View this email in your browser

PQMD Newsletter

Welcome! In this volume of the PQMD newsletter, you will find highlights from our membership and noteworthy articles from around the web. Please note the newsletter is best viewed in your browser. 

Does your organization have news to share? Contact Beth Haynes for placement in future newsletters. 

Note from Elizabeth (EJ) Ashbourne, Executive Director, PQMD
 ej headshot

PQMD is focusing on specific themes each month that are selected based on trending topics, sustainable development issues, and areas of strategic importance to global health. For the month of October, we focused on the important topic of mental health, piggy-backing on World Mental Health Day, which was held on October 10th. This topic is especially important right now as the impact of COVID-19 has led to many mental health challenges, including anxiety and depression from being isolated, compounded by the fear of losing jobs or loved ones. Within a global context, mental health is widely recognized as a critical priority to address as COVID-19 has amplified hunger, economic instability, and the challenges of controlling other diseases in different regions throughout the world. 

In this newsletter, we include information from our members that demonstrate how they have been addressing mental health in their work. Additionally, we have added resources to the CoP related to mental health. We hope you find this information helpful and please feel free to add your own tools, programs, and articles to the materials available.

I also wanted to highlight PQMD's first VIRTUAL Education Forum and AGM. It was quite an endeavor for the Program Management Committee led by Steve Hower of HHI, and the PQMD staff, to put this meeting together and I'm so proud of the team for all their hard work to make this meeting so successful. I would also like to thank our members and all the speakers for their excellent contributions. All the sessions were informative and inspiring. Under the PQMD News, you will find a summary of the meeting and we also have posted the program review and videos on the CoP.

As we move into the winter, there is a lot of uncertainty but I'm so thankful for PQMD's members! I was thrilled to see all your faces and hear your voices during our virtual Forum and I know we are all anxious to resume our wonderful face-to-face meetings as soon as possible. Let's hope that this time next year, we will all be together again, at last. Please stay safe everyone! 





PQMD Holds Webinar to Announce the Release of our NEW Online Interactive Guidelines Module

On October 28th, PQMD held a webinar to announce the release of our new Quality Medical Product Donation Guidelines module, which provides access to an online, interactive version of the guidelines on any device from anywhere in the world! With this new version of the PQMD Guidelines, users can search from the needed content, download key infographics for on-the-go reference, and test their knowledge of key principles of the Guidelines.

This exciting tool will help product donation professionals and others in the international development field navigate different aspects of product donations. The webinar provided a demo of the module. If you missed the webinar and would like to view the recording, please click here

PQMD Holds Virtual Annual Education Forum and AGM

On October 20-22, PQMD held its first virtual annual Education Forum and AGM. The Education Forum, held for two days, began with the opportunity to hear from Puerto Rico's health and economic officials and representatives from local and international corporate and nonprofit organizations. They discussed their response to Hurricane Maria and how they are coping with COVID-19 and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and earthquakes. Throughout the Education Forum, there were panels of experts discussing important topics to our members, including COVID response and trends and supply chain challenges. 

We also took time to partake in a mental health exercise and discuss the guidelines and the new module that was launched on October 28th. 

The Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held on October 22nd, provided an opportunity for Elizabeth Ashbourne, PQMD's Executive Director, to share all the work that is being done by PQMD on behalf of the members. We were also able to break out into smaller groups to discuss different topics of importance, including the CoP, PQMD's member satisfaction survey, COVID-19 recovery, and capturing and communicating our work. 

While it was a challenge to meet virtually this year, it still provided an excellent learning opportunity for our members and allowed for some time for us to connect. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you would like to read a more descriptive summary of the meeting, please visit the CoP



Community of Practice (CoP) 



PQMD COVID-19 Pillar Talk on Innovation in the Health Care Supply Chain During the Time of COVID - Recording Now Available 

 The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global supply chains. The pressure for medicines, protective equipment, therapeutics, and products to combat both COVID-19 and existing illness and disease will only increase as the pandemic continues and the need for an equitable, inclusive, and efficient distribution of all of these for COVID-19 and other diseases needs to be ensured. 

PQMD, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF), hosted a webinar on October 29, 2020 at 10am where leaders in the fields of healthcare, supply chain and humanitarian services discussed the current distribution landscape for life-saving medicines, vaccines, and other essential goods in the face of this global pandemic. They discussed some examples of innovative mobility solutions and novel technologies that can be used to solve supply system challenges and generate true community value.

The view the recording of this webinar, please visit the PQMD website here

PQMD Member News- COVID-19


PQMD Members Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic 

PQMD is continuing to monitor how members are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our members are doing incredible work to assist with this crisis around the world. You can find updates on what PQMD members are doing on the CoP (members only) or the PQMD website. If you have an update you'd like us to include, please send an email to Sam MacDonald at  

Additionally, we can also include fundraising campaigns efforts. Please send to Beth Haynes at 


Sanofi, GSK to Provide 200 Million Covid Vaccine Doses to WHO Global Immunization Program
PQMD members Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced on Wednesday, October 29th that they will provide 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to the World Health Organization's Covax program. Covax is a global partnership that seeks to deliver 2 billion doses of the vaccine across the world by the end of 2021.

Global health organizations including the GAVI vaccine alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO are leading the Covax effort, which is focused on first vaccinating the most high-risk people in every country. The deal is contingent on the vaccine winning regulatory approval, the companies said in a statement. 

Read the full article on CNBC.   

Now is the Time to Prioritize Mental Health on a Global Scale: Johnson & Johnson  

J&J is working to urgently address barriers to mental health care in low-and middle-income countries. This past year, COVID-19 and related disruptions to health care services have disproportionately impacted poor and underserved populations, exposing weaknesses in systems around the world. There is now a renewed focus on the United Nations' Global Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being, which lays out the agenda for expanding access to quality care by 2030 and includes targets around mental health.

As part of its effort to tackle this challenge in low-and middle-income countries, Johnson & Johnson launched a program in Rwanda in 2018 to significantly strengthen and expand access to quality mental health care in the country. The partnership is built upon the progressive leadership of the Rwanda Ministry of Health to construct an effective mental health care system. September 19th, a flying armada organized by volunteer pilots flying private aircraft today delivered 100,000 KN95 respirators from Direct Relief's California-based humanitarian distribution center to residents and firefighters in Oregon's worst-hit fire-zones.

To read more about this program, please visit the PQMD website here

HPIC and Saint Camille- Improving Mental Health in Benin, Ivory Coast and Togo 

For the last ten years, Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) has partnered with the Association Saint-Camille-de- Lellis (Saint-Camille), to support patients suffering from mental health disorders in the West African countries of Benin, Ivory Coast and Togo. 

Founded by Gregoire Ahongbonon in 1991, Saint-Camille seeks to demystify and eliminate the stigma of mental illness in the region through offering patients psychiatric and primary care. In honour of his important work and commitment to mental health, this month Mr. Ahongbonon was awarded the prestigious Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award ( which is awarded annually to people, organizations or projects around the world that have made an "exceptional contribution to mental healthcare" and which rewards "initiatives that approach people suffering from mental illness as cultural, creative and social beings."

First started as a group of volunteers providing basic care and emotional support to local people suffering from mental illness, Saint-Camille has now grown into a network of 50 inpatient psychiatric and rehabilitation centers and outpatient clinics across the region. 

When patients arrive at a Saint-Camille treatment center, they are diagnosed and provided with psychiatric services including counselling and medications approved for the treatment of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 

HPIC is pleased to partners with Mr. Ahongbonon and Saint-Camille in this life-saving work.

Saint-Camille has been advocating for national procurement of needed mental health medications and has been implementing cooperative mechanisms to enable patients to access medicines on an ongoing basis. However, where gaps remain and procuring medicines has been a challenge, HPIC has assisted Saint Camille in obtaining donated products used to treat more complex illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

With regular access to medicine and treatment by nurses, therapists and caregivers, patients have been able to resume their daily activities and have been reintegrated back into their communities, many becoming Saint Camille workers themselves. 

Beyond its work with Saint Camille, since 2015, HPIC has delivered more than 500,000 monthly courses of treatment to patients in over 30 countries. Recognizing mental health as an escalating area of need, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, HPIC looks forward to working with partners to play a greater role in improving mental health services around the world. For all of us, the work continues. 

Read the full article on PQMD's website here.  


A Double Disaster: Supporting the Mental Health of Bahamians Recovering from Hurricane Dorian while Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic 

When Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco Islands in September 2019, it became the strongest hurricane in modern records to make landfall in the Bahamas. The deadly storm disrupted all the essential community services, including water, electricity and medicine. Heart to Heart International's (HHI) Disaster Response Team responded immediately, providing medical and mental health support to the people of Abaco islands. 

As the people of the Bahamas were working to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, the global pandemic of COVID-19 hit-- leading to a double disaster for residents of the island nation. The trauma, stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19 were piled on top of the lingering effects of Hurricane Dorian to take a heavy toll on the mental health of the islands' residents. 

Though the pandemic forced HHI to suspend in-person work in the Bahamas in March, HHI was able to continue helping the island through work with partner organizations, HHI began partnering with Bahamas Psychological Association (BPA) to support ongoing mental health outreach to people in need. 

The newest collaboration between the two organizations in the Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Project: Service Provision to Hurricane Dorian Survivors in a COVID-19 Era. This project is designed to provide mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services to people directly affected by Hurricane Dorian as they navigate the challenges of an active hurricane season and the COVID-19 pandemic. It will address the impact of repeated trauma and increased anxiety assoicated with unprecedented uncertainty due to multiple stressors. 

Some of the goals of the project include: 

  • developing and distributing materials to promote coping strategies, 
  • extending operating hours for mental health helplines, 
  • re-activating two Creole-speaking helplines,
  • increase access to tele-mental health services to health-risk populations, 
  • designating and training MHPSS Coordinators on multiple islands to improve access to and awareness of mental health support and services. 
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb around the world, Heart to Heart International believes it is critical to support efforts to care for the mental health of the Bahamian people. 

"We are so excited to be able to partner with the BPA and play a small role in the organization's extraordinary work," said Wes Comfort, Caribbean Response and Recovery Lead, Heart to Heart International. "Following Dorian in 2019 and into the current pandemic, mental health services have never been more important."  

Read the article on PQMD's website here.

Highlights From Around the Web



Dramatic Reduction in Blindness is Good News-- Let's Finish the Job

In a world of gloomy global health news, progress against the leading cause of contagious and irreversible blindness-- trachoma-- is heartening. The WHO has reported a remarkable 91% reduction in people at risk of contracting the neglected tropical disease since 2002.

Trachoma, left untreated, causes small lesions under eyelids that force eyelashes to invert. Eventually, every blink painfully scratches the cornea. Please blink more than 28,000 times per day-- causing so much damage over the course of years that vision loss and blindness are irreversible.

The battle against trachoma is being waged on 4 fronts, with the WHO and partners-- in collaboration with health ministries and other government agencies-- significantly scaling-up their "SAFE Strategy, consisting of surgery to treat trichiasis; antibiotics to treat early infection; facial cleanliness; and environmental improvements to prevent infection. 

Despite improvements, roughly 40% of the world's population does not have water service at home; 2 billion people do not have basic toilets or latrines; 44% of schools lack hand washing facilities, and 37% lack basic sanitation. 

This year is critical for NTDs with the anticipated passage of an NTD Resolution at the November virtual World Health Assembly, to be followed by a draft 2021-2030 NTD Roadmap calling for the reduction of NTDs through greater cross-sector collaboration, country ownership, disease integration, and health systems strengthening--which requires WASH. 

To read the full article, click here.

The Human Cost of Disasters: An Overview of the Last 20 Years (2000-2019) 

On October 13, 2020, UNDRR published a report to mark the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. The report confirms how extreme weather events have come to dominate the disaster landscape in the 21st century. The statistics in this report are from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) which record disasters which have killed ten or more people, affected 100 or more people; resulted in a declared state of emergency; or a call for international assistance.

In the period 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major recorded disaster events claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people (many on more than one occasion) resulting in approximately $2.97 trillion in global economic losses. This is a sharp increase over the previous twenty years. Between 1980 and 1999, 4,212 disasters were linked to natural hazards worldwide claiming approximately 1.19 million lives and affecting 3.25 billion people resulting in approximately $1.63 trillion in economic losses. 

Read the full UNDRR report here.  


Preventive Drugs Halve Malaria Infections in African School Children, Major Study Finds

Giving school-age children in Africa preventive antimalarials reduces infections by almost 50 percent and could help eliminate the disease across the continent, experts have found.  

According to a study published in The Lancet Global Health, the prevalence of malaria among 15,000 school children fell by 46 percent when they were given treatments to prevention infections. Subsequent cases of clinical malaria dropped by 50 percent. 

While huge strides were made in efforts to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease between 2000 and 2015, progress since has stalled. In 2018, the latest year with available data, roughly 400,000 people died from malaria and there were 228 million cases worldwide. 

Read the full article on The Telegraph here.  


COVID-19 Disrupting Mental Health Services in Most Countries, WHO Survey 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing, according to a new WHO survey. The survey of 130 countries provides the first global data showing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health services and underscores the urgent need for increased funding. 

The survey was published ahead of WHO's Big Event for Mental Health-- a global online advocacy event held on October 10th, and brought together world leaders, celebrities, and advocates calling for increased mental health investments in the wake of COVID-19.

WHO has previously highlighted the chronic underfunding of mental health: prior to the pandemic, countries were spending less than 2 percent of their national health budgets on mental health, and struggling to meet their populations' needs. 

Read more on the World Health Organization website here.   

Upcoming Events

World Tsunami Awareness Day 
 November 5, 2020 

International Week of Science and Peace 
 November 9-13, 2020

2020 Africa Initiative 
 November 16-17, 2020

World Toilet Day
 November 19, 2020

World Children's Day
 November 20, 2020




Connect with other PQMD members attending these conferences on our Community of Practice



Our mailing address is:

326 First Street, Suite 32, Annapolis, MD 21403


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
PQMD · 326 First Street · Suite 32 · Annapolis, Md 21403 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp