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KIU International Desk: MSF President Dr Christou says Impact of COVID-19 “not Shared Equally”


By Rebecca Nabejja

KIU, Main Campus - The President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International Dr Christos Christou has said that although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought suffering, fear and death to populations everywhere, its impact is not shared equally.

He said this while delivering a speech at the 2020 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Affairs Segment high-level panel, on the increasing complexity of health challenges in humanitarian contexts. 

Dr Christou said that many of the world’s most vulnerable people have already suffered terribly due to a lack of State investment in healthcare for all. Others are living through conflicts, witnessing the erosion of International Humanitarian Law.

“As humanitarian teams have been partially evacuated and not replaced, those reliant on aid, and those suffering from neglected diseases, are suffering disproportionately,” Dr Christou said.

“Others have been forced to flee their homes; forced to navigate a world where conventions protecting refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people are frequently disregarded, and where little consideration is given to migrants,” he added.

He said MSF teams, also known as Doctors Without Borders, were treating patients all over the world and they have witnessed the suffering, fear, and death happening to populations everywhere.

Dr Christou also criticized governments for failing to put in place strong healthcare systems beforehand and have had to wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to happen, for them to realize the need for a strong healthcare set up.

“You have a duty to ensure no one is excluded from healthcare, and you will not be safe from the virus until you fulfil it. And that means marginalized communities too,” he said.

Dr Christou also called upon governments all over the world to ensure that when the vaccine for COVID-19 is finally found, it should be made accessible to all peoples in the world.

“You will not be safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe from COVID-19. From the poorest displaced families to the richest individuals: This virus will continue to be a global threat for as long as it takes for vaccines and treatment to be available to all,” Dr Christou said.

Picture credit: MSF