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Online panel event: Responding to emergencies in the shadow of coronavirus

Online panel event: Responding to emergencies in the shadow of coronavirus

Thu, 30 Jul 20

This event is now over. Watch a recording of the event above.

Join us for an online event where MSF staff will share their stories about responding to disease outbreaks in some of the world’s most challenging locations and discuss how they are dealing with the new threat of COVID-19.

Every year, epidemics occur across the globe with devastating consequences, opening cracks in national health systems and exhausting available resources.

Outbreaks of cholera, malaria, measles and meningitis, as well as virus and parasite-spread diseases such as dengue fever, Zika, Ebola and kala azar, affect millions of people every year.

At MSF, we have almost 50 years of experience responding to these kinds of crises.  Responding to disease outbreaks is in our DNA.

But now we are facing a new and unfamiliar crisis in the form of COVID-19.

We have had to adapt our existing projects to prepare for this unpredictable disease as it takes hold; we have set up emergency responses to coronavirus, including in countries where we have never worked before; and we have worked to keep our regular medical activities running for the tens of thousands of people we support in conflict zones, refugee camps and in regions with fragile health systems.

MSF staff will share stories of how they’re adapting their life-saving work in the face of COVID-19, the new dilemmas and difficult choices that this brings, and how they're finding innovative solutions to new problems.

This online event will be chaired by BBC broadcaster and journalist Robin Lustig.

There will be a Q&A session at the end of the event where the audience will be able to type questions to the panel.

The Panel

Bhargavi Rao, MSF clinical focal point for COVID-19 

Bhargavi is currently the clinical focal point for COVID-19 response in Médecins Sans Frontières Operational Centre Amsterdam (MSF-OCA), but she is usually the Clinical Team Lead and Malaria and Infectious Diseases Specialist based at the Manson Unit (London). 

She has worked on infectious diseases programming across varied contexts with MSF including South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, India, and Venezuela as well as in the UK. She is a clinician with a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology from Imperial College London/London School of Tropical Medicine.

Lilli-Marie Wangari, MSF medical activity manager in Kenya

Wangari started with MSF in 2001 as a clinical officer working with HIV patients in informal settlements in Nairobi. She took a two-year break from MSF in 2008 joining the University of Maryland as an assistant continuous quality improvement specialist. In 2010, she rejoined MSF as an assistant HIV/TB supervisor in Kibera slum, Nairobi. 

Wangari transitioned to non-communicable diseases manager in the same project in Kibera in 2015. When the project was handed over to the Ministry of Health in 2017, Wangari became a medical activity manager and mission emergency coordinator for MSF, a title she holds to this date. Her role entails coordination, assessment, supervision and implementation of medical activities, including emergency preparedness and response.

Marc Wilkinson, MSF pharmacist

After qualifying as a pharmacist in 2012, Marc worked in a variety of roles in the NHS as a clinical pharmacist before joining the humanitarian world with MSF in 2017.

Since then, he has gone on to work across the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo before returning to the UK to undertake further post-graduate education whilst working part-time for MSF.

Robin Lustig, broadcaster and journalist (Chair)  
From 1989 until 2012, Robin presented The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 and Newshour on BBC World Service.  
Before joining the BBC, he was a correspondent for Reuters in Madrid, Paris and Rome, and then spent 12 years at The Observer, including a period based in the Middle East. 
In 2013, Robin received the Charles Wheeler award for outstanding contribution to broadcast journalism.