Addressing the Need
Infectious disease emerged in the 2019 CHNA as a new priority area. Disproportionate rates of infection in the Lowell areas for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis, and HIV/ AIDS contribute to increasing community concern for disease management and mitigation. The convening of several working groups and task forces in response to COVID-19 will be sustained through the reporting period to continue to engage the community in meaningful response. GLHA also commits to supporting efforts of local governments via tangible support and data sharing as they coordinate responses to pandemics and other infectious disease concerns.
Upcoming and Ongoing Actions
The emergent COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrated the need to Increase the Capacity of Community Response to an infectious disease event. While emergency preparedness may look different across each Greater Lowell community, efforts to identify, establish, and convene an emergency preparedness task force whose primary objective is assessing and evaluating current barriers and resources is a critical first step.
Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation awarded this grant to the GLHA to purchase and distribute personal protection equipment (PPE) to more than thirty nonprofit organizations, schools, and municipalities to benefit under-served populations.
Decreasing the Rate of New HIV/Hepatitis C Infection through targeted support for scale-up of existing community-based programs is critical for responding to the disparities in infection across racial/ethnic groups in the Greater Lowell area. Additionally, efforts to increase the capacity of providers to respond to and treat people presenting with HIV/Hepatitis C infection is critical to reducing stigma is increasing service access.
Tick and Insect Illnesses
Increase Awareness for Tick and Other Insect-Borne Illnesses. As tick and insect illnesses were identified as top priority concerns in the CHNA, it is necessary to Increase Awareness for Tick and Other Insect-Borne Illnesses. We aim to increase the knowledge of evidence-based prevention and management of tick and other insect borne illnesses.
Vaccines remain the frontline of defense against a vast majority of infectious diseases in our community. Therefore, Increasing the Proportion of Individuals reporting Timely and Appropriate Vaccinations through the deployment of evidence-based education campaigns was identified as a priority task.