Updated: 18 May 2020
As part of VAW Global Health Alliances’ response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we are working hard to ensure that your safety and the safety of our in-country staff and community members remains our top priority.
Both our global and local leadership teams have been monitoring developments surrounding the outbreak on a regular basis. We have been utilizing information, reports and guidance prepared and issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of State and the local Ministries of Health across all countries we have a presence in.
In compliance with heightened travel restrictions and border closures worldwide, VAW Global has postponed all trips for interns until June 26th, 2020. In the United States, the federal government and many local and state governments have begun to ease restrictions and freedom of movement is beginning to resume; many countries around the world are following similar steps of slowly easing restrictions and opening up businesses again. Most countries have a multi-phase plan for opening up and resuming activities as normal.
VAW Global has taken several precautionary measures to support the health and safety of all interns, staff, and community members including the following:
1. Educating all interns and staff on safe hygiene practices as recommended by the CDC and WHO;
2. Ensuring extra supplies of soap and other hand washing products to maintain proper hygiene at all program sites;
3. Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing all housing and office facilities and transportation vehicles at all outreach sites;
4. Working closely with airlines for more flexible airfare contracts;
5. Assisting team transfers for interns who cannot travel with their original team;
6. Adjusting guidelines to help reschedule pre-planned team trips;
7. Increasing flexibility for the deposit deadlines;
8. Establishing additional risk management policies and emergency protocols;
As clinics are reopened, we will be adopting additional security measures, including:
9. Taking the temperature of every patient before they enter clinic spaces;
10. Limiting the number of patients allowed inside clinic facilities at one time;
11. Increasing access to hand washing facilities, including soap and water or hand sanitizer, for all interns, staff and patients at clinics;
12. Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing during clinics.
VAW Global will continue to monitor the reports and recommendations issued by the CDC, WHO, U.S. Department of State, and local Ministries of Health and will be sure to update all of you with any new information.
What You Can Do
- Keep up to date with current guidelines and recommendations by only trusted resources. We suggest relying on the following sources:
- Practice good hygiene: Wash hands frequently using soap and water and/or hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol); avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects;
- Practice physical distancing (we still encourage maintaining healthy social relationships!) and avoid going outside unless absolutely necessary (eg, purchasing food, medical appointments, etc) for at least the next two weeks;
- Maintain social relationships: set up a video call coffee hour with friends, move your bookclub online or “meet up” with a friend or family member virtually to do some exercise!
- Monitor your local news station to ensure you are following all local mandates to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Check out our list of free online resources here available to help keep you occupied while in quarantine.
We understand the ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19 and the disruption this has caused on a global level. Please remember we are available to support you however we can. Your passion, enthusiasm and support are critical to our ongoing sustainable partnerships with our communities and leaders around the world. In the event you have an upcoming trip planned, your Team Development Coordinator will work with you to provide all available options to stay involved.
Now, more than ever, we must band together to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to healthcare. We look forward to working with you at one of our sites soon!