Healthcare workers stand ready in Peru


COVID-19 Response

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose the inequity of health systems around the world, disproportionately impacting people of color, the poor, and historically marginalized communities.

COVID-19’s toll has also forced a reckoning: we are all part of a global network, and until everyone is protected, no one is protected.

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PIH Answers the Call

At Partners In Health, we’ve been working alongside community members in hard-hit regions around the world for more than 30 years, seeking to halt deadly disease outbreaks -- from Ebola in West Africa to cholera in Haiti to HIV in Rwanda -- while reinforcing more just and robust public health systems that provide access to care for all.

When COVID-19 spread globally in early 2020, PIH responded to calls for assistance from health ministries, local administrators, and clinicians overwhelmed by this latest health emergency. We continue to lead an expansive global response to COVID-19 in partnership with national governments, ministries of health, and local stakeholders. 

We worked with our partners to help fill crucial gaps, such as: 

Strengthened contact tracing in Mexico

caregiver checking in patients for covid test

Assisted the government of Lesotho in establishing an oxygen plant 

Caretakers signing document for supplies

Trained contact tracers in Navajo Nation

Navajo nation caregivers in ppe

Implemented a test and treat program in Peru

Two women discussing in a hospital room


We are now focused on incorporating lessons learned from COVID-19 to prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks and advocate for equitable access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. 

Expert Mercy

PIH’s equity-centered approach fuses the pragmatic with the idealistic: we help people most in need by delivering the highest quality health care and support.

This focus on social justice guided our collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose officials asked us to help build a statewide contact tracing program to slow the virus’s spread.

Partnering with local health departments from May 2020 to November 2021, contact tracers reached almost 700,000 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, and their contacts, advising them about testing, isolation, quarantine, and vaccines.

A novel initiative, the Care Resource Coordination (CRC) program, was implemented to address the disproportionate economic and health impacts from COVID-19 in vulnerable communities and support safe isolation and quarantine. The CRC program connected approximately 119,000 individuals with short and long-term social supports, such as food, financial assistance, primary healthcare, and emergency housing. 


healthcare for all protest in boston

When PIH launched its United States COVID-19 response in the spring of 2020 through the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative, we called upon our experience fighting epidemics and strengthening public health systems worldwide.  
From enhancing contact tracing, testing, and social support programs to establishing vaccine rollout plans centered on equity and access, we worked with our partners across the country to deploy a robust public health response tailored to the unique needs of each community.  
We're now expanding our work to focus on strengthening public and community health systems. We strive to realize the right to health in the U.S. by working shoulder-to-shoulder with public health departments and community organizations to advance their long-term visions for healthier communities and more just systems.

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Looking Forward

We believe responding to pandemics and infectious diseases is continuous and collaborative work. Long-term investments in health systems are essential for responding to unpredictable diseases.

PIH's work begins at the community level where we implement feasible and practical solutions to healthcare challenges. Strong local and national relationships inform priorities and shape program design.

Our approach includes valuable geographic and contextual diversity from decades of responding to and operationalizing best practices for disease outbreaks across eleven countries.

Our current response is based on four main pillars:

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Protect patients, staff, and communities through ongoing disease surveillance; strong infection prevention and control programs; and training, mentorship, and support for community health workers

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Provide dignified, high-quality treatment for people with COVID-19, and all patients at PIH-supported facilities, and support equitable, affordable, and rapid access to testing, vaccines, and therapeutics

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Accompany public sector colleagues at each care delivery site; advocate for long-term health systems funding globally

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Incorporate early and comprehensive social support systems for impacted individuals and communities and engage with community outreach programs

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More On PIH’s COVID Response