LOS ANGELES, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Normally used to providing health services in Myanmar (Burma)'s conflict zones and Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, the California nonprofit Community Partners International (CPI) is now helping LA County hospitals cope with the latest wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
As of February 18, more than 3.5 million people in California have tested positive for COVID-19, and over 47,000 have died. Intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in Southern California has plummeted to 0% at times as hospitals struggle with COVID-19 patient numbers.
In January, Community Partners International teamed up with Direct Relief to provide home-based care to patients recovering from COVID-19, freeing up vital bed space to receive new patients that need intensive and emergency care.
Dr. Tom Lee, Community Partners International's Founder and Board Chair, is also an emergency medicine physician and has spent months on the front lines of LA's COVID-19 response.
"The challenge for LA County hospitals is that they can't discharge recovering COVID-19 patients unless they are confident that they will receive suitable home-based care," explained Dr. Lee.
This is where Community Partners International and partners are stepping up. Together, they coordinate a network of volunteers that help COVID-19 patients continue their recovery at home with oxygen concentrators donated by Direct Relief. They train the volunteers and equip them with personal protective equipment (PPE) to serve patients safely and effectively. The patients receive home visits from the volunteers to check on their progress. When patients no longer require oxygen support, the volunteers collect the oxygen concentrators to be sterilized and used again.
"This care model helps patients to return home and safely continue their recovery," explained Dr. Lee. "And, crucially, it opens up bed spaces in hospital for other people that need urgent care."
Community Partners International's project draws inspiration from a COVID-19 home-based care project that the organization leads with Rohingya refugees from Myanmar (Burma) sheltering in Bangladesh.
"In Bangladesh, we're working in the world's largest refugee camp," explained Dr. Lee. "It's incredibly cramped and crowded. People can't physically distance, and they lack adequate hygiene supplies and sanitation services."
Community Partners International trains and equips Rohingya volunteer teams who educate fellow refugees to safeguard against COVID-19. The volunteers also provide home-based care for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
"The Rohingya volunteers don't have as much equipment or support as our volunteers here in California, but they are providing equally important services in the most challenging circumstances," emphasized Dr. Lee. "And this model of home-based care is essential in both locations to support patients as they recover and relieve the pressure on medical facilities."
About Community Partners International
Founded by U.S. doctors and philanthropists in 1998, Community Partners International (CPI) is a California-based nonprofit organization that empowers vulnerable communities to meet their essential health, humanitarian, and development needs. Today, Community Partners International serves nearly one million people each year in Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh, and the United States. The organization focuses on communities affected by conflict, violence, and displacement, in hard-to-reach contexts, and marginalized through poverty and exclusion.
To support Community Partners International's work, donate at https://www.cpintl.org/california-covid-relief.html or contact Kalsang Tashi, Director of Strategic Partnerships at [email protected].
SOURCE Community Partners International