Activity Overview of MSF-Hong Kong in Asia
© Paul Yeung
MSF Orienteering Competition 2015 held in Yuen Long, Hong Kong breaks the event record both in terms of participants recruited and donations raised
All members of MSF-Hong Kong remain deeply shocked and saddened by the repeated attacks on MSF’s hospitals and its supported facilities in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Sudan in 2015. Our thoughts go out to the friends and families of those who tragically lost their lives. Meanwhile, we want to pay tribute to the field workers of MSF- Hong Kong, as well as tens of thousands of MSF’s international and national colleagues, who continue to demonstrate their dedication, professionalism and commitment in these difficult times.
To support MSF’s lifesaving activities worldwide, a total of 197 mission departures went out through the Hong Kong office in this year. Among them, 47 were first missioners and 24 assumed the responsibility of coordinator or medical team leader. In addition, 53 professionals were newly recruited from the region. It is the eighth year that MSF-Hong Kong facilitated the annual surgical training with participants coming from different countries.
Further operational support was provided by the Emergency Response Support Unit Manager, who continued her core role in monitoring emergencies in the Southeast Asian region and supporting MSF’s relief operations, in particular the Nepal earthquake and the Andaman Sea refugee crisis. The Operational Support Unit (OSU) contributed to MSF’s operations in Asia through context research and analysis as well as advocacy support. The OSU also supported MSF missions outside of the region, such as South Sudan, through its expertise on the influences of China and specific Southeast Asian countries on the mission countries.
The organisation’s response to the massive medical and humanitarian needs arising from ongoing armed conflicts and the worst displacement crisis since World War II highlights the importance of financial independence and quick response in relief operations. MSF- Hong Kong would like to express our sincere gratitude to our donors, who enable us to offer assistance to people most in need, regardless of their ethnic origin, religion or political belief. Regular and predictable funds allow us to respond immediately to emergencies, and to make solid commitments to new and current programmes. Throughout the year, MSF-Hong Kong raised over HKD390 million, of which nearly 100% came from private sources. More than 17,000 new “MSF Field Partners” who are willing to support our work through monthly donations were recruited.
Moreover, MSF-Hong Kong deeply appreciates the many members of the public in Hong Kong who support us through two annual events. The MSF Orienteering Competition was held in Yuen Long in March. Over 4,500 participants ran over hills and valleys between control points, not only to raise over HKD6.5 million to support our global relief work, but also to experience simulations of some of the challenges faced on the front line. The MSF Day held on 7 July raised over HKD6.3 million. With the support from Mr. Louis Koo as the Honorary Campaign Leader, over 5,700 individuals responded to the appeal and volunteered for MSF by giving a day’s income. 600 student ambassadors also helped raise funds for the campaign. Both events were the most successful ones to date, both in terms of the money raised and the number of participants.
Whilst MSF continues to provide care for both newly infected patients and the survivors of Ebola in West Africa, it calls on the global health community to draw on lessons learnt in order to improve the response to future epidemics and to neglected diseases. This year, Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF’s International President, visited China and conducted meetings with authorities of the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as experts of the China Institute of International Studies, and the Center for African Studies of Peking University. Fruitful exchanges on the fight against Ebola, prevention and control of emerging and recurrent infectious diseases, as well as the international response to public health emergencies took place.
During 2015, MSF representatives in mainland China interacted regularly with relevant institutions and academics on key global health issues. Reports that outlined MSF’s lessons learnt on Ebola and highlighted MSF’s concerns about neglected epidemics were proactively shared. The OSU also engaged with academics in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia by sharing MSF’s expertise in outbreak control and emergency response in a number of conferences.
MSF-Hong Kong also works to deepen the public’s understanding of the challenges of delivering medical humanitarian assistance. In mainland China, the “I love MSF” campaign featuring an online game “Make a Choice” was launched to show the dilemmas with which field workers are confronted when providing aid in war zones, and to highlight to the practical importance of humanitarian principles. Field worker sharings and exhibitions were organized in the Guangzhou Library, the Alliance Française de Canton, as well as the Fudan University, the Southern Medical University and the OWSpace bookstore in Beijing.
In Taiwan, MSF hosted its biggest public event, taking visitors along the path of our work for more than 40 years. A photo exhibition, combined with field worker sharings as well as documentary screenings, was held in June at the Eslite Bookstore in Taipei. The 10-day event attracted over 15,000 visitors.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, the photo exhibition titled “Witnessing the World: The Journey of Doctors Without Borders” was organized, with Dr. Kartini Rustandi, the Director of Primary Care and Facilities of the Ministry of Health as the officiating guest. The same exhibition was then held in Singapore, in the presence of Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, the Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Director of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at the Nanyang Technological University.
Mommies Daily Indonesia, Yoga at the Park communities of Jakarta and Mommy Bloggers in the Philippines also actively supported our one-year online campaign “A Fair Shot”, advocating to lower the price of pneumonia vaccine for children. MSF was greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic support received in these countries.