Lab Matters Summer 2021 | Page 20


APHL Responds to COVID-19 Crisis in India

By Sarah Young , MPH , specialist , Global Health and Palmira Mangae , specialist , Global Health
In March 2021 , India experienced a devastating second wave of COVID-19 cases . The virus spread at a rapid pace and quickly set the world record for the highest number of deaths recorded in a single day . This surge of cases put extreme stress and burden on what was an already overtaxed healthcare system . Overwhelmed by the number of cases , India ’ s hospitals quickly ran short of hospital beds , oxygen supplies and personal protective equipment , leaving many COVID-19 patients and providers on their own . As of August 11 , 2021 , the World Health Organization ( WHO ) reported that there have been over 32 million confirmed cases , and over 400,000 deaths in India , but many epidemiologists believe the actual number is much higher .
A medical worker in PPE observes patients who have been infected by COVID-19 inside a makeshift care facility in a sports stadium at the Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi on May 2 , 2021 . Photo : Getty Images
Since 2017 , APHL has worked closely with CDC-India through the Global Health Security Agenda to strengthen India ’ s laboratory systems and build laboratory capacity . During the surge of COVID-19 cases , CDC-India immediately requested
APHL ’ s assistance in the emergency response effort . Shortly after this request , the Biden-Harris administration released a statement committing the United States to provide immediate emergency assistance deliver more than $ 100 million worth of supplies for urgent relief to India .
In collaboration with the administration and this response effort , APHL successfully procured and delivered oxygen concentrators , oxygen cylinders and personal protective equipment to healthcare facilities in the states of Assam , Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand . Although the surge of cases has begun to slow , APHL continues to work closely with CDC-India and India ’ s National Center for Disease Control to provide emergency assistance and strengthen their laboratory capacity . n

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Told from the unique perspective of laboratory scientists , administrators or staff , we welcome articles covering topics across public health laboratory science , administration , careers and management .
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18 LAB MATTERS Summer 2021
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