As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to ravage the planet, Klick Health has tapped into its deep well of resources and extensive network to provide protective equipment for medical professionals on the treatment frontlines.
On Thursday, Klick co-founder and chairman Leerom Segal spent the day delivering 300,000 medical-grade KN95 masks to hospitals and health systems in the greater Toronto area. That effort came on the heels of a Klick partnership with Toronto’s Humber River Hospital to donate 300 transparent polycarbonate intubation boxes, designed to protect healthcare professionals as they intubate COVID-19 patients, to medical facilities in the region.
Additionally, to help fund further production of additional personal protective equipment, Klick has established the Frontlines.Health Foundation. The agency will cover all costs associated with project design, project management and partner coordination.
The philanthropic effort was spurred by Klick’s frustration upon hearing reports that frontline providers lacked adequate protective gear. “Everybody’s seen the news. This is a crisis of unprecedented proportions,” Segal said. “We have an amazing team and luckily we were able to invest the money and get the brave souls who are protecting the rest of us the protection they need… The red thread through all these initiatives is that they are providing protection to these frontline heroes.”
Getting the multiple programs up and running took a good deal of coordination – “a lot of logistics, a lot of begging,” Segal joked. To secure the masks, Klick worked with Rob Schwartz, the Toronto CEO of Wa-Lin Trading, who has extensive relationships with manufacturers in China. After ensuring that the factories set to produce the masks would comply with EU-approved health and safety standards and that the masks would be inspected, Klick gave the go-ahead.
Only then, after wiring payment, did the real challenge begin. “We had to work through licensing, logistics, air freight – a lot more than we ever expected to learn,” Segal continued. “But we’re just thrilled because today we were able to donate the masks.”
He’s equally gratified by the response from Klick’s people, more than 100 of whom have volunteered to contribute to the company’s efforts. “A lot of the work that we’re doing now is with various government agencies, just helping them in any way we can, whether it’s doing data modeling and visualization or just helping with coding,” Segal said.
As Segal devotes a large percentage of his time and energy during the months ahead to the philanthropic missions, Klick president Lori Grant will continue to oversee the agency’s client work. “With Lori at the helm, all client needs are being serviced. We’re fortunate to be open for business and all of that is going incredibly well,” Segal added.
As for those clients, he reiterated his belief that pharma is well equipped to rise to the moment. “We’re confident that our clients will be able to solve the therapeutic and ultimately the vaccine challenge, but in the interim we need to protect those who protect us.”
Klick’s next COVID-related project will be a version of the intubation box modified for use in ambulances. “We have several prototypes that are being tested in the field for us right now,” Segal said. “Once we scale that up, we’ll be ready to take on additional missions.”
Hospitals can request intubation boxes at Klick’s COVID-19 website.
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