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WHO's David Nabarro Joins #UniteWithoutBorders, Highlights The Importance Of Investing In Public Healthcare

WHO's David Nabarro Joins #UniteWithoutBorders, Highlights The Importance Of Investing In Public Healthcare


  1. Dr David Nabarro appreciated MSF's focus on COVID-19
  2. Dr David Nabarro shared three major learnings about the Coronavirus
  3. Dr Nabarro praised India's initial response to COVID-19 outbreak
New Delhi: 

The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus has raised a question mark on the world's preparedness to fight global pandemics and medical emergencies like the Coronavirus. The world has been dealing with COVID-19 for over six months now and the outbreak has been a reality check, highlighting countries' readiness and response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Joining the fight against COVID-19, NDTV in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the independent medical organisation has initiated a campaign #UniteWithoutBorders which aims at raising funds to assist medical caregivers at the frontline of the battle.

Also Read: #UniteWithoutBorders: Protecting The Frontline Warriors - Medical Caregivers In The Fight Against Coronavirus Pandemic

Dr David Nabarro, WHO Director General's Special Envoy For COVID-19 Response joined the campaign by becoming a part of the special two-hour telethon and discussed the importance of groups like MSF and India's response to the pandemic.

Doctors and nurses from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the independent medical organisation, have been treating patients and supporting communities across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia. Now the group has set-up two dedicated facilities in Govandi, Mumbai and Patna in Bihar to treat COVID-19 patients. Talking about the role of groups like MSF especially during a pandemic, Dr Nabarro said,

During a major global issue like what we are experiencing now with COVID, we all need to work together because it's a problem affecting the whole of humanity. And it really does require partnership between all who have the capacity to help. Within public health, we have many organisations that put the needs of people, particularly poor people, really upfront and at the centre of attention. They want to leave nobody behind. One of these organisations is MSF or Doctors Without Borders. I'm glad there is a particular focus on COVID which is causing such huge problems around the world, particularly for poor people, for people who live in very crowded settlements, for people who are unable to navigate to get safer working conditions in their places of employment. They need support and that is MSF is so important at this time.

Dr Nabarro further shared three major learnings about the virus which can help frontline warriors deal with it in a better way. Firstly, Dr Nabarro said that it's a dangerous virus that kills a significant number of people and asked to take it seriously even when the fatality rate is relatively low. Elaborating on the second learning, he said,

As soon as an outbreak appears in a locality it's necessary to stop the transmission with immediate effect. This does not mean having a whole lockdown on the country, but it does mean identifying where the virus is and acting quickly to interrupt transmission, and ensure that people are not exposed.

Third and the most poignant point he made was to support hospitals and health centres and said,

Enabling health workers to protect themselves, whilst ensuring that hospitals can provide the best possible service and prevent people from dying, is absolutely critical.

Also Read: #UniteWithoutBorders: Health Expert Devi Sridhar On Coronavirus And How To Cope With It

In the past, Dr Nabarro has often praised India's efforts in dealing with the pandemic and appreciated for keeping a good eye on the virus. However, lately, India has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases and the country is the fourth worst-hit country in the world. When asked if he will still laud India, Dr Nabarro said,

The best we control this virus is by interrupting transmission wherever it occurs. But it's really hard to do that in densely populated areas. It's really hard to do that when you've got millions of people who are perhaps migrating away from their homes and coming to work in cities and suddenly finding that work is not available any more. So it's a tough thing to do to contain this virus. I'm really impressed with the speed with which India reacted. But I am also aware that the problems are there still now. What I want to stress to everybody is that if India had not been strong at the beginning, the virus would be much more widespread in your country. You'd have a doubling time of infection of three days. As it is, you've been able to slow the doubling time and that has been remarkable.

Apart from this, Dr Nabarro also appreciated the public awareness that has come because of the Coronavirus induced lockdown and asked to continue with the same strategy - interrupting transmission, isolating those with the disease and protecting high-risk group.

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About The Campaign

About The Campaign

COVID-19 remains a health emergency and a deadly threat, especially to the most vulnerable. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been responding to the global pandemic since it began. MSF doctors and nurses are treating patients and supporting communities across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Now the independent medical organisation is starting operations to combat COVID-19 in India. By setting up dedicated medical facilities to treat COVID-19 patients in Govandi, Mumbai and Patna in Bihar – where needs are huge and growing - and improving hygiene and sanitation among at-risk communities, MSF is working hard to save lives and contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

We need your help to deliver this urgently needed care. Your money will go to support MSF’s frontline medical staff and healthcare workers, supplying them with essential technical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), plus mental-health support for medical staff working during this stressful time. Your contributions will also go towards containing the outbreak by providing masks and hygiene kits to keep thousands of the most vulnerable people protected.

*Disclaimer: NDTV is the broadcast partner for a 2-hour telethon by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to raise donations to combat COVID-19 virus. The donations are received by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and shall be utilized according to a plan prepared and monitored by them. 


NDTV has no role to play in the use of donations and will not be liable for any claim(s) made by any person or entity, including any statutory or governmental authority, aris ing out of the collection or utilization of these donations.


The global prices for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) have been fluctuating  dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this the price mentioned for a full PPE kit - face protection, goggles and mask or face shield, gloves, gown or coverall, head cover, rubber boots - may not reflect the final purchase price. As well as being able to procure PPE in necessary numbers, MSF also requires it to be of a necessary standard. The volatility of the global PPE market is likely to continue, which is why MSF has been calling for a form of regulation to allow equitable and reliable distribution of medical equipment and PPE that is of necessary minimum quality.

The cost mentioned is for a kit for a caregiver and not a single PPE kit.​​