Canadian Red Cross field hospital helps support healthcare amidst COVID-19

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, healthcare systems are under strain to keep up with demand. This is one of the areas where the Canadian Red Cross is uniquely ready to respond and adapt to changing circumstances and needs.

During disasters and emergencies, there is a need for healthcare, and support for impacted or damaged healthcare infrastructure. During international disasters like Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and the Nepal earthquake, the Canadian Red Cross sent our emergency field hospital along with specially trained aid workers. Now, our field hospital is helping to support the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Supplies for the emergency field hospital in BCAt the request of the province of British Columbia, the Canadian Red Cross sent its field hospital together with a seven-person technical team to provide expertise and guidance on the set up and operation of an alternative care site.

The field hospital and equipment are being used to support existing health infrastructure in the area, and the health authority is providing the clinical services. In addition to the physical infrastructure, the technical team provided leadership on site selection, infection control protocols, and patient flow.

The Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program is providing additional equipment such as hospital beds, commodes, walkers, IV poles and wheelchairs to support the operation.

The Canadian Red Cross emergency field hospital is often used internationally and has been deployed more than 25 times in the last ten years to support people and communities following a major event. Field hospitals are adaptable, and are sent with the specific components needed for each unique response, like cholera treatment clinics or maternal healthcare. For example, when the field hospital was sent to Mozambique after the local hospital in Nhamatanda was destroyed by Cyclone Idai, the entire emergency response unit was deployed which included a pharmacy, full operating theatre, and special treatment centres.

The Canadian Red Cross will continue to liaise with Vancouver Coastal Health for the duration of this health emergency.

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