FAQ: MSF’s COVID-19 response in the United States

Water and sanitation manager Renée Corbett speaks to a visitor at MSF's shower trailer in Manhattan. The MSF facility offers free warm showers to the homeless and other people who currently lack access to hygiene facilities.
United States 2020 © Spencer Platt
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Updated November 12, 2020.

What is Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doing to address the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States?

MSF's

MSF's response to COVID-19 in the United States

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSF ran temporary operations in the United States from April to October. MSF recognized that there was a clear need for more support for the response to the outbreak in the US. In key sites around the country, we worked with local authorities and partner organizations serving vulnerable communities with limited access to health care.

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. You can read more about these activities in our operational update.

Why has MSF decided to launch operations in the US?

This pandemic—and the stress it has put on some of the world’s strongest health systems—is unprecedented. We have seen hospitals overrun with critical patients in parts of the US and Europe. In the US, there are significant health inequities and a high number of people who suffer from co-morbidities that put them at higher risk of death from COVID-19. There was a clear need for additional support for the COVID-19 response, especially among vulnerable communities with limited access to health care, shelter, or basic sanitation and among residents and staff in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Where is MSF currently working in the US?

MSF has closed all projects responding to COVID-19 in the US. We are currently reaching out to nursing homes and nursing schools to share our experience in epidemic response and infection prevention and control (IPC), and offer recommendations for improving support for staff mental health and wellness. 

I am a health care professional. How can I help?

We are not currently recruiting for our COVID-19 operations in the US, but there is a dire need for health care professionals to work with and support their local health systems. We encourage health care workers currently in the US to be in touch with their local hospitals and authorities to help support local staffing needs.

I work for an organization that serves the homeless, migrants, or other vulnerable groups. Can MSF help us?

We would be happy to share the resources and information we have available on COVID-19. Please contact us with more specific information about your organization and your needs and our team will do its best to help.