BRAZIL – Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a French humanitarian non-governmental organization, has doubled its efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil as experts warn that a third wave of the pandemic is yet to come.
The state was among the worst hit countries globally and it is expected to experience worse with growing concerns about the onset of the cold weather.
Despite all this, the state and its citizens remain skeptical to proven scientific facts on how to help mitigate the spread of the virus, they do not practice nor sensitize on social distancing and wearing of masks.
Brazil’s COVID related fatalities are creeping just above 2000 a day and with daily new infections totaling to an average of 70,000.
This has been the highest peak experienced by the state and with the arrival of cold weather, the state is expected to face the adversity of the virus.
Brazil is also currently experiencing a vaccine crisis owing to graft-related claims that forced a health official resign owing to claims that he, Mr. Roberto Dias had sought for bribe from a company the state was meant to procure 400 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from.
However, all is not lost as MSF teams across the country are finding new ways to help the most vulnerable communities in the most disadvantaged areas of Brazil, such as the remote north and northeast of the country, where access to health services is more difficult.
The team is offering support to health authorities with accessing remote areas, training staff as well as promoting mental health, running mobile clinics to care for patients in the most remote areas of the region, providing COVID-19 antigen testing, and conducting follow-ups for recovered COVID-19 patients.
With such assistance, MSF hope to avert the resurgence of the pandemic as the state has only vaccinated a total of 27.1 million individuals which only stands for 12.9% of its population.
In the meantime, MSF decided to halt its service in Haiti owing to the fact that its center was targeted by militia groups within the state.
Prior to the attack, MSF gradually started to reduce operations within their center located in the state and was halted after shots were fired at the center raising security concerns of its staff members.
This increase in the level of violence in Haiti is part of a deeper political and economic crisis that is affecting the population in many ways.
The health system is strained by insecurity but also by the increase in COVID-19 cases, a lack of funding and a high level of medical needs.
MSF has been providing medical care in Haiti for 30 years and the Martissant Emergency Center, opened in 2006, is the oldest MSF project in Haiti.
In order to continue its activities, MSF asks armed actors in Haiti to respect the safety of health personnel, patients, equipment and medical structures, as well as vehicles and ambulances.