COVID-19: CURE International’s Response

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 22, 2020: “Our surgical services have continued, but there has been an inevitable drop in surgeries performed due to COVID-19 precautions, regional mandatory quarantine, and managing local COVID-19 exposure. This pandemic has resulted in an even longer wait for essential treatment for some of the most vulnerable children in the world. To help mitigate the wait for specialized surgical services, CURE and our partners continue to invest in training the next generation of surgeons.” To read more from Dr. Rick Gardner, Chief Medical Officer, on how CURE hospitals are coping with the effects of COVID-19, click here.

UPDATE: September 9, 2020: According to the World Health Organization, the number of cases in Africa has continued to decrease. A study done in late August and early September shows a 21% decrease in total new cases and a 13% decrease in the total number of deaths. In the countries that CURE serves the decreases are as follows: Malawi 34%, Kenya 30%, Uganda 26%, Ethiopia 12%, and Zambia reported a 6% increase. In Davao City, Philippines, they have been reporting about 20 cases per day. The next two weeks will be critical to watch and we are hoping that this continues to trend downward. All CURE hospitals are open and taking precautions to best serve the patients entrusted to us.

UPDATE: August 13, 2020: The staff at CURE Ethiopia set aside money from their paychecks to purchase food and supplies for members of the local community in need affected by the COVID19 pandemic.

Staff at CURE Ethiopia are distributing food and supplies to members of the community.

UPDATE: August 6, 2020: The number of COVID-19 cases in Africa has been steadily increasing, as the continent is in the early stages of coping with this pandemic. CURE hospitals in Africa are securing means of testing for our staff, patients, and caregivers and increasing our supply and use of personal protection equipment and social distancing protocols.

UPDATE: July 15, 2020: The government of Malawi is training CURE Malawi staff on how to process COVID tests so that the hospital can complete virus testing for our patients and caregivers waiting to be admitted.

UPDATE: July 14, 2020: Kenya is seeing a significant increase in the number of positive cases. CURE Kenya has responded by an appeal to the Ministry of Health to do PCR testing, and the request was approved.

UPDATE: July 2nd, 2020: CURE Zambia co-workers contributed funds to make reusable face masks and buy soap that was donated to the communities around the hospital.

Passing out masks and soap to members of the community.

UPDATE, June 29, 2020: CURE Niger donated a ventilator and 1,000 masks to the government and was thanked at the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Commission Meeting.

Representatives from CURE Niger delivering masks and a ventilator for use at government hospitals in Niger.

UPDATE, June 15, 2020: CURE Uganda said goodbye to some wonderful South Sudanese patients this weekend. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda’s travel ban did not allow the patients to head back home. They enjoyed an extended stay at the hospital for the past 3 months.

Patients and their families from South Sudan heading home from CURE Uganda.

UPDATE, May 27, 2020: CURE Zambia is planning on resuming ENT procedures starting at 25 patients per day. This is below our normal capacity of 75-80 patients per day. Hospital staff will be equipped with N95 masks and will follow COVID-19 protocols.

UPDATE, May 19, 2020: The country of Niger has lifted travel restrictions. Now, children with treatable disabilities are able to come to CURE Niger for surgery, and the hospital has been able to provide transportation back home for some of the patients who were waiting.

UPDATE, May 18, 2020: The Tebow CURE hospital’s contract to house doctors from the government hospital has ended, and they are ramping up the ability to see more patients.

UPDATE, May 15, 2020: CURE Malawi obtained TV and radio spots that reached a combined total of 5 million people with news about the hospital and the gospel.

UPDATE, May 4, 2020: The Ministry of Health in the Philippines has allowed the Tebow CURE hospital (TCH) to resume elective surgeries. TCH has 6 surgeries scheduled for this week and will slowly begin to increase capacity. They are taking extra precautions, including the use of PPE gear on all staff at the hospital.

UPDATE, APRIL 30, 2020: CURE Niger has begun to perform elective surgeries again and is working hard to increase its capacity to treat more patients.

UPDATE, APRIL 29, 2020: CURE International is working with Kids Around the World to get food packets to Africa where food shortages are a concern. We will be shipping out 120,000 meals that contain 24 essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and have a 2-year shelf life.

UPDATE, April 24, 2020: CURE Niger is putting their garden to good use by providing excess food to three children’s centers feeding 152 kids.

UPDATE, April 22, 2020: CURE Kenya is reaching out to patients via text messaging and phone consultations. This has been very popular with patient families, and they continue to respond to requests.

UPDATE, April 15, 2020: In Uganda, we are receiving patients that are being transported to CURE Uganda via government vehicles.

April 9th, 2020 Update from Dr. Rick Gardner, CURE Medical Director and Peter Kyalo, Chief of Programs and Services

UPDATE, April 6, 2020: Due to travel restrictions and closed borders, CURE Uganda is housing a small number of patients and guardians from South Sudan until they can return home. We are blessed to have them stay with us during Easter week and be able to share the love of Jesus.

UPDATE, April 3, 2020: Dr. Sarah Hodges, an anesthesiologist at CURE Philippines (Tebow CURE hospital), is leading a team of anesthesiologists from around the CURE network to document lessons learned during the COVID-19 response.

UPDATE, April 2, 2020: Rooms and beds at CURE Philippines are being used by Southern Philippines Medical Centre staff. Click here for more details from the Executive Director of CURE Philippines.

UPDATE, March 30, 2020: Due to the increasing discrimination and harassment of people in hospital uniforms in the city of Davao, the Tebow CURE hospital (CURE Philippines) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Southern Philippines Medical Centre (SPMC) to house up to 20 of their health professionals. The 2nd floor of CURE Philippines will be utilized and sealed off to provide beds. SPMC will begin referring their orthopedic trauma cases to CURE Philippines to alleviate their capacity pressure.

March 26th, 2020: An update from Dr. Rick Gardner.
The COVID situation is rapidly changing. Please continue to check for updates on CURE hospitals, listed by date, above this video.

UPDATE, March 26, 2020: The government of Uganda is suspending transport. In response, we are looking into creative solutions to get patients home that have been discharged.

UPDATE, March 25, 2020: CURE Niger has suspended surgeries for two weeks since transportation has been shut down, and patients are unable to get to the hospital.

UPDATE, March 23, 2020: CURE hospitals are proactively communicating with each of their respective Departments of Health to stay up-to-date on safety measures, screening protocol, and referring people to government hospitals as necessary.

UPDATE, March 18, 2020: The Tebow CURE hospital has temporarily suspended elective surgery.

As we hear more about the COVID-19 virus outbreak, please join us in praying for protection and health for the children and families we serve in our CURE hospitals around the world. 

At CURE, our mission is to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God. We remain committed to that mission and trust God’s guidance and wisdom in how to best care for and protect those we serve.

CURE’s operations in the United States will continue with limited interruption. We are committed to supporting our life-changing ministry in the field through this challenging time. We’ve canceled all non-essential travel and remain committed to keeping our staff in the field and co-workers in the U.S. safe by continuously communicating updates from state and local health departments along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We will continue to communicate with our donors through the power of technology and a remote workforce for the next few weeks to be proactive and prevent the spread of this virus.

Thank you for your support during this world health crisis. We pray that you and your family remain healthy and safe. Remember that peace can be found in the Lord. Let’s encourage one another and continue to pray for health and healing.

Luke 9:2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’

March 16th, 2020 
Dear friends and colleagues,


I am writing from CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital in Addis Ababa, where we heard on Friday that the first cases of Coronavirus were confirmed in Ethiopia and Kenya. Other cases have been reported in the Philippines. This pandemic is indeed affecting us all. As with our other hospitals, we are implementing measures to keep our fellow co-workers, our patients, and their families’ safe through this time. 

We are part of a remarkable network that serves tens of thousands of children every year. There are 1600 of us working at the CURE hospitals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Philippines, Uganda, UAE, and Zambia. 

All our hospitals are instituting a triage system whereby all co-workers, our patients, and their caregivers, will be checked on arrival for a history of exposure, for flu-like symptoms and a high-temperature. We need to support our colleagues in this regard. They are performing a vital role in maintaining a safe environment, both for our work and for our patients as they receive care. 

We are all aware of the huge part we can play through careful hand hygiene, not just in regular hand-washing and the use of alcohol-based hand gels, but in avoiding shaking hands and embracing when we greet each other.  We will also see changes in patient flow in the coming weeks as we seek to avoid clustering of patients in clinic and reception. Some of us may need to self-isolate if we develop flu-like symptoms to keep others safe. It will be a huge shared effort as we go through this difficult time.   

Each year, our hospitals host visitors from throughout the world. They often comment on how CURE hospitals feel truly unique. They remark on the love that we show to our patients, the joy we have in our work and within our teams. They are absolutely right. Our hospitals and our teams are unique. We share the huge privilege to care for some of the most disadvantaged children in the world. Every day, dozens of children receive exceptional medical care that impacts their lives. Through hearing the gospel, their families and their communities are transformed.

There will be challenges ahead, and we will need each other more than ever throughout this time. Our priority is to keep our fellow co-workers and our patients safe and to show others, true Christian love, through our actions. Through all of this, we can be sure that God is faithful and we can truly trust in Him. 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Blessings,

Dr. Rick Gardner

Director of Medical Operations for CURE International


Photo of the CURE International

About the Author:

CURE International is a Christian health care network that operates charitable hospitals and programs in underserved countries worldwide where patients experience the life-changing message of God’s love for them, receiving surgical treatment regardless of gender, religion, or ethnicity.

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