Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, MCD Global Health has pivoted, adapted, and responded through many of its ongoing projects and programs both in the U.S. and around the world.

Learn how we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the U.S. and Africa:

Female researcher testing for COVID in lab in Africa.Training public health workforce in responding to COVID.

International Pandemic Response

Our international teams assist country governments and the populations they serve in planning and strengthening their pandemic preparedness and response efforts in line with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s guidelines.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea outline

Our teams are invested in important malaria work in Equatorial Guinea, specifically the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP). With established trust and a long-term presence there, MCD was able to easily support the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in developing and implementing its COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and a COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan.

Other responses to the pandemic included:

  • Helped develop WHO-certified COVID-19 testing capacity at the National Reference Laboratory, where more than 77,300 PCR tests were performed.
  • Deployed telehealth and e-learning to support the COVID-19 response, in coordination with our U.S. Division.
  • Developed new District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2) module for contact tracing.
  • Provided pre-deployment screening, in-country testing, quarantining, isolation, and medical services to ensure a safe work environment for Noble Energy EG Ltd. (a Chevron Company) staff. Nearly 4,800 workers were received in quarantine that resulted in: 97% successful releases to work after quarantine; 99% successful releases to work after isolation; one successful medical evacuation; and zero fatalities.

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 on Bioko Island

Carolina receiving a gift for her assistance in responding to COVID on Bioko Island.

Carolina Gutiérrez was a nurse at the primary hospital in Malabo, the capital city on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, soon found herself on the frontline when cases of COVID-19 rapidly increased on the island in 2020.

“The precarious situation of the Malabo hospital became increasingly apparent due to the insufficiency of medical staff and resources, which made me wonder what would become of this beautiful island once the pandemic hit in full force,” she said, reminiscing.

In July 2020, Carolina was introduced to MCD Global Health, which had established its presence on Bioko Island since 2004 with the goal of eventually eliminating malaria from the island.

“As soon as I began working [at MCD], I noticed a difference between [MCD] and my previous employer. That shift restored the joy and enthusiasm I had when I first arrived to the island,” she said.

Madagascar and Benin

Benin and Madagascar outlines

Alongside our malaria work in Equatorial Guinea, we also had existing teams in Madagascar and Benin who were working sanitation and hygiene-specific work. Part of this work included teaching good hygiene practices, specifically hand-washing with soap, so when the pandemic reached these countries, our teams were fully prepared to use what they were teaching to confront COVID-19 in communities.

Along with supporting the development of country plans and strategies to fight COVID-19 and implementing those activities, MCD also:

  • Trained more than 20,000 community health workers (CHWs), 180 nongovernmental organization staff, 66 health care facilities staff, and more than 13,000 students in 105 schools on hand-washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.
  • Reached more than 1.3 million people with messaging on COVID-19, social distancing, hand-washing, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Produced and distributed more than 19,000 posters and 28,000 flyers, posted 35 messages on social media, and aired 29 television spots and 4,350 radio spots with messages on preventing the spread of the virus.
  • Donated hand-washing stations as well as masks, manual spray pumps, disinfectants, chlorine, and liquid soap to 340 health facilities and the University of Antananarivo.

USAID/PMI Impact Malaria Global Project

In 16 PMI Impact Malaria African countries, our teams supported country coordination and planning for COVID-19 through participation in meetings of National COVID-19 Committees. We also:

  • Helped secure an additional $600,000 from PMI/USAID through the PMI Impact Malaria Funding Mechanism to support the COVID-19 responses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  • Produced training materials on the management and shipment of infectious substances and biosafety for clinical and laboratory staff;
  • Produced laboratory and clinical guidelines on malaria during COVID-19;
  • Developed an integrated COVID-19 and malaria outreach training and supportive supervision (OTSS+) checklist; and
  • Developed guidelines for project field offices for teleworking and returning to the office, including guidance for social distancing and PPE use.

U.S. Pandemic Response

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our domestic teams leveraged their experiences and partnerships with the public and private sectors to forge effective pandemic preparedness and response strategies against COVID-19 at the state and local levels in Maine and at the regional level in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont as well as New Jersey and New York.


Maine, USA, outline

Our U.S. Division teams provided the staffing services to support the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) in its comprehensive COVID-19 response efforts in the realms of epidemiological surveillance, informatics, case investigation, contract tracing, grants, and finance.

Along with these staffing services, our other embedded staff within the Maine CDC provided additional COVID-19 response services by staffing the state COVID hotline, serving as case investigators, and working the Maine Immunization Program’s Community Vaccination Line.

Outside of staffing the public health workforce in order to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, our other U.S. programs did the following:

  • Our School Oral Health Program staff partnered with the Maine CDC and local dental offices to provide oral health screenings and sealants for children who could not receive them in school due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Our Healthy Lincoln County program quickly pivoted to respond to a significant need for expansion in food security work, leading to funding and new models of service in the community. Along with local partners, including the Lincoln County Food Initiative, they served more than 110,000 meals to children, families, and those isolated due to COVID-19.

New England Region, New Jersey, and New York

Northeast, New York and New Jersey, USA, outline

Telehealth quickly became a vital ‘tool in the toolbox’ for ensuring safe, continuous access to care and enabling emergency response throughout the pandemic. With thousands of regional stakeholders reaching out for technical assistance and training for rapid telehealth implementation, our Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC) team became the ‘go-to’ resource for the explosion of telehealth-related needs across the region.

In April 2020, MCD and the NETRC were awarded additional Coronavirus Telehealth Resource Center grant funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy under the CARES Act. This funding helped meet the massive increase in volume of day-to-day requests for assistance and serve the needs for increased in-depth technical assistance from regional stakeholders assisting rural and underserved populations.

The NETRC experienced a 920% increase in technical assistance requests during the early months of the pandemic in 2020 and sustained significantly higher technical assistance numbers throughout 2020 as compared to previous years.

MCD and the NETRC also:

  • Developed a COVID-19 Telehealth Resources website;
  • Produced a “Roadmap and Toolkit for Implementing Primary Care and Behavioral Telehealth Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic;”
  • Produced a Telehealth Resource Webliography for the COVID-19 Pandemic; and
  • Served as expert faculty for three regional Project ECHOs focused on rapid telehealth Implementation during COVID-19 and co-facilitated a National Telemedicine HACK series hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the assistant secretary for Preparedness Response.

Featured Projects

News & Updates

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MCD and the University of New Hampshire Launch Regional Collaborative to Advance Rural Health Excellence and Equity