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Community Contribution

Breathing Coaches and Other COVID Surge Responses in Eswatini Save Lives

Echo VanderWal

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Eswatini in March 2020, The Luke Commission Eswatini (TLC) quickly adapted facilities, personnel, and treatment approaches to respond to what would soon become hundreds of severe COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 patients were admitted to private rooms in TLC’s newly-completed inpatient facility at the fixed-site Miracle Campus in central Eswatini.

During the first surge, the TLC team developed and implemented a strategy to coach severe COVID patients to maintain deep, relaxed breathing. Breathing coaches helped patients to improve respiration outcomes and also served as 24-hour monitors, tracking patient vitals and oxygen usage. The innovation of assigning breathing coaches to all critical and severe COVID-19 patients not only improved patient oxygen saturation levels, but also served as a task shifting management plan to better monitor severe patients, freeing up doctors and nurses to serve where needed most. TLC applied internal collaboration, pause and reflect, adaptive management and continuous learning components of the CLA framework to maximize resources in responding to COVID-19. As a result, TLC was able to provide compassionate, patient-centered critical care to patients from across Eswatini during the worst spike of the COVID-19 pandemic to date. 

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