management including high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, diabetes, asthma, breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer. All content is offered both in English and Spanish. Participants receive certificates of completion.

We at MCDI, MCD's international arm, are adapting MCDPH's COVID-19 eTraining module developed for health ministries in Benin, Lesotho, Equatorial Guinea, and Madagascar through the Global e-Training & Technical Assistance Center (GETTAC). The module created by MCDPH is called the Community Health Worker COVID-19 eTraining module, offered free of charge in English (and coming soon in Spanish). The module ensures all communities across the United States, including those facing significant health inequities, have the resources to protect themselves and curb the devastating impact of COVID-19. There will be translated modules on GETTAC into several different languages in the near future.

COVID-19 Related Telehealth

MCDPH is also announcing new COVID-19 related capabilities of its Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC) thanks to a Coronavirus Telehealth Resources Center grant from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Under the NETRC, MCDPH partners with the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Telemedicine Program to provide free individualized technical assistance, education and other resources to health systems and organizations including hospitals, primary care clinics, mental and behavioral health networks, individual providers and others. Through the NETRC, and now with the added grant, MCDPH and its partners are helping hundreds of health care providers and systems across the Northeast of the US rapidly scale up and expand the scope of telehealth service offerings in order to meet the health needs of communities in ways that reinforce social distancing requirements, while ensuring continuity of care.

At MCDI, we are working with the private sector to ensure they keep their personnel safe while also mitigating any potential economic losses. We will assist companies such as Noble Energy, Exon-Mobile, and SBM Offshore - who employ a large number of Equatoguineans - with technical and operational support including telehealth technologies, prevention techniques, detection procedures, and appropriate responses protocols to COVID-19 cases.

ECHO-based Distance Learning

As a formal Project ECHO partner, MCDPH utilizes the ECHO Module to strengthen the capacity of frontline health providers by connecting them remotely with health experts and specialists from around the corner, around the country, and around the globe. The ECHO Model™ serves as a force-multiplier by supporting remote mentorship of healthcare and public health workforces through a case-based model which facilitates increased knowledge, expertise and competencies, and which results in more rapid adoption of best practices across a broad variety of health issues during the pandemic and beyond.

MCDPH is also currently developing a COVID-19 for Community Health Workers (CHWs) ECHO, with a focus on addressing the needs of CHWs and the challenges their communities are facing, including mental health and self-care. These sessions will be offered to reinforce the online eTraining for US-based Community Health Workers offered through its online CHW-Training platform. Through its work with NETRC, MCDPH is also serving as faculty on two Rapid Telehealth Implementation ECHOs under state and regional COVID-19 response efforts, one focused specifically on Community Health Centers, and one on general telehealth implementation across the eight-state NETRC region.

With the technical support from MCDPH, MCDI is developing COVID-19 ECHO sessions for front line Community Health Workers and Rapid Response Team in Equatorial Guinea.

COVID-19 Related Telehealth and Health Systems Preparedness

Equatorial Guinea

MCDI is working with the country’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to establish a national COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. With our support, the government implemented the following measures so far:

  • Establishing a comprehensive and functioning country level coordination, with an active participation of staff from MCDI in the COVID-19 National Committee;

  • Establishing a surveillance and case investigation system;

  • Designing and operating rapid response teams;

  • Developing emergency plans for points of entry, confinement, and case detection;

  • Training and SOPs for front line health providers on case management and operationalizing quarantine, isolation, and case management facilities;

  • Composing and implementing an infection prevention and control plan.

  • Constructing the first COVID-19 testing lab capability in West Africa through the new national reference laboratory with support from the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP)

Benin and Madagascar

We are supporting social behavioral change communications for COVID-19 through its community sanitation programs in Benin and Madagascar. We’re actively involved in promoting handwashing and social distancing messaging through a network of more than 120,000 community agents currently engaged in promoting the elimination of open defecation through two Global Sanitation Fund-sponsored projects. In addition, MCDI is supporting its sub grantees in the installation of handwashing facilities in public places, and the provision of disinfection services, risk communications, and community engagement in the fight against COVID-19. For more information on our work in Madagascar, see our 23 April blogpost (Un réseau d’Organisation Non Gouvernementale (ONG) mobilisé pour renforcer la prévention et la lutte contre le COVID-19 à Madagascar) and follow us on social media.

We are also providing technical and operational assistance to Noble Energy to establish quarantine sites and protocols; augmenting telemedicine capacity of available medical professionals; procuring telemedicine equipment, PPE, diagnostic supplies, cleaning and disinfection supplies; and conducting staff training in respiratory resuscitation, disinfection, and waste management.

Internal Technical Task Force

We understand the importance of rapidly emerging research and the imperativeness of updating people with the latest information, now more than ever. Therefore, we conduct weekly discussions for our staff from our Technical Task Force to ensure everyone is armed with the latest information of the COVID-19 situation.

Matthew S. Lynch is the Assistant Communications Officer for MCDI in the US.

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