We also provide psychosocial support to our teams to help them get through these stressful times. We are confronting many impossible dilemmas—including how to move our staff and supplies when countries are closing their borders, what projects may have to shut down to make space for this new emergency, and how to ensure the safety of refugees who don’t have access to clean water or enough room to breathe, let alone the luxury of social distancing.
Even as we are grappling with this new pandemic, we are dealing with measles, malaria, and malnutrition. And, of course, babies are still being born. War wounds still need attention. People living with HIV or tuberculosis, or both, need longer-term support.
COVID-19 is a scary disease, affecting rich and poor, young and old, from Asia to the Americas. It reminds us how intertwined we are, how our health and wellbeing depend on those around us. We are truly all in this together now. And we will get through this crisis, thanks to the tireless efforts of health care workers around the world.
To my friends and colleagues who chose a stable position in their local community instead of the rough unknown of work abroad with MSF, I understand that you did not sign up for this assignment. Doctors and nurses in some of the richest countries in the world are now facing ethical dilemmas around access to health care and scarcity of supplies, familiar problems in many of the countries where MSF works. We will get through this together.
We have always been an organization committed to finding a way to go, or stay, where we are most needed and do what needs to be done. Thank you for supporting us as we confront this unprecedented emergency.
Dr. Africa Stewart