Non-government organizations specializing in medical assistance and disease prevention are doing their part to help stop COVID-19 in Spain, deploying to the front line of the coronavirus battle doctors and healthcare experts who have worked on campaigns against Ebola and other infectious diseases in extreme conditions in developing counrties, particularly in Africa.
The Spanish affiliates of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Doctors of the World (MdM) and the Spanish Red Cross are working across various regions within Spain alongside medical staff of the country’s national healthcare system, providing emergency services, advising healthcare workers on protective measures and providing logistical support.
In Madrid, Medicos del Mundo staff have been deployed to help in the operation of an emergency field hospital at the city’s Hospital Gregorio Marañón, advising healthcare professionals on protective measures and helping to keep the treatment of COVID-19 parents and the medical operations flowing smoothly.
Elena Urdaneta, president of Médicos del Mundo in Spain, told the Spanish news site InfoLibre that the organization is also doing the same type of work with other hospitals. “We have work experience in epidemics, we know how to do it and we are offering our knowledge,” she said.
Also in the community of Madrid, staff from MSF have organized support units for the Prince of Asturias hospitals in Alcalá de Henares and Severo Ochoa in Leganés, each with two hundred beds. In Barcelona, MSF likewise is working on the organization and operation of emergency field hospitals set up at the Hospital del Mar and Hospital Vall d’Hebron.
The Spanish Red Cross is working on the front lines of the pandemic through six hospitals it operates jointly with the national health service in different Spanish cities. Its hospital in San Sebastián is dedicated solely to treating COVID-19 patients, while it operates triage or testing stations in Navarra, Alicante and La Rioja.
The emergency hospital operations are being complemented with the Red Cross’ provision of various social services and assistance more than 1.3 million people through its Cruz Roja RESPONDE plan for confronting the coronavirus emergency, an 11-million-euro project being funded out of the Red Cross budget in Spain.
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