People who are already struggling to survive are being made even more vulnerable by COVID-19
MSF is running emergency medical programmes in many countries and regions severely affected by the pandemic. In addition to caring for patients, implementing infection prevention and control measures, and setting up temporary medical facilities to support local health systems, we are also striving to maintain our regular projects. We urgently need your help to access more people in need. Please join our frontline workers to save lives.
“I have never bought a mask – I can barely buy bread. When I have the choice, I always go for bread.”
— Umm Firas, displaced person and sole breadwinner for her family of 11, northwest Syria
Umm Firas, 39, has become the breadwinner for her family of 11 since her husband was partially paralysed in an airstrike a year ago. She earns her living by mending tents and mattresses in the displacement camp where she lives in northwest Syria. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, students must wear a mask to school. However, money is so tight that Firas and many local parents can’t afford masks. As a result, their children are forced to stop their schooling.
“I’m not scared of this virus. But economically, it is challenging. I spent a huge amount of money on nutritious food for my wife and children so they could build themselves up ahead of the virus, in case they are infected, too.”
— Mohammed Hashim, first COVID-19 patient in Gazer Ga hospital
Mohammed Hashim was MSF’s first patient in our newly opened COVID-19 treatment centre in Gazer Ga hospital in Herat, western Afghanistan. Like many Afghans, at first he was sceptical about the disease. When he developed symptoms he tried traditional medicine, but as his health rapidly deteriorated, he sought treatment at our hospital. However, his biggest concern is not the impact on his health, but how to feed his family.
“I can’t find any blood donors due to the COVID-19 situation. No one wants to come to the hospital because they feel afraid.”
— Noor Haba desperately waits for a lifesaving blood donation for her daughter
Living in dire conditions in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Noor Haba struggles to raise her five children, two of whom suffer from thalassemia. Without regular blood transfusions, they could quickly become sick and die. Noor Haba brings them to MSF’s hospital every two months for their lifesaving treatment, relying on blood donors from the community because there is no blood bank at the hospital. Her seven-year-old daughter has waited three days for a blood donor. Becoming progressively weaker, she lies on the bed, semi-conscious.
“I’m so scared for my baby and for myself, and I worry when we will be able to go home. Right now I can’t think about the future at all. Once my baby is well, then I can think about it.”
— New mother Syeda and her newborn son both tested positive for COVID-19
After a difficult labour, first-time mother Syeda gave birth by emergency caesarean section. But shortly after, both she and her newborn son tested positive for COVID-19, and were transferred immediately to MSF’s Goyalmara Hospital for treatment. Her tiny newborn needed urgent oxygen therapy to help him breathe. Speaking from MSF’s isolation ward, Syeda’s mask can’t hide her tears of fear and helplessness.