In a nutshell

Location Switzerland
Sustainable Development Goal Good Health and Well-Being

Project timeline 

"Project is 100% completed "

The Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world into an extraordinary health crisis which has already hit many countries with full force and will affect more in the weeks and months to come.

With a mission to respond to disease outbreaks and medical mass emergencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) analysed and reacted to the COVID-19 crisis quickly. Its focus has been on providing care to COVID-19 patients while maintaining its medical programmes for other vulnerable populations, protecting healthcare workers from getting infected and helping slow the disease’s spread.

To support the immediate needs and long-term resilience of people and communities affected by COVID-19, the Swiss Re Foundation decided to team up with MSF not only for its deep experience and expertise in responding to health crises but also for its ability to set priorities and make hard choices.

The Approach

In response to COVID-19, MSF is starting new projects and adapting existing ones to prepare for new outbreaks. Its interventions vary with regional needs:

  • In Europe (eg Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland), MSF is supporting national health systems with human resources, technical advice, supplies and screenings to ensure that the most vulnerable, including the elderly, migrants, refugees and the homeless, have access to medical care.  
  • In the Americas (eg Brazil, Mexico), MSF is helping ensure that homeless and other vulnerable people receive COVID-19 screenings and other health services. It is also training health professionals in infection prevention control.
  • In Asia Pacific (eg Hong Kong, Malaysia), MSF is providing COVID-19–specific health education for workers in hospitals, such as infection prevention control training, and for the general public online, particularly on the topic of mental health during the crisis.
  • In Africa (eg Nigeria, South Africa), MSF is assisting with contact tracing, the development and dissemination of health promotion materials, screening and triage and setting up handwashing points and isolation areas in local communities and camps for internally displaced persons.


The Swiss Re Foundation grant will be used mainly for the following areas of activity covered by MSF's newly created COVID-19 Crisis Fund:

  • Global COVID-19 response (including in countries where Swiss Re has offices, as described above)
  • Reinforcement of other medical activities and personnel to mitigate the strain on countries’ capacities due to COVID-19


The copyright for all images displayed lies with Médecins Sans Frontières

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Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent medical humanitarian organisation that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters and exclusion from healthcare.

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