Medical Teams International Offers Insights from Pandemic’s Front Lines

(Portland, OR) JULY 20, 2020—In Uganda so far this July, the Ministry of Health has reported 1,062 COVID-19 cases and zero deaths. By contrast, in the United States, there have been approximately 3.8 million cases and more than 142,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.* Uganda has a population of 45 million and the U.S., 331 million.

What is to account for the drastic percentage difference in number of cases, recoveries, and deaths? Uganda is a developing nation hosting approximately 1.4 million refugees and the U.S. is considered one of the most developed nations in the world. How has Uganda stopped this potentially fatal disease from spreading to the masses?

Medical Teams International is fighting the spread of COVID-19 in both Uganda and the U.S. The organization can attest that Uganda has learned its lessons from outbreaks of other communicable diseases. These lessons include:

  • Consistent public health messaging from the national level all the way down to the local level
  • The importance of building trust between the public and health authorities
  • Mandatory quarantine of any travelers
  • Rapid testing techniques to identify the sick and isolate them
  • Ensuring health care staff are protected with personal protective equipment
  • Initiating contact tracing to identify everyone an infected person encountered and watch for symptoms

The United States is at a crossroads with COVID-19. Can we and will we slow and stop the spread of the disease? What can we learn from Uganda and its approach? For information on Medical Team’s work or to schedule an interview with one of its global health experts, contact kpiatt@medicalteams.org

*Statistics as of 7/14/2020. The CDC does not know the exact number of COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths for a variety of reasons. COVID-19 can cause mild illness, symptoms might not appear immediately, there are delays in reporting and testing, not everyone who is infected gets tested or seeks medical care, and there may be differences in how jurisdictions confirm numbers.

 


About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Because every person—no matter where they are or how desperate their situation—matters. Learn more at medicalteams.org and on social media using @medicalteams. For more information and donations for Medical Teams’ work on COVID-19, please visit: https://www.medicalteams.org/how-we-heal/natural-disasters/covid-19-response/

 

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Karen Piatt
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