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COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS DISEASE

The COVID-19 coronavirus emerged in China in December 2019  and has since spread to more than 100 countries. Now classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, the outbreak has claimed more than 10,000 lives and is having a huge impact in the affected countries.

Around 80% of people who contact the disease will recover after a mild respiratory illness. However, based on the experience so far, a significant percentage of people (20%) will develop a severe form of the disease will need long term hospitalisation with very specialised care. This poses a huge challenge to even the most sophisticated of health systems.

What is COVID-19 and how can we protect ourselves?

What is MSF doing?

In most countries where MSF works, we are coordinating with the World Health Organization and ministries of health to see how we can contribute to prevent and to tackle this in case of large numbers of COVID-19 patients.

MSF is supporting four hospitals in Italy, the world’s second worst affected country, with patient care and infection control. We are also working in Hong Kong to provide health education and mental health support to vulnerable groups . Our teams have  also submitted a proposal to the Iranian health authorities to help care for patients. Our teams have also started to work on the outbreak in Spain, Belgium and France. 

In Kenya, MSF is part of the taskforce which meets weekly to discuss preparedness and how best to respond to the outbreak. 

In the counties where we run medical programmes, we are also assisting health providers with preparedness  and in our medical facilities, we’re ensuring that infection prevention and control measures are in place, which includes setting up appropriate triage, maintaining isolation areas and providing health education.

Across the world, we are deeply concerned about the impact on people in countries with weak health systems, including places where people live in difficult situations, such as refugee camps or slums. 

MSF has projects in many of these countries and is working hard to ensure we can keep them running. We are already facing some challenges due to travel restrictions and shortages of essential supplies.

Our ability to scale up our work in these places to respond to COVID-19 will depend on the evolution of the outbreak and our capacity to respond.

What needs to be done?

It is clear that we must do all that we can to prevent and delay further spread of the disease. 

We also need to make sure that people can  still receive treatment for non COVID-19 related health conditions. This means ensuring that hospitals don’t become overwhelmed, that health staff can cope with the number of patients requiring intensive care and continue to provide care for other patients who need it. 

Health workers also need enough supplies of vital equipment so that they can work safely.  Any reduction in the number of healthcare staff who can treat patients will put additional pressure on already overwhelmed healthcare systems.

To ensure that all the medical tools urgently needed to respond to the outbreak are affordable and available, stakeholders such as governments, pharmaceutical companies and research organisations developing treatments, diagnostics and vaccines, should take the necessary measures to:

Prevent patents and monopolies from limiting production and affordable access

Guarantee access to repurposed drugs for patients suffering from the disease

Prioritise the availability of medical tools for protection and treatment of healthcare workers

Improve transparency and coordination, making sure an evidence based approach is put in place to continuously monitor the supply chain vulnerability on essential medical tools and adopt mitigation measures where necessary through international coordination

MORE ON OUR WORK ON COVID-19

2
Hospital installed by MSF to treat coronavirus patients in Spain. © Olmo Calvo
27/03/2020

MSF calls for no patents or profiteering on COVID-19 drugs, tests, and vaccines in pandemic

Rationing because of high prices and insufficient supply will prolong pandemic

© David Di Lorenzo/MSF
27/03/2020

Coronavirus in Cote d'Ivoire: Preparation is key to cope with the pandemic

Our teams have been working for the past 15 days to support the response to the coronavirus pandemic in Côte d'Ivoire.
 

27/03/2020

Coronaviruses in West Africa: Focus on the most vulnerable and learning from the past

Today, Sierra Leone remains the only country not  to register COVID-19 cases in West and Central Africa. 

Dr Dorian Job, MSF West Africa Programme Manager in Dakar, provides an update on the situation and priorities at this stage.

 MSF Flag ©Valérie Batselaere/MSF
25/03/2020

MSF steps up its COVID-19 response in Spain

Using its experience in managing epidemics in places with fragile health systems, MSF is stepping up its response to COVID-19 in Spain.

MSF Teams loading medical equipment to be sent to Isaphan, Iran
24/03/2020

Iran: MSF “deeply surprised” as Iranian authorities put a stop to the organisation’s Covid-19 response program

The international humanitarian organisation is ready to deploy its emergency team and inflatable 50-bed facility elsewhere in Iran or to other countries where they are urgently needed

23/03/2020

COVID-19 and Tuberculosis: Global Solidarity Needed

In the context of COVID-19 pandemic,  MSF is worried about vulnerable patients worldwide. One of these groups are people with TB, weaker lungs, often living in poor conditions.

, for a week MSF has been offering support to health workers to help them fight the epidemic safely
23/03/2020

“Our priority is to protect hospital staff” in Codogno, where COVID-19 began in Italy

An MSF team, made up of doctors, nurses and hygiene experts, works every day to support hospital staff in Codogno, Italy 

MSF teams loading medical equipment to be sent to Iran to respond to the coronavirus pandemic
23/03/2020

Covid-19: MSF provides support with response in second worst affected province in Iran

MSF has sent a 50-bed inflatable treatment unit and an emergency team of nine people to Isfahan, the second worst affected province in Iran, to increase hospital capacity for treating the critically ill.

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COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS DISEASE

The COVID-19 coronavirus emerged in China in December 2019  and has since spread to more than 100 countries. Now classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, the outbreak has claimed more than 10,000 lives and is having a huge impact in the affected countries.

Around 80% of people who contact the disease will recover after a mild respiratory illness. However, based on the experience so far, a significant percentage of people (20%) will develop a severe form of the disease will need long term hospitalisation with very specialised care. This poses a huge challenge to even the most sophisticated of health systems.

What is COVID-19 and how can we protect ourselves?

What is MSF doing?

In most countries where MSF works, we are coordinating with the World Health Organization and ministries of health to see how we can contribute to prevent and to tackle this in case of large numbers of COVID-19 patients.

MSF is supporting four hospitals in Italy, the world’s second worst affected country, with patient care and infection control. We are also working in Hong Kong to provide health education and mental health support to vulnerable groups . Our teams have  also submitted a proposal to the Iranian health authorities to help care for patients. Our teams have also started to work on the outbreak in Spain, Belgium and France. 

In Kenya, MSF is part of the taskforce which meets weekly to discuss preparedness and how best to respond to the outbreak. 

In the counties where we run medical programmes, we are also assisting health providers with preparedness  and in our medical facilities, we’re ensuring that infection prevention and control measures are in place, which includes setting up appropriate triage, maintaining isolation areas and providing health education.

Across the world, we are deeply concerned about the impact on people in countries with weak health systems, including places where people live in difficult situations, such as refugee camps or slums. 

MSF has projects in many of these countries and is working hard to ensure we can keep them running. We are already facing some challenges due to travel restrictions and shortages of essential supplies.

Our ability to scale up our work in these places to respond to COVID-19 will depend on the evolution of the outbreak and our capacity to respond.

What needs to be done?

It is clear that we must do all that we can to prevent and delay further spread of the disease. 

We also need to make sure that people can  still receive treatment for non COVID-19 related health conditions. This means ensuring that hospitals don’t become overwhelmed, that health staff can cope with the number of patients requiring intensive care and continue to provide care for other patients who need it. 

Health workers also need enough supplies of vital equipment so that they can work safely.  Any reduction in the number of healthcare staff who can treat patients will put additional pressure on already overwhelmed healthcare systems.

To ensure that all the medical tools urgently needed to respond to the outbreak are affordable and available, stakeholders such as governments, pharmaceutical companies and research organisations developing treatments, diagnostics and vaccines, should take the necessary measures to:

Prevent patents and monopolies from limiting production and affordable access

Guarantee access to repurposed drugs for patients suffering from the disease

Prioritise the availability of medical tools for protection and treatment of healthcare workers

Improve transparency and coordination, making sure an evidence based approach is put in place to continuously monitor the supply chain vulnerability on essential medical tools and adopt mitigation measures where necessary through international coordination

MORE ON OUR WORK ON COVID-19