Sustaining access to essential healthcare through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow exponentially and has impacted lives in every corner of the globe. It has undoubtedly created changes in your own life, and as you can imagine the crisis is deeply impacting Watsi’s patients and our local medical partners.

Siengheng from Watsi's Medical Partner Children’s Surgical Centre shared with us this week:

“Our donors and doctors from overseas are still not able to offer much financial support so we have been even more reliant on Watsi to support our patients. In such an uncertain time we are so grateful for Watsi’s support so we can continue to help Cambodians access safe surgery."

Our patient Kyaw, a father from Thailand who is unable to work due to a severe leg injury, told Watsi that his wife has also been unable to find work for the past two months because of the pandemic and he is increasingly worried about their children’s future. Watsi donors have nearly funded his mobility-restoring treatment.

"I want to work like other people but because of my condition no one will offer me a job. I’m also worried about my wife and daughters’ future. As a father I want to fulfill their needs which I can’t at present.” Kyaw, Watsi patient

Julian, a bright student from Uganda who underwent surgery to remove a mass, shared that she is anxiously waiting for COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to lift so that she can resume her studies.

Kabagambe operates a second-hand shoe shop to support her family and was in need of a hysterectomy. She shared that she’s unable to work until COVID-19 improves so the prospect of paying for treatment made it seem impossible to access the surgery she needed.

We are concerned to see cases of COVID-19 in the Global South are now on a sharp rise, signaling only the beginning of the impact for our patients and local medical partners. The latest World Bank estimates suggest that by the end of 2020, the pandemic will push up to 100 million people into extreme poverty (i.e. those who live on less than $1.90 per day), the first global rise in poverty since 1998.

In the face of tremendous need, Watsi is continuing to sustain access to essential healthcare for some of the world's most vulnerable patients. This support not only helps ensure that they can lead healthier lives, but also acts as a lifeline to bolster the health systems that serve them.

Guided by our values and the needs of our patients and local partners, since March we've:

  • Increased funding directed at emergency surgery and safe maternal and infant healthcare, which has reached a crisis point.

    With an estimated 1 in 3 pregnant women requiring medical or surgical intervention during birth, access to this care must go on, even amidst the pandemic.

  • Launched two new partner hospital sites in southern Uganda and central Kenya.

    We’ve already funded essential healthcare for 55+ patients at these hospitals.
    Services provided include emergency c-sections and maternal-infant care, mass removals, and treating life-threatening infections.

  • Increased funding by 10% for our largest programs supporting patients and hospitals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Cambodia.

    Kyaw, Julian, and Kabagambe are just a few of millions in the Global South who have lost all income or have stopped attending school due to COVID-19. Watsi ensures essential healthcare services remain accessible for those in need.

  • Provided our medical partners with $350,000 to support essential healthcare for 415+ patients.

    We’ve served as a consistent, reliable partner to hospitals and frontline health workers, even amidst unprecedented financial constraints and record layoffs impacting the healthcare sector not only in developed countries, but globally.

We are so proud to share this update with you because our community’s support has enabled Watsi to deepen our impact exactly when we are most needed. Together we can not only sustain access to life-changing healthcare during this global health crisis, but also support our patients and local medical partners to emerge healthier, stronger, and more resilient for years to come.

At this critical moment, help us meet the growing needs of patients around the world and consider making a life-changing gift.

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The Watsi Team

The Watsi Team

Everyone deserves healthcare.