The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) stepped up its emergency response in early 2020 to serve nearly 20 million people around the world in 96 countries impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, 422 projects were launched by ADRA in response to the ongoing health crisis, and 70 percent of those projects were in partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Earlier this year, ADRA pivoted its efforts to further help 21 countries heavily impacted by COVID-19 to find much-needed relief.
“ADRA has been closely monitoring our aid as we serve millions worldwide through this pandemic, and we’re finding that many people globally aren’t informed about COVID-19 prevention or have access to getting tested or being vaccinated, which leading health experts indicate helps decrease the likelihood of contracting the virus and ending up in a hospital,” Mario Oliveira, ADRA’s emergency response director, said. “Our goal between now into 2022 is to use the trust of people we work with and who are likely to be impacted by the coronavirus. We want people to receive accurate information to help them make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing and help them stay safe for themselves and among their families.”
Emergency relief activities, including food distribution and security, sanitation, and hygiene awareness, will remain part of the ongoing aid. Most of the projects will include continued collaborations with the Adventist Church. In addition to these activities, ADRA will be expanding communication about COVID-19 prevention and health training among the most vulnerable in local communities, where methods will vary for each country.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and public health agencies, COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, with more than 195 million confirmed cases, as of July 29, 2021, and more than four million deaths across more than 220 countries. The U.S., India, and Brazil have seen the highest number of confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
The following overview shows the targeted regions where ADRA will focus on providing additional support.
Africa has recorded more than 6.6 million COVID cases and more than 167,000 deaths, as of July 29, 2021. According to official data, South Africa has more than 2.4 million cases and about 70,000 deaths, making the country the worst affected on the continent.
For the next few months of 2021, ADRA aims to reduce COVID-19 incidents in local communities and ensure health-care providers and patients are protected. For instance, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ADRA will engage with several health facilities to instruct the community about COVID-19 prevention. In Mozambique, ADRA will provide 900 personal hygiene kits, teach COVID-19 prevention measures, and train residents to make face masks to generate income. In South Sudan, ADRA will ensure that more than 4,500 school children can gain access to a safe learning environment and also will help to restore struggling businesses.
The number of cases and deaths in the Asiatic region was initially lower than in Europe and North America, findings show. However, the recent surge in cases in India and elsewhere is changing the outlook. India alone has recorded more than 30 million coronavirus cases, second only to the U.S. In Indonesia, there are reportedly 25,000 new cases daily, where hospitals have almost exhausted their supplies of oxygen.
To combat surges in COVID-19, ADRA in the Asiatic regions will work with health-care workers and local communities to inform people about the coronavirus and offer ways to stay safe. ADRA aims to target 3,500 people in India to access psycho-social support and continue to drive confidence in taking safety measures during the pandemic. In Indonesia, the elderly are among the most vulnerable and will need support to access health care. ADRA will be on the ground offering support to ensure they do. ADRA also aims to coordinate a cash assistance distribution in Fiji to 5,000 people struggling with the protracted lockdowns. In working closely with local authorities, ADRA will additionally distribute personal protective equipment (PPEs) to impacted health institutions.
According to reports, Mexico has seen the fourth-highest number of deaths globally, with more than 240,000. ADRA will be targeting more than 100,000 people to help them find sustainable care and access to health information, hot meals, and mental health treatment, and also get interested individuals the right tools to start a business. In El Salvador, more than 3,200 people will be supported by ADRA through education campaigns to learn about COVID-19 and prevention techniques. ADRA also will equip 1,200 people in Honduras with access to health centers and train them on COVID-19 prevention methods.
Many European countries have reported spikes in COVID-19 cases over the past few months, but data indicates that the number of daily infections has now slowed. Countries continuing to see a rapid increase in cases include Russia and the United Kingdom.
ADRA intends to arm the most vulnerable in several countries with information about COVID-19. Access to resources in most of these countries is key to their survival. In Bulgaria, ADRA will work with local health centers to share information about COVID-19 and educate local communities about vaccines. In Kyrgyzstan, more than 13,000 people with disabilities and older adults will be supported by ADRA to access psycho-social services and health care treatment. ADRA will also provide aid to mentally and physically disadvantaged people in Serbia and Slovakia, ensuring they receive access to health care services, immunization information, and psycho-social awareness.
Brazil has recorded almost 20 million COVID-19 cases and more than 550,000 deaths, the world's second-highest official death toll, according to health agency data, and experts say the situation could get worse as the end of the year approaches. Additionally, Peru now has the fifth-highest toll, with more than 190,000 deaths. Colombia, Argentina, and Chile are also reporting surges in new cases.
ADRA plans to target more than 20,000 people to help strengthen the response capacities of local medical staff, community agents, teachers, supervisors, school principals, and volunteers. In partnership with health-care workers, the team in Paraguay, for example, will educate local community members about COVID-19, information about staying safe, and more via a mobile app. In Colombia, ADRA has begun distributing 1,100 COVID-19 hygiene kits to households in partnership with a local Adventist church.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA's purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.