I first became aware of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders in January 2010 after the 7.0 earthquake rocks Haiti. In the hours after the devastation in Haiti, a country that ranks among the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, calls went out to networks of Caribbean peoples in the diaspora, friends of Haiti and everybody who was willing to donate generously towards relief efforts. At that time, many people who were already deeply involved in the long project to rebuild Haiti and establish a stable political environment highlighted the work of Doctors Without Borders among the many NGOs that were already stationed in the country. Doctors Without Borders had been delivering life saving medical care in some of the most difficult circumstances even before the earthquake hit. Yet, in keeping with their governing principles the volunteers have persevered and stuck with the Haitian people. Doctors Without Borders has had an enduring commitment to the country.
In 2010, the call for donations for Doctors Without Borders was more urgent because much of their physical infrastructure had been damaged or totally destroyed by the earthquake. Even without their infrastructure, the volunteers did not abandon the Haitian people as they tried to cope with life-threatening injuries, diseases (including a cholera outbreak) and increasing disabilities.
As the continue to do in Haiti, Doctors Without Borders has been doing yeoman’s service in various countries across the African continent including in three of the most Ebola-affected countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Their long history of medical charitable work on that continent means that they have developed wide experience in treating the Ebola virus that dates as far back as 1995 and have developed effective protocols starting as part of their treatment regime. Recognizing the surge in the virus’s spread among the populations and its potential to decimate the West African region, Doctors Without Borders has been calling, cajoling, begging world leaders to re-direct their attention to the Ebola epidemic so that lives can be saved. The Huffington Post published an insightful chart that illustrates the numerous times the charity has alerted the world to the need for an aggressive approach to contain Ebola to prevent its spread beyond the African continent. In the past few weeks the Ebola virus generated fear and panic as its first patients were located in Spain and Dallas, Texas.
Learning last week that Doctors Without Borders has “reached [their]ceiling” of resources in their efforts to curb the spread of the Ebola virus, I was spurred into making a similar call as was made after the Haitian earthquake. Doctors Without Borders has stretched their capacity for treating the thousands of nationals in the affected countries that lack the most basic healthcare infrastructure for delivering care or containing the virus that has a high mortality rate. The Charity has lost some of its volunteers to the virus and others are receiving treatment now. They are on the front line of the fight against Ebola but need as much help as possible to continue this fight.
As the UN begs nations to honor their commitments to the fund to fight Ebola, the US, UK and Europe are pledging to increase funding and services to the affected countries. Notably Mark Zuckerberg has donated $25M to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help with its efforts. Cuba has also sent an extra 300 doctors to add to the desperate need for medical personnel in the Ebola fight.
However, Doctors Without Borders needs your immediate assistance. As Pierre Trbovic, a Belgian Anthropologist who works with the charity explains, Doctors Without Borders is forced to make “impossible choices” owing to their limited resources and weak health care infrastructure in the hardest hit countries.
If you just stumbled upon this blog for the first time, I urge you to follow the links, view the videos and MAKE A DONATION to Doctors Without Borders so they can continue their work.
Please make a donation to Doctors Without Borders Now. Your help can save lives.