The Order of Malta continues its engagement in the fight against Covid-19, a transnational threat that calls out for a multilateral approach since no country is immune to its effect. To this end, since the early days of its detection in many European countries who first came to tackle the pandemic, Order of Malta’s associations and volunteer as well as rescue corps in many parts of the world have been working hard to bring medical and psychosocial assistance to those affects, in strong cooperation with the local health authorities. The Sovereign Order of Malta’s government has also committed in the struggle to contain the virus organizing a pioneering project called “Doctors to Doctors”. Purpose of the initiative is to facilitate exchange of experiences and insights as well as best practices on the management of Covid-19 between health experts by calling regular online meetings. The underlying assumption is that dialogue in the field of health is of paramount importance when confronting a major threat that crosses borders and has now reached all continents.
So far over 12 meetings have been organized, with over 130 health experts from Australia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Yemen and the World Health Organisation participating. Most of the meetings convened focused on the emergency in the Middle Eastern region and were carried out with health experts from Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon.
As the tally cases of Covid-19 started to rise in Asia, the US and Latin America, the Order of Malta decided to extend its Doctors to Doctors projects to other countries affected. Brazil accounts for nearly half of all coronavirus-related deaths recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than five million cases have been confirmed. Other hard-hit countries of the region include Mexico – which has the world’s third-highest number of deaths with 52,000 and nearly 476,000 cases – Peru, Colombia, and Chile.
Coordinated by Ambassador Giuseppe Morabito, a first virtual meeting “Doctores en la red” (Doctores in the network), was convened in 4 August with doctors and health officials from Ecuador and Peru, where some 115 participants took part in the online discussion and were able to raise questions on the best measures to contain the spread of the virus and manage the patients as well as to learn about the recent scientific findings on the nature of Covid-19.
A second webinar for doctors from Colombia was held on 25 August,with 70 participants. Currently the Foreign Affairs department of the Grand Magistry is working on a new meeting for doctors from Central America to take place in early Autumn.
“Doctores en la Red is an initiative of the Sovereign Order of Malta’s government which involved, in particular, the Office of the Grand Hospitaller and the Order’s Latin American Associations. These, together with the Spanish Association, have played a key role in identifying doctors of great expertise. In the hope that the pandemic will soon be defeated, the Sovereign Order of Malta is considering the feasibility of extending this initiative to other sectors in the health field, such as the fight against neglected diseases, assistance to IDPs in refugee camps, and access to primary goods such as drinking water” Ambassador Morabito explained.