The past several weeks have brought a lot of change for MDaaS, as they have for nearly every person and organization around the globe. Moments like this reaffirm to me the critical importance of building resilient, accessible healthcare systems and inspire me and my team to push harder and work faster.
In this letter, I share information about COVID-19 in Nigeria, MDaaS Global’s response, and how you can help.
COVID-19 in Nigeria
As of April 6th, Nigeria has identified a relatively small number of COVID-19 cases (238 confirmed cases, 35 discharged patients, and 5 mortalities). However, as testing to date has been limited, we don’t yet have the full picture. Given the healthcare infrastructure deficit in Nigeria and across the continent generally, there is realistic fear that any surge in cases will quickly overwhelm hospital capacity.
This has encouraged the government to take action. Last week, the Nigerian president issued lockdown notices in two states (Lagos and Ogun State) and the capital city (Abuja). Other states have followed suit, including Oyo State (where our flagship center is located), Kwara State (where our second center is located), and Osun State (where our third center is located).
Our Response to COVID-19
In light of COVID-19, MDaaS has quickly shifted gears to support the evolving response strategy. Our response efforts fall into three categories: increasing testing capacity in Nigeria, supporting our partner hospitals with critical supplies, and ensuring the safety of our staff and patients.
1. Increasing Testing Capacity
As we’ve watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold around the globe and here in Nigeria, we have reflected on our team’s unique strengths and how best we could contribute to the fight against this disease. At our core, our company is centered around building high-quality, efficient healthcare operations. After seeing the impact of mass testing sites (drive-through and booth-based testing) in places like South Korea and the United States, we have started collaborating with several partner organizations to help set up mass testing sites in Nigeria.
As we walk through the steps of setting up these testing sites, we have created a website (covid19.mdaas.io) to share materials that we compile and develop along the way. This ‘playbook’ of materials is free to download, adapt, and use, and will be helpful for anyone in a developing country context looking to establish a mass sample collection site. The playbook walks step-by-step through site preparation, setup, and operations and includes downloadable content such as call center training guides, basic information systems, and potential layouts of sample collection centers. Check it out here, and please share with your networks!
2. Supporting our Partner Hospitals
Working with local hospitals day to day means that we are keenly aware of the challenges they are facing with COVID-19. Lagos’ health system is being well-supported by the government and its partners, but other States, including the ones we work in, have far fewer resources. Last week we began donating desperately-needed consumables, including face masks, gloves, and gowns, to our partner hospitals. We have also created a series of informational posters regarding COVID-19 in local languages based on approved government content and will be distributing those to hospitals this week.
We have committed to donating $5,000 worth of supplies to our partner hospitals, but we would love to do even more. If you’re able to, please contribute to our COVID-19 Fund to help protect our Nigerian health workers outside Lagos.
3. Ensuring the Safety of Our Staff & Patients
Our four centers remain open to support our partner hospitals and our patients who require care during this time. General healthcare needs have not gone away during the pandemic, and it is our goal to continue providing excellent care while prioritizing, as always, the safety of our staff and patients. To protect our staff and patients during this time, we have adapted our procedures to include handwashing and symptom screening for all patients entering our facilities, additional and more frequent sanitation, and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by our staff. Our Lagos Headquarters team members are all working from home with daily online check-ins.
How You Can Help
- Share Our COVID-19 Mass Testing Guide: Please share our Mass Testing Guide (covid19.mdaas.io) with anyone or any organization you think could benefit from or contribute to the resource.
- Contribute to Our COVID-19 Fund: As a company, we’ve committed $5,000 to purchase PPE supplies for our hospital partners in Oyo, Osun, and Kwara States, but the current need for sanitizers, masks, gloves, and gowns is vast. To help fill that gap, we have established this GoFundMe campaign to raise and additional $25,000 to provide these items to frontline healthcare workers and help flatten the curve in Nigeria. As we make donations to health facilities, we'll provide updates and photos, so you can see the impact each dollar makes. Please note that as we are a for-profit company, any donations to MDaaS Global will not be tax-deductible.
Please feel free to reach out with any ideas, projects, or comments. You can reach me at soga at mdaas dot io.
Wishing you safe and healthy days ahead.
CEO, MDaaS Global