Airlink and the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) have joined forces to send the first 14 of 50 medical personal to the US Virgin Islands (USVI). The mission is in response to a call for help from the USVI Department of Health and FEMA.
A new partner for Airlink, IMANA is one of the largest faith-based medical groups in the world and is the largest Muslim medical organization in North America. It was founded in 1967 in Illinois and is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering health promotion, disease prevention, and health maintenance in communities around the world through direct patient care, health programs, and advocacy.
Airlink provides airlift to a network of over 130 charities and disaster response organizations, and has been asked to provide transportation for approximately 50 volunteer doctors and nurses for IMANA over the next few weeks.
The medical teams are deploying to hospitals in St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John for 10-day rotations.
“We are very pleased to be able to partner and support the great work of IMANA. This is a particularly important mission for Airlink, as we have such a long history of relief operations in the USVI, delivering aid and expert volunteers post-hurricanes Dorian, Maria and Irma,” said Steven J. Smith President and CEO of Airlink.
There is an urgent need to increase the number of frontline medical personnel in the USVI to handle an expected surge in COVID-19 testing and cases predicted to come with the USVI opening for the summer tourist season. A vital part of its economy, the tourism market accounts for an estimated 60% of the islands’ GDP.
The situation in the USVI is compounded by the fact that they are still recovering from the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and Dorian in 2019 – each of which stressed an already vulnerable, aging, urban population and strained healthcare system. Volunteer medical teams will help manage a surge in COVID-19 coming from the mainland U.S. which is predicted to then impacting the local residents working in tourism sector.
Due to continued need and requests from partners to transport additional emergency supplies, Airlink is raising funds to support future flights and operations. Follow Airlink’s response to COVID-19.