The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is strongly committed to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease is a health threat with dire consequences to human health. The USAID MTaPS Program is on the frontlines supporting USAID’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
MTaPS’ mandate includes advancing the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), so the program is well positioned to respond to global public health emergencies, such as the current outbreak.
MTaPS has formed a COVID-19 response team to assist countries in developing rapid response action plans to manage the outbreak.
The program has rolled out COVID-19 action plans in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. These are countries where MTaPS already has an on-the-ground presence and access to local technical expertise, both of which are vital to mobilizing a quick response to contain the outbreak.
COVID-19 Response Strategies
The program’s approach to rapidly respond to the pandemic includes two critical strategies:
- Implementing end-to-end infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in health facilities
- Strengthening commodity management to ensure a sustained supply of and access to commodities, such as medicines, masks, and hygiene products
The program is drawing on the immediate threat prevention and preparedness strategies recommended by the World Health Organization and other global bodies. The approach also embeds existing national emergency preparedness and response plans and collaboration with national rapid response teams.
Photo credit: MTaPS Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, MTaPS worked with the Directorate General of Health Services to develop an online reporting system that strengthened supply chain management for emergency commodities at health facilities.
Photo credit: Jiro Ose
Strong regulatory systems are critical both during public health crises and normal times to ensure medical products are safe, quality-assured and effective. MTaPS is harnessing its regulatory systems strengthening expertise to support low- and middle-income countries in ensuring that COVID-19 medical products meet regulatory standards and save lives as intended.
Ongoing IPC Work and Outbreak Response
MTaPS’ ongoing IPC activities position the program to meet more countries’ response needs as they arise. Currently, the program works in 11 countries to build their IPC capacity as part of its support to the GHSA to contain antimicrobial resistance, which is a growing threat to national and global health security.
Photo credit: Ange Ouffoue
Hygiene in health facilities plays a critical role for quality care and preventing transmission of diseases. Insufficiencies can contribute to the spread of diseases, including COVID-19. In countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, MTaPS is supporting workshops where health professionals develop their skills in IPC to combat the pandemic.
Building Sustainable Solutions
Photo credit: Estelamarie Papa
In the Philippines, MTaPS has trained over 11,000 health workers from public and private facilities from all regions of the country by using a virtual platform so that physical distancing can be maintained while health workers receive the necessary information on IPC, health care waste management, and emergency supply chain management.
Trainings provided both in person and virtually in all 13 countries are essential in the immediate future to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, better support IPC and sustainably control outbreaks in the future.
COVID-19 Resources for Countries
Standard Operating Procedures
- Procedures for Disinfection and Waste Disposal for the Household with a Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Patient
- Procedures for Disinfection of COVID-19 Isolation Ward Area Patients
- Disposal Procedures for COVID-19-Related Medical Waste
- Procedures for Disinfection of Infectious Fabrics from COVID-19 Care Units
- Procedures for Handling Bodies of Deceased Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Patients
- Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a nonhealthcare setting of a patient with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
IPC e-Learning Courses
MTaPS developed a series of e-learning courses to help health professionals develop the knowledge and skills required for IPC. There are four courses in the series: one in French, one in English, one specific to Senegal, and one specific to the Philippines.