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Partner Spotlight: Protecting Health for the Most Vulnerable Amid COVID-19

Photo Credit: Partners In Health / Zack Declerck
April 7, 2020

This article is part of a “Partner Spotlight” series where we will be sharing the innovative ways SCSC partners are responding and adapting in light of COVID-19. 

Partners In Health (PIH) is a global health organization that aims to restore social justice by bringing quality health care to the most vulnerable in the world. PIH goes beyond the clinical setting and provides a preferential option for the poor in health care by working directly with communities to build capacity and strengthen health systems. At its core, PIH’s mission is both medical and moral, and based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.

Today, April 7, is World Health Day, and the theme this year is to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives that keep our world healthy. We cannot think of any better way to commemorate this day than to applaud the effort and commitment of PIH and its team of community health workers, as well other health workers, who fight the everyday battle of delivering quality health care under both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. 

PIH has been a core partner in research, programming and advocacy regarding public health since SCSC’s inception. We have collaborated to research and raise greater awareness on social support systems, as well as the importance of community-led health interventions. Our partnership is grounded in the belief that social connectedness should be at the heart of all health interventions, and that we must work with, not for the community to derive solutions to health issues. 

As COVID-19 rapidly and indiscriminately spread around the world, PIH immediately mobilized to protect the most vulnerable in the countries they work in. Leveraging deep experience in treating infectious disease outbreaks and responding to emergency situations around the world, PIH has implemented a four-pronged strategy to support some of the world’s poorest countries facing the greatest threat from this crisis: 

  1. Protect patients, communities, and staff against COVID-19 through the initiation of safe testing, triage, and isolation at PIH-supported health facilities.
  2. Provide dignified, high-quality treatment for people with COVID-19, and all patients at PIH supported facilities.
  3. Accompany Ministry of Health colleagues to support government response in each care delivery site and advocate for long-term health systems funding globally.
  4. Mobilize strong contact tracing systems via PIH’s network of skilled community health workers.

We know that a strong global response is needed to minimize the toll of COVID-19 and to save lives in the countries with the weakest health systems. PIH is well-positioned to not only help to save lives in this current crisis, but to also build up the strength of health systems over the long term, to ensure that they have better capacity to respond to future health emergencies. 

You can read more about PIH’s full response to COVID-19 here and follow their efforts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

SCSC is honoured to work with amazing partners like PIH, mobilizing both governments and civilians to improve not only health outcomes but a sense of belonging and connection within communities.