July 17, 2020
Protecting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic
MDM currently attends to more than 1,000 homeless people in the cities of Valencia, Granada, Seville, Almería, Melilla and Palma de Mallorca. Most subsist in precarious and small accommodations – shacks, camps, temporary settlements, occupied houses or on the street. In their daily lives, they have limited or no access to water and acceptable hygiene conditions, food and, of course, health care, in addition to living in spaces where the conditions for isolation are very complex. MDM works in fixed centers with homeless people but in settlements, where our assistance is needed. MDM focuses on access to health, information and training on prevention measures against COVID-19, from personal hygiene to measures that can be taken during isolation in spaces where maintaining hygiene is very difficult.
MDM provides hygiene kits to prevent the spread of the virus among the people we care for and accompany, whose living conditions make their health fragile. MDM has reinforced telephone and online consultations for 20,000 vulnerable people in the 15 autonomous communities where it has programs and that right now are isolated in a situation of extreme vulnerability. For example, people in prostitution in flats and clubs, although their demand has dropped, still exist, and many women cannot maintain prevention and isolation measures.
MDM focuses its online intervention towards harm reduction against contagion, training on hygiene and isolation measures in complex spaces, and on providing psychosocial support. Our intention is to strengthen these measures by taking advantage of new technologies that allow us to intervene remotely with the most vulnerable people.
MDM Spain also started an intervention to support the national health system by managing an additional tent with capacity for 150 people next to the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid. This is an area for patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19, who will be treated there while waiting for additional hospital resources. It will be installed as soon as possible and its capacity can be increased as needed. MDM provides an expert team of 15 people who have begun working with the hospital staff on all matters related to infection prevention and control protocols, known as IPC. In addition to this, MDM is collaborating with the Occupational Health and Preventive Medicine Services to improve prevention protocols in the hospitalization areas of the Marañón.
The main objective is to reduce infections in hospital environments and protect health professionals. Nearly 6,000 have already been infected throughout the country. Almost 15% of the total number of people affected are health workers, which is seriously undermining the system’s capacity to provide care. Madrid is the community most affected by the corona epidemic. Almost 15,000 of the 47,600 cases registered in Spain so far have been located there.
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