COVID-19 Resources

Welcome to the I-TECH COVID-19 Resources page. Below you will find a catalog of weekly digests sent to I-TECH worldwide staff, with a round-up of news from our country offices, as well as national and I-TECH responses. To the right, you’ll find the most recent PEPFAR guidance, as well as a list of resources and presentations our staff has found helpful and FAQs we have received from staff.

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly round-ups below represent a summary of daily communications from I-TECH country offices to I-TECH headquarters in Seattle. They are based on our country office perspective only and are not meant to represent a full national picture in each country.

While we do our best to keep our staff up to date with guidelines, one of the most reliable sources of information is the World Health Organization Coronavirus Technical Guidance website.

If you are interested in UW resources, please visit the UW COVID-19 resources page for general information about telework, UW resources, and UW information sources.

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digests

26 June 2020
19 June 2020
12 June 2020
5 June 2020
29 May 2020
22 May 2020
15 May 2020
8 May 2020
1 May 2020
24 April 2020
17 April 2020
10 April 2020
3 April 2020
27 March 2020

 

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 26 June 2020

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 26 June 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 8,366,417 9,454,051 13% 450,087 483,686 7%
Africa (1.2 B) 201,178 258,752 29%    
Botswana (2.3 M) 79 125 58% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 6,444 8,334 29% 49 60 22%
Kenya (51.4 M) 4,257 5,384 26% 117 132 13%
Malawi (18.1 M) 592 960 62% 8 12 50%
Mozambique (29.5M) 662 788 19% 4 5 25%
Namibia (2.5 M) 39 102 162% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 83,890 118,375 41% 1,737 2,292 32%
Tanzania (56.3 M)* 509* 509* 0%* 21* 21* 0%*
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 463 551 19% 4 6 50%
Asia (4.5 B)        
Cambodia (16.3 M) 129 130 1% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 380,532 490,401 29% 12,573 15,301 22%
Europe (741.4 M) 2,471,792 2,600,590 5%    
Ukraine (42 M) 34,063 40,008 17% 966 994 3%
Americas (1 B) 4,092,526 4,709,927 15%
Haiti (11.1 M) 4,688 5,429 16% 82 92 12%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 626 678 8% 10 10 0%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 123 123 0% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 2,149,166 2,367,064 10% 117,472 121,645 4%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

I-TECH Updates

I-TECH has had four COVID-19 cases reported in staff: one in South Africa and three cases in Malawi. All COVID-19 positive staff are in self-isolation and staff close contacts (any staff person who was within two meters for 15 minutes or more) have been screened and are in quarantine.  I-TECH will be disseminating protocols that describe actions to take when there is a COVID-19 case or probable case among staff on Monday. Please remain vigilant about maintaining safety procedures for COVID-19 in the workplace.

New USG Guidance this Week

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated on June 19. Guidance for resuming home visits by PEPFAR-supported cadres was updated; recommendations were outlined for adapting HIV services in the context of COVID-19 when they do not align with local policy; and a risk report was updated that described delays (in days) of HIV prevention services.

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 19 June 2020

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 19 June 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 7,410,510 8,366,417 13% 418,294 450,087 8%
Africa (1.2 B) 155,762 201,178 29%    
Botswana (2.3 M) 48 79 65% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 4,404 6,444 46% 41 49 20%
Kenya (51.4 M) 3,215 4,257 32% 92 117 27%
Malawi (18.1 M) 481 592 23% 4 8 100%
Mozambique (29.5M) 489 662 35% 2 4 100%
Namibia (2.5 M) 31 39 26% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 58,568 83,890 43% 1,284 1,737 35%
Tanzania (56.3 M)* 509* 509* 0%* 21* 21* 0%*
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 332 463 39% 4 4 0%
Asia (4.5 B)        
Cambodia (16.3 M) 126 129 2% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 297,535 380,532 28% 8,498 12,573 48%
Europe (741.4 M) 2,358,953 2,471,792 5%    
Ukraine (42 M) 29,753 34,063 14% 870 966 11%
Americas (1 B) 3,560,591 4,092,526 15%
Haiti (11.1 M) 3,796 4,688 23% 58 82 41%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 598 626 5% 10 10 0%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 117 123 5% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 1,988,646 2,149,166 8% 112,810 117,472 4%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

International Updates

Cases continue to rise in many countries. Jamaica is testing all tourist arrivals for COVID-19 and mandating face masks. In Trinidad and Tobago, government nationals can enter the country, though they are placed in a mandatory quarantine facility. In Zimbabwe, stockouts of personal protective equipment (PPE) are occurring. The Zimbabwe government has implemented a three-month salary increase and allowance for civil servants including those on pensions to account for the transitory economic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Africa, some businesses and group activities have been reopened.

I-TECH

In Botswana, I-TECH resumed HIV testing services this week. In Kenya, I-TECH confirmed with CDC the COVID-19 response activities, which will start this week. I-TECH will support policy and guideline development and an implementation plan related to quarantine, self-isolation and contact tracing in Malawi. The Tanzania office is planning to reopen on July 1st.

New USG Guidance this Week

PEPFAR technical guidance  was significantly updated on June 17. Guidance for resuming/reopening services was included; pediatric considerations for children living with or HIV/TB; infection prevention and control measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure in the healthcare setting was outlined; additional information on cloth masks from updated WHO guidance was included; and additional information on PPE and use was added.

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 12 June 2020

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 12 June 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 6,515,796 7,410,510 14% 387,298 418,294 8%
Africa (1.2 B) 121,104 155,762 29%    
Botswana (2.3 M) 40 48 20% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 3,262 4,404 35% 35 41 17%
Kenya (51.4 M) 2,340 3,215 37% 78 92 18%
Malawi (18.1 M) 393 481 22% 4 4 0%
Mozambique (29.5 M) 352 489 39% 2 2 0%
Namibia (2.5 M) 25 31 24% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 40,792 58,568 44% 848 1,284 51%
Tanzania (56.3 M) 509* 509* 0%* 21* 21* 0%*
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 222 332 50% 4 4 0%
Asia (4.5 B)        
Cambodia (16.3 M) 125 126 1% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 226,770 297,535 31% 6,348 8,498 34%
Europe (741.4 M) 2,211,148 2,358,953 7%    
Ukraine (42M) 25,411 29,753 17% 748 870 16%
Americas (1 B) 3,084,517 3,560,591 15%
Haiti (11.1 M) 2,604 3,796 46% 50 58 16%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 590 598 1% 9 10 11%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 117 117 0% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 1,837,803 1,988,646 8% 106,876 112,810 6%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

International Updates

As countries continue to ease COVID-19 prevention restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating, especially in lower- and middle-income countries and no longer concentrated only in urban settings. Latin America is widely acknowledged to be the new epicenter, with more than one-third of new COVID-19 cases occurring in this region in the last week,1 but Africa is also seeing a rapid increase in the number of cases.

I-TECH Updates

In Tanzania, the I-TECH COVID-19 proposal was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I-TECH will mentor the Field Epidemiology Training Program graduates to conduct surveillance including case investigation and contact tracing.  Zimbabwe’s team received and distributed surgical face masks to supported sites.

New USG Guidance this Week

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated on June 5 and June 10. Guidance for implementation of Virtual DREAMS content delivery was described, as well as updated guidance from WHO on face covering.

1. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/869053446/latin-america-becomes-a-new-epicenter-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 5 June 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 5 June 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 5,701,337 6,515,796 14% 357,688 387,298 8%
Africa (1.2 B) 92,929 121,104 30%    
Botswana (2.3 M) 35 40 14% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 2,641 3,262 24% 32 35 9%
Kenya (51.4 M) 1,618 2,340 45% 58 78 34%
Malawi (18.1 M) 203 393 94% 4 4 0%
Mozambique (29.5 M) 233 352 51% 2 2 0%
Namibia (2.5 M) 22 25 14% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 27,403 40,792 49% 577 848 47%
Tanzania (56.3 M) 509* 509* 0% 21* 21* 0%
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 132 222 68% 4 4 0%
Asia (4.5 B)        
Cambodia (16.3 M) 124 125 1% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 165,799 226,770 37% 4,706 6,348 35%
Europe (741.4 M) 2,102,574 2,211,148 5%    
Ukraine (42M) 22,811 25,411 11% 679 748 10%
Americas (1 B) 2,613,092 3,084,517 18%
Haiti (11.1 M) 1,320 2,604 97% 34 50 47%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 569 590 4% 9 9 0%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 116 117 1% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 1,675,258 1,837,803 10% 98,889 106,876 8%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29.
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

I-TECH Country Programs

In Jamaica, staff started returning to the office this week, observing protocols for workplace safety. In South Africa, the office was cleaned this week and Operations and Finance teams have started working in the office, with other teams returning in the coming week. The Cote d’Ivoire office has also reopened. Offices that are reopening are implementing strategies to ensure staff safety.

New USG Guidance

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated on June 3 this week. Guidance on the informal production and use of non-medical (or homemade) masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was given and personal protective equipment for PEPFAR-supported health care providers was also clarified. The guidance also includes small updates related to pediatric drug supplies and referrals for housing support for key population community members.

UW MetaCenter Newsletter

The UW MetaCenter has a new daily newsletter that provides a summary of recent scientific literature related to COVID-19. See past issues of the newsletter here and subscribe to the newsletter here. (If you do not wish to receive general information from the Department of Global Health, or information about events and opportunities, you will need to un-check those boxes.)

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I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 29 May 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 29 May 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 4,993,470 5,701,337 14% 327,738 357,688 9%
Africa (1.2 B) 71,752 92,929 30%    
Botswana (2.3 M) 29 35 21% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 2,301 2,641 15% 29 32 10%
Kenya (51.4 M) 1,109 1,618 46% 50 58 16%
Malawi (18.1 M) 72 203 182% 3 4 33%
Mozambique (29.5 M) 162 233 44% 0 2
Namibia (2.5 M) 18 22 22% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 19,137 27,403 43% 369 577 56%
Tanzania (56.3 M) 509 509* 0% 21 21* 0%
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 51 132 159% 4 4 0%
Asia (4.5 B)        
Cambodia (16.3 M) 123 124 1% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 118,447 165,799 40% 3,583 4,706 31%
Europe (741.4 M) 1,966,244 2,102,574 7%    
Ukraine (42 M) 20,148 22,811 13% 588 679 15%
Americas (1 B) 2,220,267 2,613,092 18%
Haiti (11.1 M) 663 1,320 99% 22 34 55%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 529 569 8% 9 9 0%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 116 116 0% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 1,525,186 1,675,258 10% 91,527 98,889 8%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29.
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

I-TECH Country Programs

As country offices start to reopen, each are expected to use strategies that increase staff safety and follow local labor laws. I-TECH Seattle has put together guidance for re-opening offices to further support staff safety and complement country-specific mandates (South Africa, for example). Guidance provides specific strategies, policies and procedures based on existing evidence to ensure staff safety.

New USG Guidance

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated twice this week. On May 22, PEPFAR provided guidance on resuming activities after lockdown restrictions ease, highlighted the importance of separating medication delivery from clinical care, and updated information on supply chain for antiretroviral therapy. On May 27, PEPFAR updated ANC attendance tracking and provided guidance on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) by implementing partners for HIV clinical services. Guidance states:

“Essential PPE may be procured by implementing partners for HIV clinical services under the following conditions: 1) For the protection of, and use by, implementing partner staff; and 2) Locally or regionally provided that such items are not, and could not reasonably be expected to be, meant for the United States market, including but not limited to instances where such procurements are needed to ensure continuity of safe and effective implementation of foreign assistance programs.

“Note: HIV testing (or other direct HCW-patient interaction for HIV services) should not take place where routine adequate PPE is not available, (e.g., gloves or mask for phlebotomy). Further guidance will be forthcoming.”

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 22 May 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 22 May 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 4,307,287 4,993,470 16% 295,101 327,738 11%
Africa (1.2 B) 54,190 71,752 32%  
Botswana (2.3 M) 24 29 21% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 1,971 2,301 17% 24 29 21%
Kenya (51.4 M) 758 1,109 46% 42 50 19%
Malawi (18.1 M) 63 72 14% 3 3 0%
Mozambique (29.5 M) 115 162 41% 0 0 0%
Namibia (2.5 M) 16 18 13% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 12,739 19,137 50% 238 369 55%
Tanzania (56.3 M) 509* 509 0% 21* 21* 0%
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 37 51 38% 4 4 0%
Asia (4.5 B)      
Cambodia (16.3 M) 122 123 1% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 78,003 118,447 52% 2,549 3,583 41%
Europe (741.4 M) 1,801,668 1,966,244 9%  
Ukraine (42 M) 16,847 20,148 20% 456 588 29%
Americas (1 B) 1,864,468 2,220,267 19%
Haiti (11.1 M) 234 663 183% 18 22 22%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 509 529 4% 9 9 0%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 116 116 0% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 1,361,522 1,525,186 12% 82,119 91,527 11%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29.
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

International Updates

Many governments have started lifting COVID-19 related restrictions using a phased approach. In Cote d’Ivoire, government offices will reopen May 26. In Jamaica, the work from home mandate will be lifted starting June 1 except for persons 65 years and older or any person with an underlying condition. In Trinidad and Tobago, manufacturing and construction sectors reopened this week. Ukraine started an “adaptive quarantine” allowing for certain sectors to open, including public transit, hotels, sports competitions without spectators, and parishes. For the next four weeks, Ukraine will continue to further lift restrictions. In Tanzania, the government lifted all restrictions and encouraged people to go to work.

I-TECH Country Programs

In Kenya, I-TECH presented during a webinar to the CDC and WHO Global Infection Prevention and Control network on Kenya IPC activities and COVID-19 facility readiness assessment using an electronic tool. There were more than 1,000 participants from multiple countries. In Cote d’Ivoire, staff started working at the office again this week. I-TECH headquarters will be sending out guidance and resources related to re-opening offices in the coming weeks.

New USG Guidance this Week

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated to provide guidance related to the ongoing shortage of LPV/r tablets and pellets.

PPE Survey

The topic of personal protective equipment (PPE) came up at a recent Town Hall hosted by the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) for civil society organizations. OGAC confirmed that PPE may not be procured with PEPFAR funds until White House guidance is released. Currently, this is being enforced by HRSA but not CDC.

OGAC also indicated that they had not heard that any programs are out of PPE. If your program is out of PPE or if you have general comments for OGAC, complete this online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V7RJW59

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I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 15 May 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 15 May 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Area (Population) Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global (7.6 B) 3,759,967 4,307,287 15% 259,474 295,101 14%
Africa (1.2 B) 37,717 54,190 44%  
Botswana (2.3 M) 23 24 4% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire (25.1 M) 1,571 1,971 25% 20 24 20%
Kenya (51.4 M) 607 758 25% 29 42 45%
Malawi (18.1 M) 43 63 47% 3 3 0%
Mozambique (29.5 M) 81 115 42% 0 0 0%
Namibia (2.5 M) 16 16 0% 0 0 0%
South Africa (57.8 M) 8,232 12,739 55% 161 238 48%
Tanzania (56.3 M) 509 509* 0% 21 21* 0%
Zimbabwe (14.4 M) 34 37 9% 4 4 0%
Asia (4.5 B)    
Cambodia (16.3 M) 122 122 0% 0 0 0%
India (1.4 B) 56,342 78,003 38% 1,886 2,549 35%
Europe (741.4 M) 1,654,345 1,801,668 9%  
Ukraine (42 M) 14,195 16,847 19% 361 456 26%
Americas (1 B) 1,586,129 1,864,468 18%
Haiti (11.1 M) 108 234 117% 12 18 50%
Jamaica (2.9 M) 478 509 6% 9 9 0%
Trinidad and Tobago (1.4 M) 116 116 0% 8 8 0%
USA (382.2 M) 1,215,571 1,361,522 12% 67,146 82,119 22%

* The Tanzanian government has not released COVID-19 data since 4/29.
Source COVID-19 stats: 
https://covid19.who.int/
Source population: World Bank

International Updates

The UNAIDS and the World Health Organization issued a joint news release on May 11 that describes potential consequences of COVID-19 disruption to HIV care. A modeling exercise measured the impact of a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Over 500,000 extra AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, with a two-fold increase in mother-to-child transmission, were attributed to ART disruption, and impact was still observed after five years. Even shorter disruptions, for example three months, would significantly impact HIV deaths. The priority for all HIV programs should be to sustain and expand all vital health services and ensure continuous access to prevention, testing, and treatment services, especially ART.

I-TECH Country Programs

India hosted the first two webinars on COVID-19 for a network of medical colleges. The first session, “Disease Dynamics and the Science Behind the Lockdown,” was virtually attended by 796 people. The second, “Mental Health During the Lockdown,” was virtually attended by 550 people.

In Jamaica, a redirection of funds for food vouchers, transport stipends, and non-personal protective equipment supplies for HIV patients and HIV clinics due to COVID-19 hardship was approved. Malawi received a notice of award (NOA) for $250,000 from the CDC International Task Force to support the secondment of a new technical advisor to the Public Health Institute of Malawi for central coordination of COVID-19 response and to support the Emergency Operations Center. Zimbabwe received an NOA for $579,500 to support vaccine preparedness and disease prevention efforts.

In Nambia, Windhoek-based staff have started working at the office again. Guidance was given to staff for use of reusable masks and, for staff sharing offices, alternating times and days were scheduled to reduce number of staff in the office at any given time.

New USG Guidance

On 8 May, there was updated PEPFAR guidance issued, including information about the role of PEPFAR Coordination Offices in the larger USG COVID-19 response.

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 8 May 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 8 May 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global 3,175,207 3,759,967 18% 224,172 259,474 16%
Africa 26,663 37,717 41%  
Botswana 23 23 0% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire 1,275 1,571 23% 14 20 43%
Kenya 396 607 53% 17 29 71%
Malawi 37 43 16% 3 3 0%
Mozambique 76 81 7% 0 0 0%
Namibia 16 16 0% 0 0 0%
South Africa 5,647 8,232 46% 103 161 56%
Tanzania 480 509 6% 17 21 24%
Zimbabwe 32 34 6% 4 4 0%
SE Asia 57,088 86,294 51%  
Cambodia 122 122 0% 0 0 0%
India 35,043 56,342 61% 1,147 1,886 64%
Western Pacific 148,838 157,447 6%
Jamaica 396 478 21% 7 9 29%
Haiti 76 108 42% 7 12 71%
Trinidad and Tobago 116 116 0% 8 8 0%
Europe 1,461,404 1,654,345 13%  
Ukraine 10,861 14,195 31% 272 361 33%
Americas 1,291,917 1,586,129 23%
USA 1,035,353 1,215,571 17% 55,337 67,146 21%

Source:  https://covid19.who.int/

International Updates

In India, I-TECH will conduct COVID-19 related distance learning sessions for a network of medical colleges. Between 600 and 1,000 participants are expected to join per session. I-TECH Kenya will be conducting infection prevention and control trainings in two counties and will be testing the CDC facility readiness assessment tool. In Malawi, I-TECH is hiring an additional technical advisor to support the Public Health Institute. Two I-TECH staff in Mozambique contributed to the development of the Ministry of Health Pocket Guide to COVID-19 Prevention.I-TECH Country Programs

New USG Guidance

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated twice this week. On 1 May 2020, guidance was released with information about how to prepare for clinic closures; impact, and mitigation measures for PLHIV and orphans and vulnerable children food insecurity and nutritional status; and reporting and SIMS updates. On 6 May 2020, guidance was updated related to self-testing; and laboratory services including supply chain management, testing for viral load, early infant diagnosis, TB, and SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Tip of the Week

As countries move to reopen businesses, consider what steps need to be put into place to open I-TECH offices. The CDC has issued reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting businesses and other workplaces, including a cleaning and disinfectant decision tool. While the guidance is U.S.-focused, suggested strategies are relevant to international settings as well. For ongoing cleaning and disinfection suggestions once an office has been reopened, review the World Health Organization’s considerations for getting your workplace ready for COVID-19, which are applicable while there is still risk of COVID-19 exposure.

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 1 May 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 1 May 2020.)

Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Countries with I-TECH Programs

CONFIRMED DECEASED
Last Week This Week % Change Last Week This Week % Change
Global 2,626,321 3,175,207 21% 181,938 224172 23%
Africa 18,234 26,663 46%
Botswana 22 23 5% 1 1 0%
Cote d’Ivoire 1,004 1,275 27% 14 14 0%
Kenya 320 96 -70% 14 17 21%
Malawi 33 37 12% 3 3 0%
Mozambique 41 76 85% 0 0
Namibia 16 16 0% 0 0
South Africa 3,953 5,647 43% 75 103 37%
Tanzania 285 480 68% 10 17 70%
Zimbabwe 28 32 14% 4 4 0%
SE Asia 57,088
Cambodia 122 122 0% 0 0
India 23,077 35,043 52% 718 1,147 60%
Western Pacific 139,782 148,838 6%
Jamaica 243 396 63% 6 7 17%
Haiti 62 76 23% 4 7 75%
Trinidad and Tobago 115 116 1% 8 8 0%
Europe 1,284,216 1,461,404 14%
Ukraine 7,647 10,861 42% 193 272 41%
Americas 1,291,917
USA 1,035,353 55,337

Source:  https://covid19.who.int/

National Updates

While most countries are in extended lockdowns, governments are making comprehensive plans for lifting quarantine measures in stages or steps. In Ukraine, the government has outlined a five-stage plan based on criteria. Ukraine’s stages are based on risk levels and indicators related to disease transmission, number of new cases, recovery and hospitalizations. In Namibia, the government has released guidance for lifting restrictions in four stages, ending June 30. Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya are all in planning processes, as well.

I-TECH Country Programs 

In Zimbabwe, Zim-TTECH was notified by CDC that they would receive $579,500 to support COVID-19 activities. Zim-TTECH will support vaccine preparedness and disease prevention for rapid scale up and implementation of a SARS-COV2 vaccine when available; and infection control and prevention efforts for triaging at 250 sites across five provinces. Zim-TTECH will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure any identified gaps have targeted support to minimize COVID-19 spread in health facilities. In Tanzania, CDC redirected both carry-forward and Q3 activities ($83,000) to support training for case investigation and contact tracing teams, targeting Field Epidemiology and Training Program graduates and community health care workers.

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I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 24 April 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 24 April 2020.)

Epidemiological Update

Region/ Country Confirmed New Cases Deceased
Global 2,626,321 73,911 181,938
Africa 18,234    
Botswana 22 2 1
Cote d’Ivoire 1,004 52 14
Kenya 320 17 14
Malawi 33 10 3
Mozambique 41 2 0
Namibia 16 0 0
South Africa 3,953 318 75
Tanzania 285 30 10
Zimbabwe 28 0 4
Asia      
Cambodia 122 0 0
India 23,077 1,684 718
Western Pacific 139,782
Jamaica 243 10 6
Haiti 62 4 4
Trinidad and Tobago 115 1 8
Europe 1,284,216    
Ukraine 7,647 477 193

Source:  https://covid19.who.int/

I-TECH Country Programs 

Malawi will be awarded $250,000 to support COVID-19 related activities and Kenya will be awarded $250,000 to support strategic priority infection prevention and control activities for containment and prevention of COVID-19 cases at health care facilities.

This week the Zimbabwe team launched a tracker to monitor facility status, services, commodities, and personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data collected using the Excel trackers helps Zim-TTECH monitor trends, plan programmatic need and respond to shortages at facilities.

Funder Requests

The CDC requested the Zimbabwe and Jamaica program offices complete a survey to quantify PEPFAR support for COVID-19 response.

New USG Guidance this Week

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated this week to include suggestions for tracing individuals who have been lost to follow-up, pediatric antiretroviral therapy, and information for faith and community-based organizations.

Monday Guest: Kate Starbird

Kate Starbird, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at UW, will be joining us for our Monday morning COVID-19 update call. Starbird will facilitate a Q&A session on “Misinformation and Disinformation in Times of Crisis.” Learn more about her and her work here and here.

Tip of the Week

Be kind to yourself and others.
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – Nelson Mandela

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 17 April 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 17 April 2020.)

National Responses

In some countries, lockdowns and states of emergency have been extended this week. Country governments are trying to expand testing and proactively minimize transmission. Zimbabwe released a strategy to increase active screening for COVID-19. Jamaica has started mobile testing into certain regions and Kenya’s testing capacity has increased substantially. In South Africa, community transmission has been reported. The National Department of Health has deployed 10,000 community health workers (CHWs) to conduct household-based testing and screening and plans to add an additional 18,000 CHWs soon. Botswana will also start community testing this week.

The United States has now reported the largest number of COVID-19 deaths. Over 34,000 persons have died to date and 675,640 persons have tested positive. Most of the country is in a lockdown (shelter in place) and hotspots, especially New York City, account substantially for the total COVID-19 deaths to date. Access to COVID-19 testing and insufficient PPE are national challenges exacerbated by a fragmented health system where universal access to health care does not exist. Washington State, where the first COVID-19 hotspot was detected in the Seattle area, instituted shelter in place measures on March 23. These early and aggressive public health measures have been essential to interrupting transmission and ensuring that hospitals are not overwhelmed. Seattle’s health department released key tools that describe what will need to be in place before transitioning away from our current public health measures. In addition, states are working together to develop plans for lifting these measures in an iterative way to minimize rebound infections.

I-TECH Response

Infection prevention and control (IPC) capacity building and support has been identified as a need across our network. In Kenya, the Ministry of Health and WHO have requested technical assistance with building IPC capacity. I-TECH will receive $250,000 to assist with this scope, which builds on I-TECH Kenya’s robust IPC program. In India, CDC has started discussion about delivering an IPC course using a distance learning platform. In Malawi, a proposal was submitted to CDC for $250,000 from the CDC International Task Force funds. The funds would cover secondment of a new TA position to the Public Health Institute of Malawi for support of central coordination of the national COVID-19 response, and support to the national Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Programmatic changes and advocacy in country programs are not possible without the strong and resilient leadership of our country teams. Your leadership is evident now more than ever, as country office leadership negotiates redirection of funds, navigates donor relations due to programmatic disruptions, and leverages I-TECH’s technical teams to effectively support national COVID-19 response all while still maintaining other programming! Thank you to our country team leadership, in-country and at HQ, for effectively supporting our teams remotely and navigating new challenges in our country programming!

USG Guidance to Date

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated twice since last week. The first update (10 April) includes guidance on non-medical (or homemade) masks, HIV recency testing, age considerations for voluntary medical male circumcision, and orphans and vulnerable children enrollment. The second update includes information about supply chain management, including expected delays of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and non-ART drugs.

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 10 April 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 10 April 2020.)

National Responses

Across our network, India and South Africa have the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (6,412 and 1,934 respectively) outside of the United States.1 Most I-TECH countries have implemented a lockdown for varying degrees of time; some governments have imposed more stringent restrictions. For example, in Ukraine, children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult to leave home; only two persons are allowed out of home at a time; and anyone over the age of 60 years must stay home. In several countries, identification is required if you leave your home or a note from your employer that deems you “essential staff.”  Kenya, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, and Trinidad and Tobago have mandated face mask use in public spaces. Some new government mandates being released are contributing to social unrest. In Kenya, the government has given families 24 hours to bury any person that has died from COVID-19 related complications.

Misinformation continues to be a problem in many countries. In Haiti, some people do not believe COVID-19 is real and recently protested the arrest of a journalist writing “false” stories to support that belief. In Cote d’Ivoire, one of the COVID-19 testing sites under development was destroyed by the community due to misconception that it was a treatment site, bringing disease to their neighborhood.

While each country is trying to maintain HIV services, some prevention activities have been postponed. In Zimbabwe, voluntary male medical circumcision is suspended; in Malawi, recency testing is suspended and homebased HTS stopped. In Botswana, HIV testing services have been paused.

Namibia released standard operating procedures for management of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Kenya has updated pediatric guidelines, infection prevention and control for COVID-19 in homes and residential communities and released a position statement on use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19. Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages have been reported in Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, and test kit shortages have been reported in Cote d’Ivoire.

I-TECH Response 

CDC has requested a COVID-19 specific proposal in Kenya for infection prevention and control support, and in Malawi a concept note for activities to strengthen surveillance, laboratory capacity, and national coordination of the Public Health Reference Laboratory. In Mozambique, staff are discussing two proposals with HRSA for COVID-19 related activities. In Botswana and Tanzania, I-TECH is waiting for approval from CDC to re-direct some programmatic funds to support COVID-19 activities. Namibia is waiting for concurrence from CDC regarding a PPE supply order submitted. A request for reprogramming has been approved by CDC in Zimbabwe.

Across the I-TECH network our staff continue to provide care for HIV clients in health facilities, and some have been seconded to ministries to provide high-level critical support to government responses. We recognize the challenges and hardships that our colleagues experience both professionally and personally. As a society and more specifically, as an organization, we are indebted to you. Thank you for your hard work and dedication supporting our communities through this trying and unprecedented time.

USG Guidance to Date

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated twice this week. The update includes guidance for HIV testing and prevention including Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), multi-month dispensing, gender-based violence and children protection guidance including DREAMS, maternal an and child health service delivery, and women’s health.

Reminder

It is important to be able to minimize our food shopping trips. If any of our staff do not have resources to stock their homes with enough food and other necessities to last one week at time, please contact Shelly Tonge-Seymour (beano@uw.edu).

Tip of the Week

If you have any questions about effectively working from home, see UWHR’s Tips for Teleworking and this resource from Harvard Business Review’s Ascend. For ideas on how to work best within remote teams, see this webinar from UW’s Professional and Organizational Development (POD) team.

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 3 April 2020

Weekly Roundup

(Note: These updates are as of 12 p.m. PT, 3 April 2020.)

National Responses

COVID-19 cases are now present in all I-TECH countries. Malawi and Botswana both reported their first COVID-19 cases this week, though testing availability has been a challenge. Across the network, access to testing varies and remains very low in some places. For example, only 309 people have been tested in Zimbabwe to date. Efforts to increase access to testing are under way. South Africa has started door-to-door COVID-19 testing and all HIV testing sites have added COVID-19 testing. The Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency has made efforts to increase testing in Trinidad and Tobago, though test kit availability and access to certified testing staff remains problematic. Malawi received 20,000 test kits this week.

Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) is an ongoing challenge. Ministries of Health (MOH) are making efforts to procure PPE, though access is limited in some countries. Some countries are experiencing price gouging and inequitable distribution of supplies. In India, ART staff are getting PPE supplies from the government, but differentiated service delivery (DSD) sites are not. In Botswana, I-TECH is working with local tailors to custom make PPE. In Kenya, custom made PPE is not allowed in clinical situations, but the government is manufacturing PPE and masks locally for health care workers. Review the World Health Organization’s most recent updates to PPE guidelines. All I-TECH offices should continue efforts to procure PPE for staff, using sole source procurement if necessary, in order to expedite the process.

All I-TECH country governments have implemented a curfew and/or a country-wide lockdown. Political unrest and violence have been reported in South Africa, Kenya, and India. Migration continues to occur where borders allow, with citizens attempting to return home. In Mozambique, 24,000 migrant workers returned from South Africa this week before the border closed. Efforts are being made to screen and quarantine returning citizens in places where borders are still porous.

Access to HIV services remains a priority. In India, ART dispensaries are opening near patients for convenience and access. Zimbabwe and Namibia have implemented more multi-month dispensing (MMD); stock determines the length of MMD. For example, in Namibia the goal was for six-month ART, but due to current supply, only four months can be accommodated.

I-TECH Response             

Some MOHs have made specific requests of I-TECH teams. For example, in Malawi, MOH Public Health Reference Lab has requested I-TECH support in the development of standard operating procedures for COVID-19 testing. In Kenya, the I-TECH team is integrating droplet precaution and COVID-19 specific questions to the Infection Control Assessment Tool for facilities. Clinical staff in Namibia continue to provide HIV care. In Jamaica, the MOH invited I-TECH to join the COVID-19 & HIV response team. Clinic-based staff are also using electronic communication methods such as WhatsApp and a warm line to provide mentoring, clinical consultation, and support to hospitals.

Operations and finance teams have been instrumental across the I-TECH network to set up necessary operating procedures for staff to work remotely. This includes navigating internet support and airtime for staff, ensuring access to Quickbooks to allow for remote payment processing, and troubleshooting procurement of PPE to ensure staff are protected. Without the continued critical efforts of I-TECH’s operations and finance teams, staff would not be able to effectively work from home. Some creative approaches have emerged to mitigating work-from-home challenges: 1) Cote d’Ivoire is using Adobe Pro to e-sign necessary documents to ensure programmatic activity continues; 2) In Zimbabwe, a staff person parks a project vehicle at home so that the driver can transport staff working in the office, minimizing risk of exposure from public transport; and 3) South Africa is orienting new hires remotely.

USG Guidance to Date

PEPFAR technical guidance was updated this week. The update includes pediatric multi-month dispensing guidance, TB/HIV and COVID-19 clinical care and treatment guidance, and human resources for health recommendations for maintaining essential HIV services, including training.

***

I-TECH COVID-19 Weekly Digest, 27 March 2020

Weekly Round-Up

(Note: These updates are as of 11 a.m. PT, 27 March 2020.)

National Responses

COVID-19 has been detected in all I-TECH countries except Botswana and Malawi. COVID-19-associated deaths have been reported in India, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Jamaica and Ukraine.[1]  All governments have implemented some combination of measures to contain the disease including reducing the size of or eliminating gatherings, closing borders, establishing travel restrictions, encouraging hygiene practices, implementing social distancing measures and/or curfews, and closure of schools and non-essential businesses. India, South Africa, Ukraine, parts of Namibia, and Zimbabwe have implemented a national lockdown for a minimum of 21 days, with additional countries anticipating similar measures in the next week.

Governments, with USG support, have postponed what they deem as non-essential or elective procedures and have shifted to remote meetings and deploying distance-learning trainings to eliminate face-to-face contact. ART services are deemed essential and will remain open. Emphasis has been given towards ensuring that adequate supplies and medications are available for HIV programs and aggressive contact tracing of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Challenges have been reported across our network. Zimbabwe’s situation is particularly acute: nurses and doctors are on strike due to concerns related to lack of personal protective equipment; inflation rates are at 400%; food insecurity, and limited access to life-saving supportive care are compromising the health system. India is experiencing political unrest and food insecurity attributed to the national lock down. Cote d’Ivoire’s supply chain has been disrupted due to travel restrictions – no one can leave or enter Abidjan, the capital. Additional countries have reported fear that political unrest will likely occur in the coming weeks as well.

I-TECH’s Response

I-TECH has implemented policies to safeguard staff and their families from exposure to COVID-19.  All offices established policies (Namibia example) to ensure staff can work from home. Some offices have implemented modified office hours to accommodate operational and fiscal responsibilities such as ensuring essential approvals and processing payments. For example, in Malawi, the office is open from 10 am–2 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and is staffed by a rotating person from the senior management team to ensure payments are processed. All field-based activities have been postponed, with guidance from project officers.

I-TECH has contributed to national responses in a variety of ways. Tanzania and Malawi have seconded staff to support the national COVID-19 response. In Malawi, an I-TECH seconded staff is now the COVID-19 response coordinator for MOH Public Health Institute of Malawi. I-TECH Malawi has also deployed an additional technical advisor to support the National HIV reference laboratory to support COVID-19 testing readiness and confirmatory DNA PCR testing quality assurance. In Tanzania, I-TECH seconded a technical advisor to support the national surveillance response. In Mozambique, MOH converted an existing health center to a COVID-19 service delivery facility. I-TECH is providing follow up for the 10,000 ART patients transferred from the converted health facility. In Zimbabwe, I-TECH is working with CDC to deploy staff, tents and vehicles to support ART services and the COVID response, They are also developing an online COVID-19 sensitization training. For I-TECH staff working in health facilities, I-TECH has or is working to procure PPE as recommended by the World Health Organization for staff and is trying to ensure that adequate HIV commodities, supplies and laboratory reagents are dispatched to facilities. In Namibia and India, ECHO sessions have been held by MOHSS to discuss COVID-19 response and in Tanzania, healthcare worker sensitization has been held in partnership with MOH.

USG Guidance to Date  

All changes to I-TECH programming must be pre-approved with CDC or HRSA project officers and activity managers in advance. Any disruptions to programming as a result of COVID-19 should be documented and shared with project officers.

Procurement of PPE for I-TECH staff is allowable without prior approval. Procured PPE must be reasonable and based on number of staff needing it, frequency of use, and projected amount of time (such as a 6 week supply). OGAC announced on 23 March 2020 that PEPFAR resources could not be used to purchase PPE, ventilators or COVID-19 test kits for MOH counterparts for the larger country response.

The Quarter 2 reporting deadline has been extended to June 5 in two countries, with detailed guidance forthcoming. Follow up with your project officer to determine if deadlines have changed for your program. 

1. Source: https://hgis.uw.edu/virus/

Free and Low-Cost Classes for Professional Development

Because many working from home may be looking for ways to remain engaged, we have compiled a list of online learning resources:

TheLadders.com – Guide to 7 elite universities offering free classes.

USAID Learning Lab – USAID’s platform for generating and sharing information, tools, and resources on how development practitioners can work together to integrate learning throughout the USAID Program Cycle.

Coursera – Online courses (with or without a certificate) taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and education institutions. Varying in length and cost, they tend to last 4-6 weeks and are priced at about $29-$99 USD.  Free course options are available.

edX – Similar to Coursera, edX provides free to low-cost online learning from more than 130 global partners including world’s leading universities, nonprofits and institutions.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn Learning offers over 10,000 online training programs. A free one-month trial is available, then memberships are $20/month.