8

Lives saved,
no time lost

When areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were hit with an Ebola outbreak in 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) quickly set up treatment centres. Their medical activities manager there, Dr Saschveen Singh, recalls the first patient who was cured. “As she had just found out that she no longer had Ebola in her bloodstream and was told she was safe to be discharged from the treatment centre, Mwamini broke into song and dance. Our hardworking team and two fellow patients joined in to celebrate this most joyous moment,” she says.

Mwamini then began working at the treatment centre herself, supporting families whose children are treated in the isolation zone.

In 2014, we gave our largest-ever emergency donation to help MSF provide medical care to people with the Ebola virus in West Africa. As that outbreak came under control, MSF asked us if they could redirect some of our funding to a crisis we were less aware of—a request that changed how we give emergency grants.

As she had just found out that she no longer had Ebola… Mwamini broke into song and dance.

Saschveen, MSF

As she had just found out that she no longer had Ebola… Mwamini broke into song and dance.

Saschveen, MSF
© John Wessels

Around the world, MSF brings medical care to thousands of people suffering during emergencies that receive little or no public attention and are therefore very difficult to fund. We call them “unseen emergencies”.

Over several years of watching MSF operate in many emergency situations, we have developed a partnership of trust and respect. We realise they need immediate access to funding they can use in any situation, anywhere, without having to first explain to a funder why they need the money.

So in 2018, we granted MSF €21 million of unrestricted funding for their life-saving work, including trauma care, surgery, maternity and paediatric services, and primary healthcare. The faster they can set up hospitals and clinics, the more lives they will save.

Since 2013, we have also provided Save the Children with quick access to cash so they can send staff to hard-hit communities within 24 hours of an emergency happening. This funding protects children when they are most vulnerable, often by making it possible for them to stay in school where they are safe.

And we are working to respond to disasters before they happen. We have been supporting the Red Cross since 2018 to implement an early-warning, early-action system in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. By using weather data to predict where and when climate-related disasters will occur, the Red Cross is helping communities be better prepared.