July 17, 2020
Protecting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic
In Brussels, Medecins du Monde/Doctors of the World (MDM) is actively working on emergency measures to protect people who have no housing and are in a very precarious situation. We are ensuring continuity in their access to care through consultations, and developing medical capacity in the centers where they will be accommodated and confined. MDM will continue to operate its standing Reception, Care and Orientation Center and develop its medical capacity in accommodation and containment centers. The organization will also be providing prevention and advice services to the homeless in remote areas on Covid-19.
Nationwide, MDM has strengthened protection measures for its patients and its teams, particularly in terms of hygiene. All staff have been informed and trained to comply with national protocols. Consultations are held as much as possible by telephone. Non-essential care that requires referral to specialists such as dentists has been postponed. In order to protect our personnel, we have also made the decision to stop deploying volunteers belonging to risk groups, such as those over 65, or who have underlying health conditions like diabetes. Mobile unit services have been limited to health promotion, information, and distribution of hygiene kits. At the Humanitarian Hub in Brussels, MDM is collaborating with Doctors without Borders to aid patients outside the building to assess their needs.
MDM is advocating that the local authorities take extraordinary measures to protect the health and safety of homeless people, including increased space for accomodation taking into account proper social distancing and sanitation. MDM also requests the establishment of places of containment and suitable and quality care, in the case of contamination with Covid-19 by one of our patients, as well as suitable quantities of personal protective equipment including masks, disinfectant.
As we prepare for the next wave of Covid-19 in low income countries, please consider making a secure online donation to Doctors of the World.