The organisation, founded in France but now headquartered in Geneva, has set up two teams of specialists in the canton.
One team will assist Geneva University Hospital in responding to the crisis. The team has experience battling Ebola and cholera pandemics in Africa and will assist with developing strategies on how to manage patients with the virus as well as how best to apportion hospital resources.
“Under the coordination of the (University Hospital), we have a mobile medical team ready to provide home-based care to people with COVID-19, who do not meet the criteria for hospital admission,” MSF said in a statement.
“In collaboration with the City of Geneva, we have made recommendations to public and private mortuary services on procedures to avoid any post-mortem transmission of the disease.
The other team will be deployed to assist the most vulnerable people in the canton, particularly the homeless and migrants. As MSF said in a statement “people living in overcrowded conditions, on the streets, in makeshift camps or in substandard housing are at particular risk (from the virus)”.
“Viruses thrive in areas with poor water and sanitation. In addition, many of these marginalised groups are excluded from the formal healthcare system.”
MSF President Christos Christou said that the organisation had a responsibility to help all countries affected by the coronavirus, regardless of whether they were better equipped than others to handle the outbreak.
““As an emergency humanitarian organisation, MSF provides medical assistance to vulnerable people in a moment of crisis and societal disruption,” he said.
“Today, in Europe some of the most advanced health systems in the world are buckling under the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to epidemics is at the core of what we do – intervening when the system is overrun and where we can put our expertise in managing emergencies to good use.”
Between 3,000 to 5,000 homeless people and at-risk migrants are believed to live in the canton of Geneva.