IPCWell - Infection Control Consultant & Expert - United States

The article Apple PPE donation helps Zambia in the fight against COVID-19 and HIV showcases how big funding can help improve health conditions in underserved communities. Around 12.3% of individuals living in Zambia have HIV and require lifelong use of antiretroviral therapy. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted health centers across the country as many patients with this preexisting condition fear attending follow-up appointments at the risk of contracting the virus. It is imperative that people are not afraid to receive lifesaving medical care. Luckily, the Global Fund has been able to secure rapid COVID-19 testing and diagnostic equipment, increase treatment delivery to local communities, and provide health-safety education tools for health workers. Additionally, the increase of PPE available to local health care workers has helped ease the physical and mental concerns of contracting the virus. It is many Zambian healthcare workers hope that the increase in COVID-19 medical supplies will encourage their patients to trust their clinics and come back in for follow-up appointments.

This fight against COVID-19 is not just a problem in developing countries like Zambia. Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have faced similar problems with the lack of support and supplies within the United States. While often overlooked in healthcare, long-term care facilities are where many of our parents and grandparents live and are taken care of. While nursing homes may have a less than stellar reputation, they are staffed by people who put in maximum effort and truly care and support this vulnerable population. Unfortunately, around 40% of the total COVID-19 deaths are from those in nursing homes, whether residents or staff. This could be in part that nursing homes were some of the last to received proper PPE when the pandemic first started. Many nursing homes have had to reuse PPE which can increase their staff’s likelihood of contracting the virus. It is imperative that big funding become available to these undervalued populations in order to support their efforts in training and securing proper PPE.