Global Update: Looking Back on a Year of Covid-19 Response, Miami Heat, and Supporting Puerto Rico’s Vaccine Rollout

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A Medical Reserve Corps nurse vaccinates a patient against Covid-19  at the Yolanda Guerrero Cultural Center in Guaynabo. (Ana Umpierre/Direct Relief)
A Medical Reserve Corps nurse vaccinates a patient against Covid-19 at the Yolanda Guerrero Cultural Center in Guaynabo. (Ana Umpierre/Direct Relief)

In Summary

  • Precisely one year into Direct Relief’s Covid-19 response, the organization has sent more than 29,000 shipments valued at $1.3 billion, and provided more than $50 million in direct funding.
  • Miami Heat donated $1 million to Direct Relief to address health care gaps in South Florida’s minority communities.
  • To bolster vaccination efforts across Puerto Rico, Direct Relief is supporting four health centers leading the way with $60,000 in grants.
  • As African health care workers address PPE shortages with locally made masks, Direct Relief provides $100,000 in support.

Top Stories

On the 1-Year Anniversary of Direct Relief’s Covid-19 Response, More than $1.3 Billion in Aid, $50 Million in Funding

Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe delivers masks to essential workers in Goleta and Santa Barbara (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief).
Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe delivers masks to essential workers in Goleta and Santa Barbara (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief).

The situation: Just over one year ago, a mysterious new coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, and spread quickly around the globe.

The response: Beginning on January 27, 2020, Direct Relief started a complex, multifaceted response, supplying PPE, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, critical care medications, and other essential medical aid around the world.

The impact: The organization has supported a worldwide response that has included testing, care for hospitalized patients, monitoring, prevention, and most recently, vaccination.

Miami Heat Targets Health Inequity in South Florida with a $1 Million Grant to Direct Relief

The HEAT experience serving meals to over 400 frontline healthcare workers and 150 patients at Community Health of South Florida Inc. (Photo: NBA)
The HEAT experience serving meals to over 400 frontline healthcare workers and 150 patients at Community Health of South Florida Inc. (Photo: NBA)

The situation: Communities of color have experienced higher rates of infections, hospitalizations, and death from Covid-19 than the general population.

The response: Miami Heat is fighting these injustices in their community with a grant dedicated to promoting health equity.

The impact: Direct Relief will provide additional support to on-the-ground health care providers in South Florida that serve these vulnerable populations.

In Puerto Rico, Vaccinations are in Full Swing. Direct Relief Is Supporting Local Efforts.

Kenia Arana receives a Covid-19 vaccination at the Yolanda Guerrero Cultural Center in Guaynabo. (Ana Umpierre/Direct Relief)
Kenia Arana receives a Covid-19 vaccination at the Yolanda Guerrero Cultural Center in Guaynabo. (Ana Umpierre/Direct Relief)

The situation: More than 160,000 Puerto Ricans have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with efforts aimed at health care workers, adults over 65, and educators.

The response: Direct Relief has supported Puerto Rico’s health centers throughout the pandemic, and donations of refrigerators have been vital to storing and administering the vaccines. Now Direct Relief is providing grants to four health centers playing essential roles in vaccination efforts.

The impact: The island plans to have more than 600,000 people vaccinated by the end of June.

Direct Relief Supports African Health Workers Fighting PPE Shortages with Handmade Masks

Nursing students at Kampala Int'l University make masks.
Nursing students at Kampala Int’l University make masks. (Photo courtesy of AAN)

The situation: Health workers in eastern and southern Africa are facing fierce worldwide competition for PPE.

The response: A Direct Relief-supported group has set out to make 1 million reusable masks. In addition, through the Covid Action Fund for Africa, Direct Relief has contributed more than 57 million pieces of PPE to providers In 12 African countries.

The impact: Frontline health care workers will receive much-needed protection as they care for their patients.

In Brief

The United States

  • As Southern California, a Covid-19 hotspot, fights to keep ICU beds available, Direct Relief provided medical aid, including 200 oxygen concentrators and 240 powered air-purifying respirators, to the region. $500,000 in emergency funding was also provided.
  • The organization made a $1 million grant to the Navajo Nation.
  • A $250,000 grant to the Community Health Center Association of Mississippi will fund a program designed to reduce food insecurity and improve chronic disease outcomes.

Around the World

  • $900,000 in medical aid, including inhalers, steroids, antibiotics, diabetic medications, and more, is being provided to the Gaza Health Center at the Gaza-Erez border.
  • After Cyclone Eloise pummeled southern Africa, Direct Relief sent a $50,000 emergency grant to the region.
  • 2 million masks were sent to Mexico at a critical juncture in the country’s Covid-19 response.
  • Shortage of a vital medication is killing mothers in Nepal. Direct Relief is delivering more than 34,000 doses to the country.
  • A large shipment of midwife kits was delivered to the Tanzania Association of Midwives, to be distributed to 50 government facilities. The shipment was delivered in coordination with the International Confederation of Midwives.
  • Five ventilators arrived at the Edna Adan Hospital in Somaliland.

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