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Annual Impact Report 2020

03 Dec 2021

MSF Australia and MSF New Zealand

In 2020, with your support, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) worked beside people in need and among disease outbreaks, attacks on humanitarian staff, patients and medical facilities and unequal access to healthcare.

For more information on all of the countries supported by Médecins Sans Frontières Australia in 2020, please download the full report below.

Read the report

Your support in action

For people around the world, 2020 was a year of huge adversity. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated suffering for many people in the countries where Médecins Sans Frontières works.

In Australia and New Zealand, although we were better off than many other places, the year was also highly demanding: requiring us all to adapt rapidly to change and develop resilience in doing so.

Despite the challenges, Médecins Sans Frontières Australia was able to continue its strong support of our medical humanitarian projects with funding, staff, advocacy and medical expertise.

In 2020, our fundraising activities generated a total of $102.4 million, mostly through the regular donations made by our field partners and the generosity of our major donors. These donations directly funded projects in 33 countries worldwide, with South Sudan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and Cameroon receiving the largest contributions.

Through the efforts of our Field Human Resources department, Australian and New Zealand field workers filled a total of 108 field positions in 30 countries. 

Cameroon

For people in Cameroon, 2020 was marked by repeated outbreaks of armed violence, followed by new waves of displacement. 

In Cameroon’s Far North region, communities continued to suffer the consequences of daily armed clashes, while facing high levels of food insecurity due to the unpredictable climate. MSF worked to address some of the gaps in healthcare in this region, including for Nigerian refugees and internally displaced people. Our teams launched general healthcare activities in Kolofata in 2020, and our existing project in Mora town was extended to include emergency surgery. 

DRC

COVID-19 brought an additional burden to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country with immense medical needs caused by years of overlapping crises and a weak, underfunded health system. 

In addition to COVID-19, DRC faced three other large epidemics in 2020: measles, Ebola and cholera. Despite repeated surges in violent conflict and restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, MSF ran emergency responses to each of these outbreaks and maintained regular essential care programs. We treated patients for measles and ran vaccination campaigns in North Kivu province during the world’s largest outbreak of measles, which began in 2018. We also supported the Ebola response in North Kivu during the tenth and eleventh outbreaks, assisting with detection, isolation, and management of Ebola patients. As the need for COVID-19 care heightened, we supported the Ministry of Health by converting an Ebola treatment centre into a dedicated COVID-19 treatment facility. 

Iraq

The arrival of COVID-19 in Iraq in 2020 presented new challenges to a country still reeling from the effects of years of conflict and instability. 

MSF responded to multiple health emergencies across Iraq, providing care to people displaced by the war against the Islamic State group, people injured in violent incidents, and patients with COVID-19. We filled gaps in essential healthcare to support the national health system, which is still in the early stages of reconstruction. As a result of the pandemic and the closure of private clinics, our maternity and paediatric teams at Nablus hospital saw a sharp increase in demand for care and admissions. In the capital Baghdad—the city hit hardest by the virus—we supported Ibn Al-Khatib hospital, which was identified as one of the three main hospitals for COVID-19 care in the early stages of the pandemic. 

South Sudan

South Sudan was hit by multiple emergencies in 2020, including escalating violence, COVID-19, severe flooding and high levels of food insecurity. A total of 7.5 million people—around two-thirds of the population—were in need of humanitarian assistance. 

For the second consecutive year, severe flooding affected more than one million people across a wide swathe of South Sudan, submerging homes and health facilities and leaving people without food, water or shelter. In Old Fangak MSF provided emergency healthcare, distributed hygiene kits, and maintained 24/7 emergency and maternity services, therapeutic feeding and HIV care at the hospital. We continued our maternal, neonatal and paediatric healthcare services at Aweil state hospital and supported the health ministry’s response to a seasonal peak in malaria. In Abyei, a disputed area between Sudan and South Sudan, staff at our 180-bed hospital in Agok provided care for COVID-19 patients as well as testing, donation of supplies, and the training of local healthcare staff in infection prevention and control practices. 

Yemen

Although the COVID-19 pandemic hit Yemen hard in 2020, it was just one of many crises unfolding in the country, which is still at war after five long years. 

The conflict in Yemen showed no sign of abating, despite the rampant spread of COVID-19. More people than ever before were left without healthcare as many of the last parts of the already-crippled healthcare system stopped functioning during the outbreak. Restrictions by the local authorities on the work of aid organisations complicated our work, and healthcare facilities and workers continued to be attacked. Many civilians were killed or injured in shelling, air raids or shootings. Despite these challenges, MSF continued to provide essential care for people in several governorates, supporting COVID-19 treatment centres and working with local health authorities to respond to urgent needs. 

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