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Source: Doctors Without Borders –

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams around the world have witnessed a year like no other as they confront the extraordinary challenges of a pandemic while keeping other essential health services running. This special collection of photographs features some of the most striking scenes from our response to COVID-19—from reaching out to vulnerable groups in Hong Kong, to helping prevent the spread of infection in nursing homes in Europe and the United States, to caring for indigenous communities in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. We see the acute humanitarian needs overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis, in countries affected by war, natural disasters, and other epidemics. In this photo essay, we also witness survival and strength during a tumultuous year.

COVID-19 response

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2020 Year in Review COVID-19 Global Response Slideshow

May Chan (in red), who works as a street cleaner in Hong Kong, attends a health promotion session run by MSF in February. She learns about infection prevention and control measures to keep herself and others safe from the new coronavirus. Hong Kong 2020 © Shuk Lim Cheung/MSF

A volunteer from a local aid organization takes care of precious personal protective equipment at an MSF-supported COVID-19 treatment center for refugees and migrants in Brussels. Belgium 2020 © Kristof Vadino

A fireman disinfects a resident’s room at a care home for the elderly in El Royo, Spain. In April, MSF sounded the alarm about the impact of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities across Europe. “Too many people have been dying alone, frightened, and in a terrible state,” said MSF doctor Ximena di Lollo. Spain 2020 © Olmo Calvo/MSF

An MSF medic wears personal protective equipment to examine a young patient at the pediatric clinic outside Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos. Greece 2020 © Anna Pantelia/MSF

MSF health promoter Dayana Tabbarah (right) and nurse Hala Hussein visit the homes of people living in Burj al-Barajneh camp, Beirut, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The teams are training family members how to practice “shielding” vulnerable individuals—such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases. Lebanon 2020 © Diego Ibarra Sánchez

A nurse on the MSF team talks with a boy at a mobile clinic in a camp for displaced people in northwestern Syria. The child has brought in a young family member for a medical consultation. Syria 2020 © Omar Haj Kadour/MSF

In northwestern Syria, a doctor checks the temperature of a patient at the entrance of a dedicated space to screen potential COVID-19 patients. People with symptoms are held for observation and sent to a nearby hospital supported by MSF. Syria 2020 © Omar Haj Kadour/MSF

An MSF team visits a camp for refugees and migrants in Matamoros, Mexico—just across the border from Brownsville, Texas—to talk to families about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Harsh migration policies have left many vulnerable people stranded and exposed during the pandemic. Mexico 2020 © MSF

A tailor in a sewing workshop makes cloth masks commissioned by MSF for COVID-19 prevention activities in Bamako. Mali 2020 © Lamine Keita/MSF

In June, MSF set up this 60-bed field hospital in Khayelitsha, South Africa, to treat patients with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. This project helped support the Khayelitsha district hospital, which was struggling to cope with the pressures during a peak period of transmission in the Western Cape. South Africa 2020 © MSF/Rowan Pybus

MSF staff organize a COVID-19 health information session in Aydarken, Kyrgyzstan. Rural and remote regions here strive to put infection prevention measures in place and to guarantee essential medical services, especially for people with chronic ailments who require long-term care. Kyrgyzstan 2020 © MSF/Rowan Pybus

Workers at the Al-Sahul COVID-19 treatment center in Ibb governorate, Yemen, carry an oxygen cylinder to the intensive care unit. Patients with moderate to severe symptoms of COVID-19 need about six oxygen cylinders a day—and maintaining adequate supplies in this war-torn country is a major challenge. Yemen 2020 © Majd Aljunaid/MSF

Ghanem Qaid Nasser, a 60-year-old resident of Ibb governorate, was admitted for severe COVID-19 symptoms at the MSF-supported Al-Sahul treatment center. “It started with a high fever, coughing, and dizziness. And I couldn’t breathe. For eight days I was on the brink of death,” Ghanem said. After two weeks of treatment, his condition improved. The medical team gave him a warm farewell—which is the custom for all patients who get discharged from the center. Yemen 2020 © Majd Aljunaid/MSF

Mohammed Hashim was MSF’s first patient at the new 32-bed COVID-19 treatment center in Herat, Afghanistan, when it opened in June. The center serves patients in need of oxygen therapy and was set up to relieve the pressure on other facilities in the area. Afghanistan 2020 © Laura McAndrew/MSF

A young man in the inpatient ward at the MSF-run COVID-19 facility in Mosul, Iraq, seems to be feeling better. Teams provide patients with treatment, health education, and mental health support. By July, the facility had received over 700 patients. Iraq 2020 © Manhal Alkallak/MSF

A mobile medical team sets off to reach patients living in the Lake Mirini region of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. They travel by boat to bring primary health services to the town of Tefé, and take smaller boats along the way to provide medical consultations to people living in more isolated areas. Brazil 2020 © Diego Baravelli/MSF

Nurse Mayra Leandro works with a health worker from the Special Indigenous Health District of Mato Grosso do Sul attending to patients in Lagoinha village in the Amazon region of Brazil. They test this woman’s blood sugar levels, as many indigenous people here are living with diabetes. Brazil 2020 © Diego Baravelli/MSF

MSF psychologist Anderson Beltrame reconnects with Miraida Guevara in Boa Vista, Brazil, several months after their last counseling session. Miraida left her home and six children in Venezuela in search of steady work in Brazil. MSF provides mental health support to help migrants and refugees navigate an uncertain future ahead. Brazil 2020 © Diego Baravelli/MSF

A patient visits with her family from a safe distance at the MSF-run COVID-19 center in Matamoros, on the Mexico-US border. Amid a surge of cases in Mexico this summer, MSF ran COVID-19 treatment centers in Matamoros, Reynosa, and Tijuana—treating over 200 patients with severe symptoms. Mexico 2020 © Arlette Blanco /MSF

US ops 

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2020 Year in Photos: US COVID-19 Response

A visitor to the MSF shower trailer in midtown Manhattan waits for a shower stall to become available. In April, MSF opened a shower trailer New York City, offering free access to hygiene facilities for people who were homeless or housing insecure—and therefore exposed to greater risks during the pandemic. United States 2020 © Spencer Platt

An MSF team member assembles water jugs for handwashing stations to be donated to soup kitchens and supportive housing facilities in New York City. United States 2020 © Michelle Mays/MSF

Members of the MSF team pose with other medics at a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic in Immokalee, Florida. The free clinics were designed to be easily accessible to migrant farmworkers and other essential workers by offering services within the community, during evening hours, and with staff who speak English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. United States 2020 © Taimy Alvarez/MSF

At a mobile testing clinic supported by MSF in Immokalee, Florida, a nurse for the Collier County Department of Health gives a free COVID-19 test to an area resident. Working with local partners and targeting communities at risk, MSF helped administer 465 COVID-19 tests over six weeks. As of June 2, 36 percent of those test results came back positive—compared to a state positivity rate of 5.6 percent. United States 2020 © Taimy Alvarez/MSF

MSF nurse and health promotion manager Sarah Kuech (left) and MSF health promoter Maria Plata (right) wave to residents of Immokalee while spreading the word about free clinics in the area. They also answer questions from local residents, and provide health education to reduce misinformation and stigma around COVID-19. United States 2020 © Taimy Alvarez/MSF

A view of the COVID-19 isolation ward inside the Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC) serving the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. MSF worked with community leaders and health care workers in the Navajo Nation to strengthen infection prevention and control measures in May and June, when the per capita infection rate here was higher than in any single US state. United States 2020 © Jake Pitts/MSF

MSF physician Dr. Jonathan Caldera evaluates a patient while MSF nurse Omar Martinez takes her blood pressure reading during an in-home medical consultation in the community Buen Consejo in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. MSF’s home-based care model was designed to reach people from the most marginalized and isolated communities. United States 2020 © Gabriella N. Báez/MSF

MSF nurse Rolando Betancourt (left) and physician Dr. Jonathan Caldera (right) provide a medical consultation outdoors to a patient in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where we partnered with a community-based organization to provide mobile medical services. In October, MSF handed over its medical activities to Puerto Rico Salud, a new local organization created by Betancourt and other members of our Puerto Rican team. United States 2020 © Gabriella N. Báez/MSF

Artists with Colectivo Moriviví in San Juan pose in front of a street mural they created in partnership with MSF to spread health promotion messages. The vivid pieces feature uplifting messages like, “Let’s cancel plans, not humanity” and “Distancing is physical, not social.” United States 2020 © Gabriella N. Báez/MSF

“Heroes Work Here!” reads a sign outside Advantage Living Center in Roseville, Michigan, a skilled nursing facility where MSF provided COVID-19 health education, infection control trainings, and mental health and wellness support. As of November, deaths of patients and staff in long-term care facilities accounted for 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the US. United States 2020 © Ali Lapetina/MSF

A staff member at Advantage Living Center in Roseville, Michigan, volunteers to demonstrate safe personal protective equipment practices during an MSF training on infection prevention and control. Essential staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, including the cleaners and other environmental services staff, work in close proximity to residents to care for their most basic and intimate needs, so they play a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. United States 2020 © Ali Lapetina/MSF

Staff at Advantage Living Center in Wayne, Michigan, pose for a group portrait in their “nerd day” outfits. Long-term care facility staff face anxiety and grief in their day-to-day reality, especially after losing colleagues and residents to COVID-19. Nevertheless, they work hard to boost the morale of their residents, organizing activities like door-to-door karaoke down the hallways, and themed outfit days to make residents smile. United States 2020 © Ali Lapetina/MSF

Perry McAfee, MSF health and wellness officer, leads a training session for nursing home staff at Focused Care at Beechnut, a long-term nursing care facility in Houston, Texas. “COVID has had a really huge effect on the personal life and work life of those individuals who work in nursing facilities,” says Perry. “Many of them have to work long hours—12-, 16-hour shifts, multiple days in a row. That has a huge effect on their wellbeing.” United States 2020 © Christopher Lee

Adelia Patterson, wellness and life enrichment director at Focused Care at Beechnut long-term care facility in Houston, Texas, plays the ukulele for a resident singing along. “I think mental health support is very much needed in this field,” says Adelia. “Especially at times like that, because we’re just caregivers at heart. We don’t take the time to care for ourselves.” United States 2020 © Christopher Lee

A resident visits with a family member for her birthday at Focused Care at Beechnut, a long-term care facility in Houston, Texas. Because of COVID-19, visitors must stand outside and communicate by phone with the residents. United States 2020 © Christopher Lee

Forgotten emergencies 

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MIL OSI NGO