July 17, 2020
Protecting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic
In France, we are working around the clock on the front lines with vulnerable populations. The main activities consist of outreach inside squats and shantytowns in order to provide prevention information. Despite the very precarious living conditions of these people, our staff and volunteers take care to raise their awareness of the epidemic and of the prevention measures needed to guard against infection. We respect the right of people to have complete and appropriate information enabling them to protect themselves and others. They also help fight against the spread of false information about the disease and its management. The information provided is synthesized and adapted, such as the WHO’s “5 things to know & 5 things to do” model.
Minimum reception activities at our Care and Orientation Centers (CASOs) are also being carried out with the same objective of raising awareness. People admitted are more at risk of being sick, so provisions for regulating flows at the entrance and protocols for isolating possible or probable cases of people with Covid-19 are therefore put in place.
As such, all CASOs or hotlines where flow regulation is impossible (a large number of people in overcrowding inside or outside the premises) or at which the minimum number of essential participants at reception and orientation is not available have now closed. In rare cases when other options are not available, medical consultations are maintained.
In terms of advocacy, teams are putting in place suitable and multilingual awareness tools (flyers, training of relays, leaders and community associations via Hotlines, WhatsApp Groups, Facebook or WeChat Communication). We regularly assess access to health facilities and improvement of living conditions (water points, food, shelter).
Both at the local and national level, institutional spaces strongly rely on MDM in order to monitor health and living conditions and to participate in ongoing consultations concerning the establishment of new procedures for supporting people in precarious situations. Some regional Health Agencies have already approached MDM in order to study the possibility of increasing support for missions dedicated to the most vulnerable people.
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.