July 22, 2020

Frontline Health Workers Get Protective Gear During Fight Against Pandemic

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in partnership with Adventist Community Services (ACS), delivered more than 20 pallets of essential medical supplies and protective gear to health-care workers at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. 

The 180-bed acute care hospital has been serving critically ill patients affected by COVID-19 in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties since the pandemic began.

“We are grateful to ADRA and Adventist Community Services for their donations of medical supplies,” said Anthony Stahl, president of Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. “Supplies like gowns, masks, and gloves help White Oak Medical Center continue to protect our health-care workers, care for the sick, and meet the other health-care needs of our community.”

Nationwide, demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies in hospitals and health-care facilities has increased sharply as the pandemic has swept the nation. Access to these supplies can take up to 30 working days to be delivered, putting additional pressure on health systems and health-care workers.

“It is a privilege to support our nation’s frontline health-care workers,” said ADRA president Michael Kruger. “As a global humanitarian workforce, frontline work is essential in any crisis we do to aid those in need. Medical teams are among that network, and we are grateful to our partners, like Adventist Community Services, to help ensure hospitals in the U.S. are well equipped as they serve so many affected by this pandemic.” 

“Our community depends on reliable, caring health-care workers, especially in this situation. Always having the PPE to do our work safely allows us to focus on our patients,” added Beverly DeSouza, a respiratory therapist at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center.

The medical supplies, worth US$2.3 million, are part of a partnership with Adventist Community Services (ACS) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America to support health-care facilities in suburban areas facing severe shortages of protective supplies during the coronavirus crisis. The medical supplies include personal protective equipment, such as face shields, goggles, and other essential garments for health-care workers, to reduce exposure to the coronavirus and other infectious agents.

“ADRA and Adventist Community Services have long been recognized for their vital relief work. Their mission and partnership are especially significant in this time of a global pandemic,” said Terry Forde, president and CEO, Adventist HealthCare. “We appreciate the shipments of personal protective equipment over the last couple of months as Adventist HealthCare continues to extend God’s care to COVID-19 patients in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region.”

Health-care facilities in Alaska, California, New York, and Texas have also received essential medical supplies from ADRA and ACS. Additionally, the relief agency provided more than 45,000 sets of personal protective equipment and face masks to Loma Linda University Health in California. It partnered with Florida-based AdventHealth to ship tons of medical gear to hospitals in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, where medical centers are facing severe supply shortages. ADRA will also deliver a shipment of medical supplies, worth US$4.5 million, to countries in Africa.

“It is truly a privilege to partner with ADRA and Adventist HealthCare for this unique opportunity. In Adventist Community Services, we are always seeking to have the most positive impact on our communities, especially in a time of need. This special partnership empowered us to share in-demand PPE supplies with a health-care organization replete with courageous frontline workers that are saving lives every day,” said Chesapeake Conference ACS director Ignacio Goya.

As part of a broader COVID-19 related response, ADRA has also committed US$150,000 to provide food parcels to thousands of vulnerable families through ACS food pantries across the United States.

ADRA has been responding globally in nearly 70 countries, including the U.S., to help more than 2.7 million families and communities heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus health crisis. ADRA’s response teams are providing a range of humanitarian assistance that varies from country to country. This includes the distribution of PPEs, face masks, hand sanitizers, food kits, cash vouchers, and hygiene training.

As of July 20, 2020, Maryland had registered more than 78,000 COVID-19 cases, more than 3,200 deaths, and 449 people hospitalized. The United States had the most cases worldwide at more than 3.7 million. Globally, more than 14 million people had contracted the virus and 611,000 had died, according to the World Health Organization.

The original version of this story was posted by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.