The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lebanon, on 21 February 2020. As a response to the outbreak, PCPM and several humanitarian organizations mobilised its forces in order to help fight the spread of the virus. Directly after the beginning of the pandemic, PCPM started its support for local communities through small interventions on municipality levels and a healthcare facility in Akkar, while assessing the needs and the gap that needs proper attention. Following a needs assessment for the healthcare facilities, it turned out that apart from the supplies needed to help in fighting the spread of the virus, healthcare facilities needed to be also prepared on the theoretical level to better fight the outbreak.
Thanks to the funding from Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund, PCPM provided technical support as well as procured and delivered medical supplies to Primary Health Care Facilities to support the healthcare frontline workers and additionally support the population at COVID-19 risk in Lebanon. Within this project PCPM was able to provide a comprehensive support package for 8 primary healthcare centers, that included training for healthcare workers, development Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for healthcare facilities, and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment kits (PPE) to healthcare facilities. Additionally, individual Infection Prevention and Control kits (IPC) were distributed to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.
Improvement of procedures to ensure safe access to healthcare
PCPM Medical experts developed and contextualized standard operating procedures while taking into consideration that they are relevant to the context of the targeted healthcare facilities while ensuring a holistic approach that considers the six domains of healthcare quality and explained by the institute of medicine namely: efficient, effective, safe, equitable, timely and patient centered.
As a result of this activity, 8 healthcare facilities have received newly formed SOPs, got trained on them and improved their ability to respond to COVID-19 pandemic in Akkar, Beirut and Bekaa regions of Lebanon.
In addition to this, a Knowledge Exchange Session between health facilities in Lebanon and Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital took place on the 17th of December 2020, to exchange experiences between the health facilities (primary and secondary) in Lebanon with their counterparts in Taiwan. Participants exchanged their views and experiences on the strategies adopted by the health facilities in infection prevention control during COVID-19 pandemic and reducing health facility associated infections (incl. challenges such as shortages of PPEs and medical teams’ wellbeing).
– I learned a lot at every stage of the project, especially during the implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), because this type of development and tools increase capabilities and have dimensions and extensions that serve the targeted health facilities in the long term – said Hanane El Homsi, activity leader from PCPM.
Delivery personal protective equipment
In addition to the technical support provided, PCPM also donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to the targeted health facilities. The content of the PPE kit was defined in cooperation with the medical staff and in consultation with the Ministry of Public Health. The provided PPE kit responded to what was most needed in the pandemic context – it included face masks and shields, gloves, gowns for medical staff, hand gels, detergents. As a result, 9 health facilities were able to provide health services in a safe manner thanks, using both the provided kits and the knowledge gained during the training sessions. – The quality and quantity of the materials distributed were very good and were sufficient for our facility throughout the winter period – said Ms Juliette Dargham, director of the Order of Malta Socio-Medical Center – Qobayat, one of the supported centers.
Support for COVID-19 patients
The last component of the project was distribution of individual kits designed to support families infected by COVID-19 or those at high risk of infection, in areas where local outbreaks were noticed. Almost 300 families received such kits, which included facemasks, gloves, detergents and other hygiene and protective items. Such complementary assistance was crucial for families who had a dilemma on whether to self-quarantine and respect covid measures at the expense of going to work to afford paying the rent fees, hygiene kits and cover other basic needs.
The project titled “Provision of Assistance to the Most Vulnerable Persons Exposed to Protection-related Threats as a Result of COVID-19 Pandemic and the Economic Crisis in Lebanon” was funded by Taiwan ICDF.