MCD Global Health has in-depth experience of working in the area of communicable diseases, which are infectious diseases that are spread from one person to another in different ways, such as being bitten by an insect, coming in contact with blood and bodily fluids, or breathing in an airborne virus.
Preventing these types of diseases can be done through vaccinations, hand-washing with soap, using latrines to maintain safe drinking water, practicing safe sex, avoiding people who are sick, and more.
Below are the areas that our teams respond to around the globe.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets and destroys white blood cells in the immune system, weakening the body’s ability to fight off infections and some types of cancer.
As this occurs, those who are infected with HIV may eventually become immunodeficient, which can turn into the most advanced stage of HIV infection: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Usually, this takes from two to 15 years to develop, depending on the person.
In western and Central Africa in 2020, it was estimated that 4.7 million adults and children lived with HIV and that there were an estimated 200,000 that were newly infected with HIV, according to UNAIDS.org.
In Gabon — where our Military-Specific HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care, and Treatment Program (MSHAPP) activities take place — there were an estimated 46,000 adults and children living with HIV in 2020, according to UNAIDS.org.
Our MSHAPP aims to strengthen the capacity of the military in Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe to deliver high-quality HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, care, and treatment services to the military’s members, their families, and surrounding communities.
Specifically, our team focuses on strengthening the capacity of:
The Military Program for the Fight against AIDS (PMLS);
Nine HIV/AIDS cells; and
Health providers at 11 military health facilities and seven military laboratories.
Working Against Stigma and Discrimination
MCD works to mitigate stigma, discrimination, blame, and collective denial in relation to HIV/AIDS, which creates barriers to effectively addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Our team works in communities in Gabon by building capacity for local organizations that fight stigma, utilize multiple approaches for community mobilization, and improve legal protections for people who live with HIV/AIDS.
Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted through the bite of specific species of infected female mosquitoes. The mosquito becomes infected after taking blood from a person who is infected with the malaria parasite. Then, the infected mosquito can pass the parasite on to an uninfected person after biting them.
Those who experience severe malaria may experience anemia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, low blood pressure, acute kidney injury, impairment of consciousness, seizures, coma or other neurologic abnormalities, and more.
In 2020, there were an estimated 241 million cases of malaria worldwide and an estimated 627,000 malaria-related deaths. Approximately 77% of malaria fatalities were children younger than 5 years old.
Our teams work in numerous countries in sub-Saharan Africa to prevent, diagnose, treat, survey, and monitor and evaluate malaria with the long-term goal of eliminating the burden of malaria.
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the majority of countries around the world in early 2020, MCD quickly pivoted many of its international and U.S.-based programs and projects to adapt to the new normal.
Staffing the Public Health Workforce
To meet the needs of controlling the spread, responding to outbreaks, and treating patients, our U.S. teams helped in providing staffing services for the Maine Centers of Disease Control (CDC) in its COVID-19 response efforts.
In addition, MCD embedded staff within the Maine CDC provided additional services by staffing the State of Maine’s COVID hotline, serving as case investigators. and working the Maine Immunization Program’s Community Vaccination Line.
Virtual Health and Technology
Telehealth quickly became a huge demand for health professionals to stay in contact not only with each other, but with patients and other important groups, as well.
The NETRC provided numerous, publicly available materials and resources for public health workers, including a COVID-19 Telehealth Resources website and more.
Adapting Our Malaria Work
Because of our established trust and presence in Equatorial Guinea in malaria-related work, MCD was able to support the country’s efforts in preparing and responding to COVID-19 as well as deploy COVID-19 vaccinations.
In addition to these activities in Equatorial Guinea, we also helped build capacity in health workers’ ability to test for COVID-19; implemented telehealth and e-learning training; developed the District Health Information Software 2 module for contact tracing; and assisted Noble Energy EG Ltd. (a Chevron Company) in testing, quarantining, isolating, and providing medical services for its staff in Equatorial Guinea.
MCD is also a long-term partner of USAID and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Impact Malaria, where our teams supported country coordination and planning for COVID-19. Specially, we assisted in building capacity in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa by providing training materials and laboratory and clinical guidelines on how to handle malaria during COVID-19, developed an integrated COVID-19 and malaria OTSS+ checklist, and other activities.
Part of our WASH activities involves teaching hand-washing best practices. Because of this, our teams in both countries were prepared to integrate COVID-19 into their communications to communities and governments.
Alongside this, we also helped build the capacity of community health workers, nongovernmental organizations, health care facilities, students, and many other groups on hand-washing, social distancing, and mask wearing, among other activities.
Staffing the Public Health Workforce
In addition to supporting the Maine CDC in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Maine, we also provide staffing for other communicable disease areas for the Maine CDC, including the Ryan White & AIDS Drug Assistance Program and Vaccine Coordination.
Military-Specific HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care, and Treatment Program
This program strengthens the capacity of the military in Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe by delivering high-quality HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, care, and treatment services to military members, their families, and surrounding communities.
This activity aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria in Uganda with a focus on strengthening the capacity and ownership of malaria prevention at the community and household levels.
The U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) Impact Malaria Project involves MCD as a subcontractor and works with PMI-focus countries and partners to make malaria diagnosis and drug-based prevention and treatment more accessible and effective for those most at risk, particularly young children and pregnant women.
The Guinea Malaria Bilateral StopPalu+ Program supported the Guinean National Malaria Control Program to reduce the malaria burden in the country by strengthening the government's capacity to prevent, diagnosis, and treat malaria.