The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Global Health (CGH) is deploying a team on Thursday, June 24 to Mbarara, Uganda in collaboration with Build Health International to support efforts to treat patients with COVID-19 infections.

“This is not just about access to resources, it is about access to vaccines. There is a connection between current COVID-19 surges and lack of vaccine access and equity.”

While many areas across the globe have begun reporting decreasing COVID-19 cases and deaths, numbers are rising in Uganda and other countries on the African continent. This surge has sparked what is being called a third wave in Uganda where on June 13, officials reported a 2,800% increase in cases from the month before as well as a 400% increase in deaths during the week of June 7-13 from the week prior.

These increases follow COVAX—the initiative designed to supply vaccines to low- and middle-income countries—falling markedly short of vaccination targets. Uganda has only received enough vaccine doses to vaccinate 1.8% percent of its adult population compared with United States which has vaccinated 52% of adults.

The team of six deploying to Uganda includes five nurses and one physician with specialization in COVID-19 care and is led by Lindsey Martin, NP, director of Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action at CGH. The team will offer colleagues at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) clinical support and will assist in making the newly constructed COVID-19 Treatment Center facility operational.

“MRRH is one of our closest partners in non-COVID-19 times. So, we did not even stop to think about whether we should provide clinical support,” said Martin. “But this is not just about access to resources, it is about access to vaccines. There is a connection between current COVID-19 surges and lack of vaccine access and equity.”

This story reposted from Mass General News.

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