Getting PPE to Lebanon’s first responders
Americares' donation of medical supplies & personal protection equipment like hand sanitizer, gloves and N95 respirator masks provides critical support to first responders in Lebanon.
Shops reopened. Every day, fewer people were wearing their protective masks or strictly abiding by physical distancing guidelines. The influx of returning Lebanese diaspora from all over the world continued.
And then the country experienced a spike of new coronavirus cases, provoking another wave of uncertainty and fear. The government has declared a temporary return to total lockdown. All businesses except for health centers, pharmacies and supermarkets are again shut down.
Providing personal protective equipment to health care workers
Against this backdrop, Americares' most recent donation of medical supplies provides critical support. Americares has donated a shipment of hand sanitizer, thermometers, gloves, gowns, shoe covers, surgical masks and N95 respirator masks, and automated blood pressure monitors to Lebanon.
Anera’s medical donation team has partnered with the Lebanese Red Cross to deliver the medical equipment strategically to the ambulance centers where it is needed most. The Lebanese Red Cross is distributing the personal protection equipment kits to 46 of their emergency medical stations across the country.
The Lebanese Red Cross are the primary first responders, providing the ambulance services for all confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients in Lebanon, and the main provider of ambulance services in the country.
Faced with cases of local transmission of the virus and increasing risk, since mid-March the Lebanese Red Cross began equipping its entire fleet of ambulances with intermediate level protective equipment (including N95 masks, high-risk gloves, gowns and face shields), and all crews responding to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases with full protective equipment.
These measures, while essential to protect the volunteers, the public and the patients, rapidly depleted the organization's contingency stock of protective equipment.
“The support of individuals and the private sector was key in allowing us to continue responding to all ambulance missions without interruption,” says Georges Kettaneh, Secretary General at the Lebanese Red Cross.
Given the urgent need for the supplies, Anera’s medical donation team worked hard to ensure the donated items were delivered to the Lebanese Red Cross’ ambulance centers as quickly as possible. The process to clear customs typically takes weeks. Fortunately, we were able to clear the shipment for distribution only three days after it arrived at the Lebanese port.
The support of the international medical community is vital in ensuring that the Red Cross is able to secure the large amounts of personal protective equipment it needs each month. Anera and the Lebanese Red Cross have partnered in the past. Anera facilitates shipments of medicines to Lebanese Red Cross dispensaries, and the Lebanese Red Cross has trained Anera’s staff and students attending online education courses in Lebanon.
In response to the global pandemic, Americares has provided protective gear and infection control supplies to health facilities in ten countries, including Lebanon. The US-based organization is a leading international medical donor, supporting health services around the world.