Response to COVID-19
Doctors Without Borders has aided more than 70 countries including Yemen, Syria and countries in Latin America throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by providing extra medical professionals to help ease overwhelmed medical facilities. The organization’s main goal is to ensure that medical services can continue to run while protecting vulnerable populations. Medical services could shut down in many developing countries without the help of Doctors Without Borders. The volume of COVID-19 infection rates across the world resulted in Doctors Without Borders’ intervention in countries that traditionally have not required assistance in the past, such as Italy, France and the United States. Doctors Without Borders’ response to COVID-19 has been crucial in fighting this global pandemic. 

About Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders began in 1971 after the war in Biafra, Nigeria and the floods in eastern Bangladesh. A group of French doctors and journalists created the organization because they aspired to make a change in the medical world. Since 1971, Doctors Without Borders has expanded globally and saved millions of lives.

Today, Doctors Without Borders continues to respond to emergencies such as natural disasters and wars. In 2010, the organization rushed to Haiti after an earthquake put millions of lives in danger. Its team began treating victims within minutes. It provided emergency kits to solve any condition that could potentially occur during a natural disaster.

The organization has expanded to contribute to more long-term medical aid projects. This includes providing renovations for existing clinics, creating treatment programs and setting up ambulance services.

Doctors Without Borders’ Response to COVID-19

The Guardian reported that Doctors Without Borders began implementing outbreak preparedness measures including creating training programs in prevention and spreading, helping health facilities adapt to COVID-19 patients and sending additional doctors wherever necessary to help ease surges in January 2020. In the U.S., the organization ensured that vulnerable populations had equal access to healthcare. Doctors Without Borders’ response to COVID-19 involved the creation of education programs about COVID-19. It also designed mobile testing for migrant farmworkers in Florida.

A complication that emerged around the world since the beginning of the pandemic was that other diseases and viruses took a back seat while COVID-19 soaked up all medical resources. As a result, Doctors Without Borders reinstated HIV services during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide antiretroviral therapy treatments. 

COVID-19 has created several different obstacles for Doctors Without Borders to operate efficiently. Some of the obstacles include travel restrictions, risk of viral transmission, loss of access to services and more. The obstacles have been difficult to overcome but the lack of vaccine supply has been the most challenging.

Doctors Without Borders has pleaded for the European Union, the U.S. and other wealthy nations to reconsider the stance on South Africa and India’s patent waiver proposal. South Africa and India’s patent waiver proposal would lend a hand to developing countries by allowing the manufacturing of generic COVID-19 vaccines. As the fight for immunity continues, Doctors Without Borders believes that without sharing, the world has no chance of creating global immunity. However, the E.U. and the U.S. remain set to allow vaccine production to remain in the hands of pharmaceutical companies opting for profit. 

Looking Ahead

Until every country has equal access to immunity, the whole world is still at risk. Doctors Without Borders has vowed to continue helping the world cope with the damages that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

– Jessica Barile
Photo: Flickr