Tackling pandemics via a strategic approach
When faced with the Ebola outbreak back in 2014, the UBS Optimus Foundation worked with strategic partners from the healthcare sector (e.g. Last Mile Health, Americares, Médecins Sans Frontières, etc.) to develop a long-term approach to pandemic control. This approach is being pursued in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. It is based on the following pillars:
- Prevention of the spread of the virus: helping to educate the population about signs, symptoms, transmission and protective measures such as hygiene and social distancing rules.
- Detection of cases: providing frontline health organizations with assistance to identify symptoms in patients and conduct tests.
- Response to the situation: increasing capacity for emergency treatment in health organizations and ensuring the functioning of primary healthcare.
This approach sounds simple. But reality shows how difficult it is to implement. This is not only true for countries with less developed health systems. In Switzerland, too, there have been headlines about the scarcity of protective material such as masks or coronavirus tests.
The UBS Optimus Foundation also deals with the indirect effects of coronavirus. It is assisting young adults who are having difficulty entering the labor market due to the pandemic.
Initial results prove that the approach works
As early as spring 2020, clients, employees and UBS itself made generous donations to the UBS Optimus Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund. Initial results show how these donations have helped in the fight against COVID-19 in Switzerland and internationally:
- Through the non-profit organization Americares, more than 60 tons of medical supplies were made available to 11 countries and more than 2,000 people received healthcare training.
- The Freedom Fund supports the weakest people who are particularly badly affected, for example by giving them small cash grants, protective materials or food. Donations from the UBS Optimus Foundation have also been used to train over 200 women in India to sew masks, for instance.
- In Switzerland, the Swiss Red Cross was able to offer a home delivery service for risk groups, which has been used to make 5,900 deliveries. The donations also went to a drive-in test center in Bern, where almost 4,400 people have been tested for COVID-19.
- In total, over 37 partners around the world have benefited from donations made through the UBS Optimus Foundation, providing protective materials, medical equipment, emergency aid and training.
After coronavirus is before coronavirus
These are just a few examples of how UBS Optimus Foundation donations and the strategic approach it takes can help cope with pandemics such as COVID-19 and Ebola. However, the solution is not only to put out the fire. The UBS Optimus Foundation wants to achieve a longer-term ambition with its approach: establish and support a functioning healthcare system all over the world. In the long term, everyone worldwide should be better protected against disease and have the chance to grow up and live healthily. This is the only way in which we can be prepared for further pandemics and well-known diseases.
Make a contribution with a donation
In order to realize this ambition, the UBS Optimus Foundation applies strict criteria to all its commitments – whether in selecting the organizations it supports or in managing the donated funds. UBS bears all the foundation’s administrative costs, for instance. This ensures that 100 percent of each donation reaches those who most urgently need it.
Would you like to join in making a contribution towards functioning healthcare systems around the world? You will find a list of the individual projects you can support directly with your donation on the UBS Optimus Foundation donation page: ubs.com/optimus-donate.