As the pandemic took hold, our national member organizations (NMOs) let us know that their ability to continue offering care to the people in their communities was at risk. This was due to many factors, such as a lack of personal protection equipment (PPEs) for patients and medical staff, lack of community education on COVID-19 safety, and serious concern that those left on the wrong side of the “digital divide” would be unable to access the online meetings and training that were quickly becoming the norm. Our NMOs asked us for help, and we responded.
In late 2020, the WFH Board of Directors issued an appeal for support, and our community responded vigorously. Twenty-seven NMOs and other partners reaffirmed our community’s solidarity by contributing to the WFH COVID-19 Relief Fund. Their generosity has so far helped patient organizations in twenty-four countries in every part of the world weather the pandemic. Together, we have kept our community safe, connected, and working towards our shared goal of Treatment for All. In total, 27 countries submitted applications to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, and all have been either accepted or are in the process of being accepted.
Here are some examples of how the WFH COVID-19 Relief Fund has helped support NMOs everywhere.
Uganda: open doors for all
In the early days of the pandemic, healthcare professionals went months without any access to PPE, which had an immediate impact on service delivery. The Haemophilia Foundation of Uganda was able, thanks to their grant funds, to provide PPEs and ensure their members were safe and able to continue delivering care.
“A nurse, who had gone months without PPE’s expressed fear about treating patients. Once we were able to distribute them, health workers’ commitment to patient care and management greatly improved.”
—Member of the Haemophilia Foundation of Uganda
Mozambique: solidarity thanks to the radio
The team at Associação Moçambicana de Hemofilia identified patient isolation and a lack of information about safety measures, including vaccination, as areas they needed to address. They took a twofold approach to solve the problem: first they created baskets that included hand sanitizer, masks, and a leaflet detailing safety measures that their members should take. Then, they partnered with radio companies to disseminate information on staying safe during the pandemic.
“We were able to help all patients at the national level receive vaccinations. It was incredible to see the hope and gratitude in their eyes.”
— Member of the Associação Moçambicana de Hemofilia
Argentina: taking care of ourselves
The team at Fundación de la Hemofilia (Argentina) was concerned about patient isolation, and training healthcare professionals in a way that respected safety protocols. They created a series of informal online gatherings where the community could meet. They also organized the training of 65 healthcare professionals on COVID-19 safety. Remarkably, not even one person in their organization contracted the virus.
“We must continue taking care of ourselves and being there for each other during the pandemic and after.”
— Member of the Fundación de la Hemofilia
Ghana: moving together
The team at the Ghana Haemophilia Society were concerned rural patients would miss appointments with their medical teams because of the pandemic. They also wanted to give their members an outlet to remain active as health measures required the closure of community centres. They used funding to purchase exercise equipment that could be borrowed and helped 85 people safely keep their healthcare appointments.
“Getting to know our community’s needs through outreach really helped bring us together to help them. Thank you WFH, for the support!”
— Member of the Ghana Haemophilia Society
The WFH and the communities who benefited thank the following supporters of the WFH COVID-19 Relief Fund
Asociación Costarricense de Hemofilia (ASOHEMO)
Asociación de Hemofílicos del Uruguay
Association française des hémophiles
Association Sénégalaise des Hémophiles
Danish Hemophilia Society
Egyptian Hemophilia Society
Fundación de la Hemofilia (Argentina)
Fundación Panameña de Hemofilia
Guyana Hemophilia Society
Haemophilia Association of Mauritius (HAM)
Haemophilia Foundation of Nigeria
Hemoophilia Society of Turkey
Hemophilia Federation (India)
Hemophilia of Georgia
Hemophilia Society of Bangladesh
Irish Haemophilia Society Ltd.
Israeli Hemophilia Association – ALEH
Korea Hemophilia Foundation
Liga Colombiana de Hemofilico
Malta Bleeding Disorders Society (MBDS)
National Hemophilia Foundation
National Hemophilia Foundation of Thailand
National Hemophilia Network of Japan
Sociedad Chilena de la Hemofilia
Society for Inherited & Severe Blood Disorders
Staff of Mary M Gooley Hemophilia Center
Swiss Hemophilia Society
UK Haemophilia Society