Protect ourselves from the virus, help the disadvantaged and get through this crisis. Your Foundation is with you to achieve this
TEXT The World of MAPFRE Editorial Dept | PHOTOGRAPH Fundación MAPFRE
When we came face-to-face with the COVID-19 threat, as well as launching business continuity contingency plans, there quickly arose logical concerns about how to help, how to provide or receive psychological assistance, how to donate resources to society, how to contribute to the reconstruction of the countries… There was no need for the alarms to go off; from the very outset, your Foundation was already working on it. We tell you here how we are investing 35 million euros.
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Actions taken by Fundación MAPFRE to tackle covid-19
Support for vaccine research undertaken by the CSIC (Spanish National Scientific Research Center)
Acciones covid FM por países
50.000 Kits de higiene
Scientific research, a top priority
Right away, Fundación MAPFRE donated a total of five million euros to the CSIC (Spanish National Scientific Research Center) to accelerate research related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the strain which caused the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus combat the disease. This aid will enable the CSIC to conduct a comprehensive study of this pandemic and acquire greater knowledge of the virus and its transmission mechanisms. This can not only lead to a vaccine, but also provide a scientific basis for how to better protect the population from future pandemics.
Likewise in support for scientific research, and given their scarcity, our Foundation also funded the development and manufacture of a prototype respirator, a device that provides assistance to those most seriously infected by COVID-19. The device was designed by The Open Ventilator, a team of Spanish researchers, thanks to the support of the King Juan Carlos University and Celera (a network of talented young researchers). Authorization for clinical trials with patients was obtained from the AEMPS (Spanish Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency) in early April. The project enables its efficiency to be verified, paving the way for its subsequent low-cost manufacture on a non-profit basis. In the words of the product coordinator, Álvaro Gallego, “we are convinced that The Open Ventilator offers the most complete, safest blend of technical and medical qualities. In fact, this was the first such device to be approved by the Spanish health authorities.”
Another contribution Fundación MAPFRE made in Spain was to provide materials to volunteers from the Francisco Vitoria University and the E-Rescue company, to enable them to manufacture some 50,000 protective equipment elements, such as visors and fabric face masks, now being distributed among health workers and other personnel exposed to the coronavirus.
20 million euros in healthcare supplies for 27 countries
The rapid spread of this pandemic caught the health services of most countries totally off guard and unprepared, with a severe shortage of essential supplies needed to combat this emergency. For this reason, Fundación MAPFRE has donated a total of 20 million euros in 27 countries to purchase medical, protection and respiratory equipment, as well as to start up emergency medical units and field hospitals, and conduct PCR diagnostic confirmation tests in order to detect COVID-19.
A whole range of actions were undertaken in each country. Here are just a few examples, but there are many more:
- In Peru, in collaboration with APESEG (Peruvian Association of Insurance Companies), they donated a total of 160 respirators.
- In Brazil, together with the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, ten intensive care units (ICUs) were installed in a new field hospital.
- In the Dominican Republic, in collaboration with the BHD León Financial Center, a donation was made to the Public Health Ministry to enable 28,000 free PCR diagnostic confirmation tests to be carried out to detect COVID-19.
Moreover, in Spain, the following material was distributed to elderly care homes, hospitals and social care institutions:
- 150 respirators (50 for Spain and 100 for Latin America)
- 100,000 FFP2 masks,
- 525,000 surgical masks,
- 3,000 protective goggles,
- 130,000 disposable gowns and
- 750,000 nitrile gloves
But not only personal protection equipment was a priority in those days. Fundación MAPFRE also financed two portable disinfection devices for the Spanish National Police Force. These units, valued at 15,000 euros, are based on cutting-edge technology developed by the University of Alcalá de Henares. They are capable of dispersing a disinfectant in ultrafine particles which are the same size as the coronavirus, thus enabling a much more effective, comprehensive disinfection than can be achieved by conventional means.
Aid for the most disadvantaged
The cessation of classroom activity in schools has also highlighted the fragility of the underprivileged, given that those families with limited resources are the hardest hit by this crisis. For this reason, Fundación MAPFRE is working on such fundamental aspects as school meals and support measures.
Within its Sé Solidario program, your Foundation distributed new micro-donations (up to 2,000 euros each) to small social enterprises throughout Spain, such as the Mi Princesa Rett Association, Ana Carolina Díez Mahou Foundation, Tengo Hogar Foundation, Caritas Diocesana and Altamar. They were used for the purchase of basic necessities, such as food and cleaning and personal hygiene products.
Once the crisis is over and things return to normal, Fundación MAPFRE plans to allocate 200,000 euros to launch a solidarity campaign designed to provide students at risk of exclusion with materials for the start of the new school year.
Many people are suffering a tremendous emotional burden these days. Losing and not being able to bid farewell to loved ones makes bereavement, tough enough under normal circumstances, much more intense. For this reason, our Foundation, in collaboration with the Luria Group and the Spanish Funeral Services Association, launched a psychological support scheme for people who have lost relatives to this coronavirus. Psychologists, grief specialists from the Luria Group, are attending the most affected families by telephone and will monitor them as needed to ensure they fully recover. As one of these specialists comments, “No one treatment fits all. This means we have to adapt to each individual and their circumstances, discovering how each person handles this emotional burden. We help them seek relief and make them understand that, while this is a difficult process, it is also both necessary and natural.”
Support and advice for self-employed workers and smes
Recovering and promoting employment is also one of the priority objectives of this extraordinary package of measures Fundación MAPFRE will be implementing in 2020 through Accedemos, its employment program for the self-employed and small enterprises. As an immediate measure at the outset of the crisis, in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Self-Employed Workers’ Associations (ATA), it launched a telephone counseling plan for self-employed workers. Practical advice was also given on how to complete administrative procedures, apply for financial aid, ICO (Official Credit Institute) loans and tax deferrals, among others.
“Now, for them.” Your donation is worth double with fundación mapfre
Anyone interested in making a donation to alleviate this crisis could do so through the micro-donation campaign launched by Fundación MAPFRE, as it has done in other emergency situations. Through the Sé Solidario program, our Foundation doubled each contribution, up to a maximum of 300,000 euros. The money raised was used to meet the urgent needs of elderly people living alone in poor health and precarious economic conditions, in coordination with CEOMA (Spanish Confederation of Associations for the Elderly).
Friendly voices and flowers
Within its volunteering program, the A Friendly Voice project stands out. Its objective is to provide personal, human, emotional support by telephone to elderly people suffering from loneliness who are isolated in their homes. This initiative was launched in collaboration with the Senda Group and thanks to the fine work of volunteers.
And with the idea of making the little ones aware of the situation we were going through, the A Flower for our Seniors initiative was launched. From their homes, our volunteers’ children were encouraged to fabricate flowers by recycling materials commonly found in our homes. Once this quarantine period is over, these flowers will be sold in Fundación MAPFRE’s solidarity markets to support social projects targeting the elderly.
“Dedicating a little time to our seniors enriches us all”
A Fundación MAPFRE volunteer sums up with these words how rewarding this experience is for her. She also underscores how the people receiving her calls were so surprised and grateful, even more so when they discovered that it was a volunteering, totally altruistic activity. But, in the words of our volunteer, “this enriches us all.”