As we in Boston and across the United States gradually emerge from the isolation of COVID-19, we can begin to breathe a cautious sigh of relief. This is not the case for everyone around the globe. Health systems in India, Brazil and other countries in Southeast Asia are currently overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
On May 6, India — the world’s second most populous country, with 1.4 billion citizens — recorded 414,188 infections and 3,769 deaths in one day. Experts warn these numbers are likely dramatic undercounts due to testing limitations and inability of local hospitals to care for the surge of patients. For many of our global health partners, these numbers provide a glimpse of what is yet to come as health systems, even now, struggle to obtain lifesaving resources and lack vaccine access.
GDRHA continues to identify local collaborators to determine needs and assess the systems in place to secure, deploy and distribute appropriate aid.
When cases in India surged, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action (GDRHA) program within the Center for Global Health began coordinating a response, compiling a list of ways to help and collaborating with Direct Relief and Mission Oxygen. Global Medicine resident Pooja Yerramilli, MD has followed the situation in India closely and has been a key player in coordinating Mass General’s response.
GDRHA is also partnering with Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi to provide Mass General clinical volunteers who will contribute to weekly virtual case conference discussions with local frontline Indian providers.
Local Expertise, Global Commitment
GDRHA’s India response follows a year of deployments to other areas impacted by COVID-19. In June 2020, a team of nurses was deployed to Chinle, Arizona to support Navajo Nation at the request of the Indian Health Service (IHS). In the fall, a team was dispatched to Pine Ridge, South Dakota at the request of Pine Ridge Hospital. The hospital serves the Lakota Indian population and is the largest hospital in the Great Plains Area.
GDRHA also provided clinical care at a camp for asylum seekers at the United States-Mexico border in Matamoros, Mexico, partnering with Global Response Management, an international medical non-governmental organization, to supplement the clinic’s staff and initiatives.
As COVID-19 cases rise globally, the GDRHA team continues to identify local collaborators to determine needs and assess the systems in place to secure, deploy and distribute appropriate aid.
If you would like to support the team’s continued efforts to respond to COVID-19 and other crises across the globe, please click here.
For more information about global health efforts at Mass General, please contact us.