COVID-19: A Catalyst for Strengthening Health Systems

Business as usual was simply not an option in the face of COVID-19. At PSI, we responded to the pandemic by strengthening health systems, pivoting 300+ health programs, engaging in data-driven behavior change campaigns to encourage vaccine uptake and supporting and training healthcare workers.

Behavior change

Since September 2020, we’ve conducted research into consumer attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and converted insights gained into digital behavior-change campaigns – at scale.

We found that two in five adults in Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa expressed skepticism toward getting a vaccine. We needed to conduct a great deal of groundwork to change consumers’ attitudes toward COVID vaccines – starting in 26 countries.  

We partnered with Meta (formerly Facebook) in 26 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America to address vaccine hesitancy and encourage mask-wearing. Our targeted and localized social media campaigns reached over 160 million people and led to notable behavior changes. Learn more

Building the
healthcare Workforce

To serve consumers, health workers need the tools and trainings to adapt health services, including COVID-19 preventive care and treatment.

70 percent of the frontline and community health workers worldwide are women. Yet, their voices are often missing in national decision-making bodies. Many don’t have access to vaccines. Even personal protective equipment are designed with men in mind. We joined Women in Global Health in committing to advancing gender equity in healthcare.

Remote solutions offer opportunities. From WhatsApp to e-learning platforms, we have developed digital trainings for health workers in public and private facilities. We have found that information retention rates have been higher than pre-pandemic in-person trainings. Learn more

As COVID-19 evolves, so too must our services. We’ve documented our pivots to sexual and reproductive health programming, including changes to safe abortion and post-abortion care in contexts in which these services are legal – all for partners like you to apply.  

Health Systems

From building the capacity of Public Health Emergency Operation Centers to bridging supply chain gaps through drone deliveries, we're working alongside consumers and government to strengthen health systems - the consumer-powered way.

In Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, we are supporting Public Health Emergency Operations Centers (PHEOC) – to generate data so that health systems can get ahead of COVID-19. Learn more

health worker wearing mask and gloves

In Madagascar, we are using drone technology to ensure last-mile delivery of COVID vaccines in some of the country’s most remote villages.

The impact in Madagascar signals opportunity for governments elsewhere. 
Since October 2019, PSI Madagascar has:

successful drone flights recorded

1700 KG
of medical supplies delivered

COVID vaccines delivered per flight

Healthcare delivery

Self-care practices lessened the burden on already overstretched health systems during COVID-19.

Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen increased volumes of HIV self-testing (HIVST) kits procured and distributed. As of July 2021, 93 countries now report HIVST policies with implementation increasing–all as countries work to maintain HIV services during the pandemic. Learn More

Impact of
COVID-19 Response

We have been at the frontline since COVID’s start. Across PSI's 40+ countries, we have;

healthcare programs adapted to provide essential services, mitigate COVID infection risk and respond to consumers’ needs during the pandemic

160M+ consumers reached with COVID-19 prevention and vaccine hesitancy communications

Combatting COVID is a
community affair

As these stories show, we’re in a place to keep working with partners, governments and consumers to continue providing essential services, mitigate COVID risk and respond to consumers’ evolving needs.

Together, we can advance the critical work by generating research, innovating programming, influencing policies and strengthening health systems to deliver on our commitment to quality – during this pandemic, and well beyond.

Let’s work together. Email Dr. Eva Lathrop at: [email protected]