July 17, 2020
Protecting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic
All of MDM’s clinics, doctor consultations, night shelters for homeless, shelters for women at risk, and medical and psychosocial teams in refugee camps remain active and follow all the relevant protocols of the Greek Government on Covid-19. The organization has chosen to focus on several main approaches to fight the pandemic:
MDM’s street work teams in Athens and Piraeus will assist and support those who are homeless. Mobile teams are distributing hygiene kits (soap, antiseptics, gloves, masks) while they also disseminate informative leaflets and messages to people that have no access to information. MDM already maintains an extensive mapping of homeless and drug-users’ gatherings and meeting points as well as ground relations with this population through its Streets of Athens program. At the same time, the Municipality of Athens has requested that MDM assist in supporting the municipal structures for homeless people in order to reinforce their medical screening as well as their psychosocial support.
In addition, MDM Greece scaled up targeted activities for asylum seekers in the Kara Tepe reception center on Lesvos Island where more than 1,200 individuals are now stranded. Since mid-February, MDM has been conducting information campaigns door to door, sharing health and safety measures to protect against COVID19 infection and virus spread. MDM’s medical clinics within the camp provide healthcare services to patients with chronic health issues, pregnant women and children, and are ensuring the health, safety and security and well-being of its field teams, in order to maintain their presence there to support the fight against COVID19.
MDM also started providing services to all of its Greek patients over 60 years old, who live in Athens, have no relatives or who are living below the poverty line. The basic idea is to keep them at home to protect them from Covid-19. The project’s purpose is to reach as many isolated elderly people as possible who live in the capital city, who often have underlying health issues. MDM staff communicates with them by phone with doctors, psychologists and social workers giving medical advice and support in order to prevent depression and mental health issues. Drivers and nurses go door to door when needed to provide necessary medicine.
MDM Greece is providing services to the general population as well, as the battle against Covid-19 is likely to last for several months. MDM came to an agreement with a startup company which will provide the use of a digital platform free of charge in the context of a national campaign called #digitalsolidarity. The program features video conference calls between doctors and patients in order to avoid overloading hospitals. After each call, doctors can refer patients to a hospital only if needed and MDM will book the appointment to the national health system.
On Friday, March 27th 2020 the government representative for COVID19 officially announced that MDM will contribute to the efforts of the National Health Organisation with scientific staff to cover all affected areas of our country with delegations for informational and educational purposes.
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.