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Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Background

MCD International (MCDI) has over 40 years of experience supporting communities around the world to prepare and respond to infectious and communicable diseases, including epidemics and pandemics. Now, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, MCDI is leveraging that experience and its partnerships with the public and private sectors to forge effective pandemic preparedness and response strategies against COVID-19. See more about these COVID-19 preparedness and response effort as well as recent efforts against the Zika pandemic.


COVID-19 Oil Sector Preparedness and Response in Equatorial Guinea

The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the continuity of operations for critical infrastructure companies in West and Central Africa. This includes global oil and gas companies like Noble Energy (a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron) operating off- and on-shore in this region. In order to protect its employees' health and wellbeing, keep work facilities disease-free, and avoid interruptions in production, Noble Energy chose to engage MCDI to help plan and manage its COVID-19 pandemic response. The choice of MCDI was due to its success in reducing the threat of malaria within Noble Energy's operating base on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea.


As a result of the successful partnership between MCDI and Noble Energy, the following results have been achieved since the project's inception in July 2020:


492
Total number of people received in quarantine

484 (98.4%)
Successful releases to work after quarantine

100%
Successful releases to work after isolation

2
Work site outbreaks contained

1
Total international medical evacuations completed

0
Fatalities


Read more about MCD's COVID-19 Oil Sector Response in Equatorial Guinea


COVID-19 Community Response in Benin and Madagascar

Since 2010 in Madagascar, and 2015 in Benin, MCDI has been the principal recipient and executing agency for the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)/Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) initiatives in these countries to eliminate open defecation in rural areas nationwide and to provide sustainable and equitable access to sanitation services with good hygiene practices . A key element of these efforts has been to increase the number of people washing their hands. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, both of these initiatives have been rapidly and effectively adapted to support national pandemic response efforts to promote and facilitate handwashing and the supply of locally engineered and manufactured handwashing facilities as important actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


Madagascar

MCDI's GSF-funded Fonds d'Appui Pour l'Assainissement (FAA) program in rural areas of Madagascar is an established force in increasing the number of people living in open defecation free (ODF) environments through a Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is also focused on leveraging its network, capacity, and experience to help ensure access to safe water for as many people as possible to curb the virus. The program is conducting public relations campaigns to raise awareness, building hand-washing stations for schools as well as health centers, and employing local leaders to ensure the sustainability of these efforts. The program has also supported efforts to disinfect facilities required to support essential services during the pandemic including government hospitals and health centers. See the following video in French describing this work undertaking by one of the local non-governmental organizations supported by the FAA.


In September 2020, MCDI published with the WSSCC a Compendium of Best Practices in English and in French, which shares best practices in response to the coronavirus pandemic undertaken by the FAA project at the community level by the network of local non-profit organizations. Through the FAA program and this network of local organizations, MCDI has been able to mobilize more than 100,000 community actors for response and prevention measures, and by utilizing the community and institutional triggering approaches deployed as part of CLTS to coalesce local government support for the COVID-19 response and to induce handwashing among individuals at the community level.


Benin

MCDI's GSF-funded Program for Improving Access to Sanitation and Hygienic Practices in Rural Areas (PAPHyR) in Benin is an established force in the country for eliminating open defecation, providing sustainable and equitable access to sanitation services, and promoting improved hygiene practices. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in Benin, the PAPHyR program has re-oriented and re-trained its community actors to partner with local municipalities to help curb the spread of COVID-19.


As part of the PAPHyR program's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 through behavioral change communications on COVID-19 prevention including regular handwashing, temporarily stopping handshaking, wearing facemasks, social distancing, coughing and sneezing into the crook of their elbows, among other strategies. As part of this promotional effort, the Association of Basic Promoters of Hygiene and Sanitation, one of the local non-government organizations working with MCDI under the PHAPHyR program, produced and disseminated the following COVID-19 song.


Zika Community Response in El Salvador and Guatemala

Background

Starting in 2015, the Western Hemisphere faced the largest-ever outbreak of the Zika virus, a vector-borne disease mostly spread by the Aedes egypti mosquito. This outbreak was linked to severe birth defects such as microcephaly, birth defects, and other dangerous congenital conditions, as well Guillain Barre syndrome in adults.


Bringing years of expertise in disease surveillance, vector control, behavior change communication and community mobilization, MCDI was engaged by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through a Zika Community Response (ZICORE) project to respond to the largest-ever outbreak of the Zika virus El Salvador and Guatemala.


MCDI's ZICORE project worked in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Guatemala and the Ministry of Health of El Salvador, in-country USAID partners, the Guatemala and El Salvador Red Cross Societies and community-based organizations to reach at-risk populations. The core beneficiaries of ZICORE were pregnant women, women of reproductive age and the community at large. The project targeted municipalities based on their vector density, population density and poverty incidence.


Vector Surveillance and Control

ZICORE's community-based vector control intervention consisted of vector surveillance through pupae demographic surveys to identify the key containers in which the Aedes-egypti mosquitoes bred, and the use of adult vector traps in selected communities to monitor the Aedes-egypti mosquito densities and the impact of the community-based vector control efforts.


The project will relied on community cleaning campaigns targeting reduction of breeding habitats in the key containers where Aedes-egypti mosquitoes bred through the mobilization of community groups. MCDI's ZICORE project also supported the Ministries of Health and other USAID partners in El Salvador and Guatemala their implementation of larviciding activities, through social behavior change communications (SBCC) interventions.


Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)

The Project's SBCC interventions were oriented to support behavior change on Zika prevention and management at the community level following a socio-ecological model. MCDI worked with in-country partners to help develop national BCC strategies for Zika for Guatemala and El Salvador.


The messages of ZICORE's SBCC strategy included personal and household protection measures, vector control activities, promotion of prompt care seeking and referral, and information on the associated risks of the Zika virus.


Community-Based Surveillance and Referral

To detect suspected Zika cases and refer patients for further testing and case management, ZICORE supported existing community surveillance programs implemented by the Red Cross Societies of Guatemala and El Salvador that were most effective and mobilized communities to detect and refer cases to healthcare providers.