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Global Update: Support Continues for Health Equity, U.S. Free Clinics, and Medical Efforts in Haiti



A health worker screens patients at drive-through event in Los Angeles hosted by the Shared Harvest Fund, which has launched the myCovidMD initiative to reach medically underserved communities. A recent grant from the Fund for Health Equity will support the group's VAXEQUITY effort to purchase a mobile unit and continue public health outreach and events. (Courtesy photo)

In Summary

  • Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity is awarding $9.3 million in funding to 49 on-the-ground organizations fighting health disparities.
  • The organization is working with Meta to increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake among U.S. parents and children.
  • In the wake of Haiti’s August earthquake, injuries have given way to malnutrition and other indirect consequences. Direct Relief awarded $600,000 in emergency grants to organizations treating those affected.
  • With the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, and the medical technology company BD, Direct Relief provided $300,000 in grants to U.S. clinics.

Top Stories

New Round of Grants Supports Groups Fighting for Health Equity

Vaccinations take place at an event in Los Angeles hosted by the Shared Harvest Fund, which has launched the myCovidMD initiative to reach medically underserved communities. A recent grant from the Fund for Health Equity will support the group’s VAXEQUITY effort to purchase a mobile unit and continue public health outreach and events. (Courtesy photo)

The situation: Non-clinical factors such as a person’s physical, social, cultural, and economic environments play a significant role in their health. For marginalized groups, these factors contribute to a lack of access to care and worse health outcomes.

The response: Direct Relief created the Fund for Health Equity to address these disparities. The newest round of grants will provide $9.3 million in funding to 49 organizations in 22 U.S. states and Washington, DC. Initiatives funded include a campaign to overcome anti-Asian hostility and its effect on well-being; a center supporting Black women’s wellness, and a program designed to improve birth outcomes for refugee populations.

The impact: “These funds will allow these exemplary organizations to continue innovation as they improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations across various communities in our country,” said Byron Scott, MD, MBA, co-chair of the Fund for Health Equity and board director of Direct Relief and chair of its Medical Advisory Council.

For Free and Charitable Clinics, a New Chronic Disease Initiative

In this file photo, a health provider and patient visit during a consultation at Church Health Center of Memphis, a free clinic that was one of 12 awardees of grant funding to support chronic disease management programs. (Courtesy photo)

The situation: Free and charitable clinics around the country care for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, in innovative ways that meet the need of their vulnerable and often marginalized patients.

The response: BD, the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC), and Direct Relief came together to build the Continuity of Care program, a multi-year initiative supporting clinics in expanding innovative models of chronic disease care. This round of grants distributed $300,000 to 12 US clinics.

The impact: “This important program helps our members provide important services…among patients in underserved communities,” said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC President and Chief Executive Officer.

In the Aftermath of Haiti’s Earthquake, Remaining Nonprofits See Malnutrition, Mental Health Issues

A nurse speaks with her young patient before an examination at a mobile clinic. (Photo courtesy of Health Equity International)

The situation: Nearly six months after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked southern Haiti, many NGOs have gone home and displacement camps have broken up. But the problems caused by the earthquake haven’t gone away. Groups working on the ground are treating widespread malnutrition, mental health issues, unmanaged chronic diseases, and other challenges.

The response: With the goal of providing flexible funding to allow these groups to meet essential needs, Direct Relief provided $600,000 in emergency grants to three nonprofits caring for those affected by the earthquake.

The impact: The funding will help pay for medications, fuel, training, and other tools to help people recover and the area develop greater resilience.

A New Campaign for Promote Vital Covid-19 Vaccinations

A child receives a Covid-19 vaccine in Nov. 2021 as her father holds her hand at a vaccination pop-up site in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The situation: Previous analysis showed that people in states with low vaccine acceptance reacted negatively towards mandates, and public discussions were deeply polarized. In addition, prior research showed that people who are hesitant toward vaccines tend to value personal liberty.

The response: Direct Relief, in partnership with Data for Good at Meta, launched an online campaign, which reached 1.4 million people in states with below average vaccination rates, designed to build confidence in Covid-19 vaccines.

The impact: In addition to the widespread reach of the campaign, the team behind it found that messages emphasizing social norms and personal choice can be effective at increasing vaccine confidence.

In Brief

The United States

  • Over the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 651 shipments to 454 partners in 46 states and territories, totaling $6 million in value and more than 27,000 pounds.
  • During the same period, $8 million in grants was distributed.
  • Shipments contained more than 1 million N95 and KN95 masks and nearly 600,000 doses of medications to treat various conditions, from diabetes meds and test trips to birth control tablets and naloxone.
  • Covid-19 has changed health care in the U.S. Here’s why that may be a good thing.

Around the World

  • In the past two weeks, Direct Relief has made 32 shipments to 26 healthcare providers in 17 countries, totaling $18.4 million in value and more than 1.4 million pounds.
  • A total of $715,000 was granted during the same period of time.

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