Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Brussels is the strategic centre of MSF’s fight against Ebola, said Brice de la Vingne, Director of Operations for MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières – ‘Doctors Without Borders’) on Monday during the launch of a fund-raising campaign for the NGO. Indeed it is from Brussels that the intervention in West Africa is being coordinated, and where the first, and until recently the only, training centre for the treatment of Ebola can also be found in the Belgian capital. “The international response is slow to materialise”, regrets de la Vingne. This is why, since August, MSF Belgium has been organizing Ebola training courses at its Bruno Corbe Centre near Tour & Taxis in Brussels. “Training is at the root of our work and our aim is to share our knowledge in this field as quickly as possible”, explains the Director of Operations.
Around 282 people have taken part in the training courses since they started up. “Most of them are MSF collaborators about to travel into the field, but we also welcome workers from around 20 other organisations such as Save The Children, CDC, IMC, and civil servants from the Health Departments of affected countries”, adds de la Vingne.
The Brussels-based centre has long been the only centre in the world to be working in this field, but thanks to the NGO other such schemes have been or are being set up in Atlanta, Geneva, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The fact that the main supply centre for MSF is based in Belgium places Brussels even more at the heart of the fight against Ebola. It is essential that flights towards affected countries from Brussels Airport are maintained, stresses Meinie Nicolai, President of MSF Belgium. “Of course we understand that personnel at the airport may have concerns, and we are happy with the new measures in place to reassure them”, she adds, insisting on the importance of Friday’s nomination of Dr Erika Vlieghe as National Ebola Coordinator.
MSF has been active in West Africa for 7 months now and launched a fund-raising campaign on Monday, asking for financial but also moral support for their teams in the field. You can find all the necessary information at www.msf.be.