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Global Update: First Hurricane of 2021, Supporting Covid-19 Vaccine Shipments, Ultracold Vaccine Freezers

Hurricane Elsa as seen Friday morning from satellite imagery. (NOAA/RAMMB/Colorado State University)
Hurricane Elsa as seen Friday morning from satellite imagery. (NOAA/RAMMB/Colorado State University)

Hurricane Elsa, the first of the 2021 season, is tracking through the Caribbean. Direct Relief has staged critical medical resources in the region in advance of the storm.

• Direct Relief facilitates shipments of Covid-19 vaccines from the government of Mexico to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica.

• The safety net is working to keep Covid-19 vaccination rates up. To support them, Direct Relief is providing millions of dollars in funding as well as ultracold freezers to stock the Pfizer vaccine.

• To increase access to contraception and sexual health education in Mexico, the organization has provided more than $84,000 in grant funding.

• A skin clinic in Bangladesh, bolstered by $81,000 in funding from Direct Relief and Vaseline, is caring for Rohingya refugees living in crowded camps.

TOP STORIES

Critical Medical Resources Staged as Hurricane Elsa Moves through the Caribbean

Direct Relief-provided Hurricane Prep Packs visualized along Elsa's path. Each cache has essential medications to manage chronic diseases, emergency first aid items, hygiene products and more.

The situation: Building in strength over warm waters in the Caribbean Friday morning, Hurricane Elsa is the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The response: Each year, Direct Relief ships Hurricane Preparedness Packs to storm-prone communities across the globe. The caches are stocked with emergency medicines and supplies often requested after a disaster, and several have been staged in Barbados, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, and others are en route to St. Lucia and St. Vincent, which was the site of a volcanic eruption earlier this year.

The impact: As Elsa tracks across the Caribbean Sea, Emergency Response Teams are monitoring the storm for impacts. Direct Relief has offered support to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, and is ready to respond.


Direct Relief Supports Covid-19 Vaccine Shipments to Latin America, the Caribbean

Mexico's Air Force delivers 65,000 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to Kingston, Jamaica on June 30, 2021. Direct Relief provided cold shippers and logistics and customs expertise for the shipment between the Mexican and Jamaican governments. (Courtesy photo)
Mexico’s Air Force delivers 65,000 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to Kingston, Jamaica on June 30, 2021. Direct Relief provided cold shippers and logistics and customs expertise for the shipment between the Mexican and Jamaican governments. (Courtesy photo)

The situation: Latin America and the Caribbean remain the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Pan American Health Organization, with only about one out of 10 people fully vaccinated.

The response: The government of Mexico called on Direct Relief to help with shipping approximately 465,000 vaccines to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica, following earlier shipments to Belize, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The organization provided cold storage shippers, customs support, and logistical expertise.

The impact: The vaccine doses reached their destinations on June 24 and June 30.

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To Bolster Covid-19 Vaccination Efforts, Direct Relief Provides Funding, Ultracold Freezers

A CARE Clinic staff member administers a vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CARE clinic)
A CARE Clinic staff member administers a vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CARE clinic)

The situation: Covid-19 vaccination rates in the United States are slowing, and the safety net is getting creative – showing up to businesses, local festivities, and even patients’ homes to get people vaccinated.

The response: Direct Relief has already given $10 million to the nation’s health centers and $2 million to clinics to bolster their vaccination efforts. Most recently, the organization provided more than $50,000 worth of portable ultracold freezers to help safety net providers store and carry the Pfizer vaccine.

The impact: The funding and freezers will help clinics and health centers continue to vaccinate the country’s most vulnerable.

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Grant Funding Helps Women Access Contraception, Education in Mexico

CASA's Mariana Alarcón-Cassius passes out contraception as part of the center's effort to make birth control readily available at local businesses. (Photo courtesy of CASA).
CASA’s Mariana Alarcón-Cassius passes out contraception as part of the center’s effort to make birth control readily available at local businesses. (Photo courtesy of CASA).

The situation: While a national family planning program makes birth control available to Mexican women over the counter, many experience stigma and other barriers to contraception and education.

The response: Since July 2020, Direct Relief has provided more than $84,000 in grant funding to CASA, a center for sexual and reproductive health care in San Miguel de Allende.

The impact: The funding will help CASA’s patients access contraceptives, family planning, and sexual health education resources.

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A Bangladesh Skin Clinic Serves Rohingya Refugees

A father tends to his child's skin in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. As part of the Vaseline Healing Project, medical missions were conducted at HOPE's field hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh to bring dermatological care to Rohingya refugees without access. (Ellen Cho/Direct Relief)
A father tends to his child’s skin in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. As part of the Vaseline Healing Project, medical missions were conducted at HOPE’s field hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to bring dermatological care to Rohingya refugees without access. (Ellen Cho/Direct Relief)

The situation: In Bangladesh’s Rohingya camps, crowded conditions and limited access to running water create ideal conditions for skin disease.

The response: Bolstered by $81,000 in grant funding from Direct Relief and Vaseline, in addition to medical aid, HOPE for Women and Children of Bangladesh runs a weekly skin clinic.

The impact: More than 12,000 people have received free care and medication thus far.

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IN BRIEF

The United States

• Over the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 1154 shipments to 773 partners in 51 states and territories, totaling $6.9 million in value and more than 69,000 pounds.

• During that time, $639,000 in grants has been distributed.

• Direct Relief and Harvard University are coordinating researchers, along with public sector and safety net professionals, to improve response in communities hit by natural disasters.

• At a FEMA webinar, Direct Relief’s Leighton Jones discussed strategies for considering the LGBTQ+ community in disaster response.

Around the World

• In the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 58 shipments to 45 partners in 31 countries, totaling $131.2 million in value and more than 398,000 pounds.

• More than $1.6 million in grants was distributed over the same two weeks.

• As Yemen enters a second wave of the pandemic, a 40-foot container of PPE arrives in the country, destined to be distributed to its Covid-19 treatment centers.

• In coordination with Ecuador’s Ministry of Public Health, Direct Relief is sending a series of shipments of medical aid, containing vaccine administration kits, PPE, and 15 additional pallets of medicines and supplies.

• A fourth chartered flight of medical aid has landed in India, containing 882 oxygen concentrators, 2.4 million KN95 masks, and a range of other Covid-19-related supplies.

OTHER NEWS

A national campaign to increase vaccine access

The Hollywood Reporter:After 25 years, Bill Pullman is reprising one of movie history’s famous speeches. On Wednesday, Budweiser unveiled “Go Fourth, America,” a spot starring Pullman as President Thomas Whitmore from Independence Day, the 1996 classic also starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. Instead of rallying troops to fight off alien invaders, Pullman’s president calls on the world to support vaccination efforts to defeat COVID-19.”

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Freightwaves: The health care supply chain for humanitarian aid — Medically Necessary podcast

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