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HPIC’s shipment of medicines helps Dzaleka Refugee Camp avoid crisis during COVID-19 outbreak

When the Dzaleka Health Centre ran out medicines for patients in critical condition in February of this year, HPIC stepped in with a shipment of medicines that arrived in time, avoiding interruptions to individuals and families that urgently needed healthcare.

According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Dzaleka Health Centre services over 70,000 individuals within and around Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa, Malawi, and has exceeded its absorption capacity by over 300 percent. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated this issue. Overpopulation in the camp, coupled with poor sanitation caused by congestion put both the refugee camp and the health centre into crisis mode.

Due to the vast number of people the hospital serves, the health centre usually experiences shortages of essential drugs and medical supplies. In the best of circumstances this is not an ideal situation, but during a global pandemic, it is nothing short of catastrophic.

In partnership with the International Association for Refugees (IAFR) Canada and There is Hope (TIH), HPIC was able to coordinate and distribute $81,000 worth of medicines and supplies – including antibiotics, antihypertensives, analgesics – to provide relief from COVID-19 symptoms for over 12,000 patients.

The significance of this donation of medicines went well beyond its immediate life-saving impacts; tensions often escalate when communities are in crisis due to competition over limited resources, and Dzaleka was not an exception. According to our local partner, dwindling medical supplies led to increasing hostility between local Malawians and refugees, however HPIC’s ability to expedite shipments of medicines in times of crisis provided enough medicines and supplies to offer life-saving treatments to both groups, bringing harmony to a community in conflict.

While there are many ways to support a vulnerable and at-risk community, we cannot underestimate the immediate and far-reaching impacts of gift-in-kind donations that come from HPIC’s pharmaceutical partners. Financial donations are needed just the same to procure, store and mobilize medicines. To help this work, donate to our Emergency Response fund. Every gift received will help provide medicines and medical supplies to communities in need around the world.

HPIC will continue in its mission to restore health and bring harmony to impoverished communities with the hope of creating a long, sustainable and vibrant future for all who live there.

“On behalf of the Dowa District Health Office and indeed on behalf of the Malawi Government, I wish to extend my gratitude to HPIC, IAFR and TIH for remaining resolute in supporting Dzaleka Health Centre because, just six months ago, they also donated various drugs to our facility.”

Henry Lali, Medical Officer In-Charge, Dzaleka Health Centre

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