This article was updated on November 12, 2020.
In response to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began working in key sites across the United States to reach vulnerable groups that often lack access to health care. We ran limited operations in the US between April and October and have now concluded these activities.
MSF teams collaborated with local authorities and community-based organizations on a wide range of projects, including work with people who are homeless or housing insecure in New York; migrant farmworkers in Florida; Native American communities in the Navajo Nation and Pueblos; and neglected and marginalized communities in Puerto Rico. Our teams also worked with staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Michigan and Texas to offer training in infection prevention and control measures and support for mental health and wellness.
In New York City, MSF worked to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus by partnering with local organizations to improve infection prevention and control (IPC) measures for at-risk groups. MSF opened temporary relief stations in Manhattan, offering free showers, toiletries, socks, and underwear and information on additional services to people who currently lack access to hygiene facilities. We have provided more than 2,000 showers. MSF has also donated over 160 handwashing stations to places like soup kitchens and supportive housing facilities and distributed 1,000 mobile phones to vulnerable New Yorkers who lack the essential technology needed to contact emergency and support services.