COVID-19

Zimbabwe health workers receive PPE from donors
COVID-19
The Issue
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since its outbreak, more than 209 million people have contracted the virus, and 4.4 million people have died. The high infection and hospitalization rates from the virus exposed the fragility of health systems worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The pandemic caused a global shortage of diagnostics as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves, and gowns. It has disrupted delivery of essential health services due to diversion of human and medical resources to treat COVID-19 cases, new safety precautions, and travel restrictions to prevent spread of the disease. The virus also laid bare longstanding deficiencies in access to medical oxygen—one of the only treatments available for COVID-19—including pulse oximeters, oxygen concentrators, and ventilators. To date, less than 10 percent of people living in low- and middle-income countries have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the 4.7 billion vaccines that have been distributed globally have gone to the world’s richest countries.
CHAI's Approach
CHAI is working with our government and donor partners to ensure low- and middle-income countries are well-equipped to respond to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health services. Early in the pandemic, we worked with partners to secure affordable supplies-including PPE, rapid tests, and medical oxygen. We collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) to build a supply forecasting tool that countries can use to guide purchase of these supplies. We worked with ministries of health to develop pandemic response plans and helped ramp up capabilities to diagnose the virus, track cases, and prevent transmission. As COVID-19 vaccines were developed and deployed, CHAI helped countries prepare for, acquire, and roll out available vaccines to their populations.
In addition, countries have faced significant shortages in key respiratory care equipment—including oxygen cylinders, concentrators, masks, ventilators, pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants, and hospital piping—which predate COVID-19 and have been exacerbated by surges of severe and critical COVID-19 patients. We are working with partner governments to rapidly procure these items to enable them to respond to COVID-19 cases while strengthening their long-term ability to provide safe oxygen therapy, including the provision and effective use of pulse oximetry. We are also helping governments through the forecasting and quantification of oxygen needs, coordination and supply of key oxygen-related commodities, and most importantly, the expansion of liquid oxygen services through a recent memorandum of understanding that CHAI and Unitaid signed with Linde and Air Liquide on behalf of the ACT-A oxygen task force.
Results
120m
affordable high-quality COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for low- and middle-income countries
300+
suppliers of quality assured PPE identified for partner countries’ needs
7
countries adopted a CHAI-led on-demand COVID-19 WhatsApp information service
Our Work

Join the Team

CHAI is looking for dynamic and self-motivated individuals who are committed to strengthening health systems around the world and expanding access to care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other illnesses. View All CHAI Positions View Program Positions

Join the Team

CHAI is looking for dynamic and self-motivated individuals who are committed to strengthening health systems around the world and expanding access to care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other illnesses. View All CHAI Positions View Program Positions