CEO Update: Aiding the vulnerable during COVID-19

The best piece of advice I’ve received during the pandemic came from a friend who said you should navigate this crisis by being yourself. Be consistently and radically human. Prepare yourself to thrive in a new tomorrow through flexibility, nimbleness, innovation, partnerships, solidarity, and courage.

I’ve taken this as important advice for me personally, as well as for Medair. 

If the virus spreads like wildfire in countries that have fragile health systems, the consequences could be catastrophic. Millions of lives could be lost.

In these countries, people are already struggling to survive, without enough food to eat or water to drink, let alone the means to wash their hands. How will they cope with the pandemic as well?

If I am to be “radically human”, I can share with you that I mourn for the people who will lose loved ones, and for those who may die alone.

Rising to the challenge

The time for action is now. There’s still time to minimise the spread and impact of COVID-19 in fragile countries.

I’ve been impressed with the way global humanitarians are rising to the challenge. At Medair, our teams have been flexibly finding ways to continue essential services while incorporating emergency coronavirus actions, including:

Teaching people about how to prevent the spread of the virus

Training front-line health workers to identify COVID-19 cases and procedures for isolating patients

Providing staff with masks and other protective equipment

Setting up triage and isolation units to help identify and isolate people infected with COVID-19

Installing hand-washing stations in high-density areas like informal settlements and refugee camps

Giving malnourished women and children longer-term food rations to limit their need to visit clinics

Modelling social distancing as we maintain essential life-saving services

I cannot say enough about the selfless courage of front-line responders and relief workers. When given the option to evacuate due to COVID-19, Medair’s international staff overwhelmingly chose to stay where they were, to bring aid to the people who needed it most.

At the start of our COVID-19 response in Lebanon, Medair’s Dr Susan Brown gathered the entire team and asked them how they felt about providing coronavirus assistance in the settlements. She was inspired to tears by the positive response from so many people.

Ahmad, a Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Officer with no health care experience, said, “Dr Susan, I will do anything. I will do it all.”

“But Ahmad,” said Dr Brown, “the first two options on this list are roles providing health care for patients with coronavirus if they end up in isolation.”

“Okay,” said Ahmad. “Will you teach me how to help?”

This is the message I am hearing again and again from people. God’s spirit of servant leadership is shining like a bright light and giving me hope. People from around the world are uniting together to lift up the most vulnerable and help them make it through this time of darkness.

If you are able to join us and make a financial contribution or pray for our teams right now, praise God, because your gifts and support are needed now more than ever.

If you’d like to share your own stories on how you’re coping or to send encouraging messages for the front-line team, please reach out at


In the countries where we operate, COVID-19 is adding pressure on health systems already struggling and inadequately equipped to deal with this pandemic. Medair is helping to fill in the gaps.

You can help protect vulnerable communities against the threat of COVID-19 when you donate today.