Global Update: Covid-19 Vaccines, Refrigerating Medicine, An Essential Re-Accreditation, Diabetes in DRC

A look at Direct Relief's global activities.

News

Health

Covid-19 vaccines  are stored at Direct Relief's warehouse inside of ultracold storage on Oct. 14, 2021. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Covid-19 vaccines are stored at Direct Relief's warehouse inside of ultracold storage on Oct. 14, 2021. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

In Summary

  • As global demand for refrigerated medications surges, Direct Relief triples its cold-chain capacity.
  • At the request of the Mexican government, the organization helped transport 3.4 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses from the U.S. to Mexico.
  • Direct Relief has been re-accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
  • The Alisal Fire erupted in Direct Relief’s home county. The organization launched a large-scale local response.
  • Amid ongoing displacement and natural disaster, a DRC-based NGO is working to fight diabetes.

Top Stories

Tripling Cold-Chain Capacity to Meet Surge in Need

Refrigerated medications bound for countries across the globe are stored in one of Direct Relief’s cold rooms at the organization’s distribution facility in Santa Barbara, California, on September 29, 2021. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

The situation: Keeping medications refrigerated is an increasingly important part of medical logistics. Global cold chain pharmaceutical production is forecasted to grow 48% between 2018 and 2024, with a 27% growth in room-temperature production.

The response:  Direct Relief has invested $1.5 million to build and equip a new cold room and is now working to increase its solar and battery capacity to offset the increase in energy use.

The impact: The second cold room nearly triples Direct Relief’s pharmaceutical refrigeration capacity, helping the organization meet the growing worldwide demand for a safe, reliable cold chain.

Facilitating the Transport of 3.4 Million Covid-19 Vaccines to Mexico

Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Toluca, Mexico, on October 19, 2021. More than 8 million Covid vaccines between the U.S. and Mexican governments have been delivered, with logistics support from Direct Relief. (Photo by Andrea Tejeda for Direct Relief)

The situation: The U.S. is supporting Mexico with an additional 3.4 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses, and the Mexican government asked for Direct Relief’s help in facilitating transportation.  

The response: Direct Relief served as the licensed distributor exporting the vaccine to Toluca, Mexico, on October 19.

The impact: In total, the organization, working in close coordination with FedEx, has helped transport more than 8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the U.S. to Mexico.   

Direct Relief Re-Accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

Direct Relief staff prep refrigerated therapies for shipment around the world. Direct Relief was the first nonprofit in the U.S. to be accredited as a prescription drug distributor by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and the organization recently had its accreditation renewed. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

The situation: The Drug Supply Chain Security Act was enacted in 2013 when various state boards of pharmacy established a national standard for the country’s medication supply chain

The response: Direct Relief was the first-ever nonprofit to obtain this accreditation years ago. The organization recently received notification that it has been re-certified, showing that it meets the highest standards of regulation and monitoring

The impact: The certification reflects Direct Relief’s commitment to providing donated medications of the best quality available to those who need them most.

Supporting Santa Barbara County Amid the Alisal Fire

Direct Relief staff delivered N95 masks and eye medications to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department on October 13, 2021, to support their efforts to quell the Alisal Fire. (Amarica Rafanelli/Direct Relief)

The situation: The nearly 17,000-acre Alisal Fire erupted on October 11, about 40 miles north of Direct Relief’s Santa Barbara headquarters.

The response: The organization delivered N95 masks and other aid to the local fire department, sheriff, animal services, and libraries, as well as providing support to a local nonprofit and backup power to a health center. Direct Relief’s inventory of N95 masks was also made available to the public.

The impact: Wildfire smoke and particulates in the air exacerbate respiratory issues and other conditions, and power outages can destroy valuable medications. Providing PPE and backup power can minimize the impact of a wildfire.

Working to Fight the Growth of Diabetes in DRC

Association des Diabétiques du Congo hosts an annual summer camp in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, for young people living with diabetes. The camp teaches youth how to manage diabetes with medication, nutrition, exercise and self-care. (Photo courtesy of Association des Diabétiques du Congo)

The situation: Despite the growing prevalence of diabetes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country is more likely to receive attention for its history of civil unrest, disease outbreaks, or recent volcanic activity.   

The response: Since 2019, Direct Relief has supported the Association des Diabétiques du Congo (ADIC) with more than 350,000 defined daily doses of medication for diabetes and hypertension.

The impact: “Direct Relief sends us medicine of top quality. Some of the doctors, when they see those products, they say they’ve never seen them before,” said ADIC’s founder.

In Brief

The United States

Around the World

  • In the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 32 shipments to 33 partners in 27 countries, totaling $21.2 million in value and more than 189,290 pounds.*
  • Direct Relief is supporting prenatal nutrition for 45,000 women in Togo.*
  • Direct Relief sent 1.2 million doses of medications to Haiti including anti-infective agents, blood thinners, steroids, and personal protective equiptment, among others.*
  • During the same period, $1.1 million has been granted.
  • A new health center opening in Sierra Leone will provide maternal health care, minor surgeries, and more.

*Data reported using Lexio by Narrative Science

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