The International President of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the organisation also known as Doctors without Borders, Dr. Christos Christou, has called on all MSF staff to offer support and solidarity during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Christou made the call while noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has already impacted many countries all over the world and will continue affecting more communities over the coming weeks and months. He said that MSF staff must support response to the pandemic wherever they can and however they can, building on their long experience as an emergency organisation and their expertise in the response to major epidemics.
Christou said, ‘The key priority is to keep our regular medical programmes running for the hundreds of thousands of patients we care for and for the extremely vulnerable communities we help around the world. In most countries where MSF works, we are coordinating with the World Health Organisation and ministries of health to see how we can contribute to prevent[ing] and to tackl[ing] this, in case of large numbers of Covid-19 patients. Additionally, we are providing training and increasing efforts on infection prevention and control measures for health facilities and the protection of health staff and patients’.
Furthermore, he admonished everyone to raise their voices publicly and even louder than usual, to ensure that vulnerable and invisible populations do not get forgotten as the virus grabs all the attention. ‘We also have to use our influence to promote actions of solidarity. As the virus knows no borders, the collective reaction to this pandemic must also be managed without borders. Supplies must be sent to those most in need. Health workers must be protected to enable them to sustain the response over weeks and months. Sharing of data, knowledge, resources and health personnel can be game changers in enabling national health services to cope’, he added.
Photo source: Richard Roche