Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 23(2) July 2020 : 9-15.doi:10.12927/hcq.2020.26282
Responding to the COVID Crisis

In a Time of Need: A Grassroots Initiative in Response to PPE Shortage in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Meera Shah, Jordan Ho, Adrina Zhong, Matthew Fung, Mario Elia, Janet Dang and Thomas R. Freeman


Setting: Primary care is the first line of defence in healthcare, particularly during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In the London–Middlesex region of Ontario, a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) was identified among primary care physicians (PCPs).

Intervention: With the help of the London–Middlesex Primary Care Alliance, volunteer administrators, physicians and medical students coordinated the acquisition and redistribution of community-donated PPE to PCPs across London–Middlesex. Our scope evolved to include PPE reusability and stewardship and PCP wellness.

Outcome: Beginning on March 16, 2020, our initial four-week operation provided PPE to over 200 PCPs. We received 60 donations, including over 118,000 gloves, 13,700 masks, 700 wellness kits and reusable cloth masks and gowns. Each delivery included educational pamphlets, and our online PPE stewardship session was attended by over 30 physicians.

Implications: In response to the PPE shortage in COVID-19, our efforts evolved into a complex adaptive system, supported by an organizational body with a pre-existing communication infrastructure, to great success. Our scope extended beyond simple PPE provision to PCPs. Furthermore, our initiative established a framework for a centralized response to PPE shortage in Ontario Health West.



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