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Coronavirus: Malteser International committed to its mission for the most vulnerable

Despite the new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Malteser International is committed to continuing to deliver the lifesaving assistance that people in need around the world rely on. In the coming days, we’ll be filling you in on how we are working to navigate the pandemic and help vulnerable people protect themselves against the novel coronavirus.

As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues globally, Malteser International is working to mitigate its spread across its programs and ensure continued assistance for people in need across the world.

“With over 60 years of experience responding to crises including epidemics, we are addressing the novel coronavirus emergency with the utmost seriousness and urgency,” said Ingo Radtke, Malteser International’s Secretary General.  “Our priority is to ensure the continuation of the ongoing vital work in our programs and protect already vulnerable groups from the virus.”

"Our work has never been more critical"

“A significant part of our work involves helping communities protect themselves against the spread of infectious diseases,” said Radtke. “We are adapting our programs worldwide to this global health challenge. Our lifesaving work to provide displaced people and others in need with health, nutrition, water, and hygiene materials has never been more critical. With millions of families displaced and affected by conflict, living without adequate access to healthcare and sanitation, the need for support has never been greater.”

“Equally important is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our teams,” said Radtke. “We have therefore established a set of guidelines in hygiene and infection management for our staff, including travel restrictions and self-isolation recommendations. We are also observing public gathering restrictions instituted by local, state, and federal authorities.”

Malteser International's coronavirus response

  • In Colombia, Malteser International has already intensified its health and hygiene education activities, targeting migrants and refugees as well as host communities in the country’s La Guajira department. Health personnel have also received extensive training on protective measures for COVID-19. In addition to scaling up mobile medical missions to remote and border areas, Malteser International has distributed more hygiene articles to people in need.
  • In Pakistan, Malteser International is increasing hygiene information campaigns as part of its work to strengthen communities against disaster. Local committees, established as part of Malteser International’s efforts in the region, have set up communal hand-washing points to mitigate the spread of the disease in their community.
  • In Peru, adjustments have been made to Malteser International's project for the elderly, with house calls replacing group activities for the time being. The senior citizens receive information on preventive measures to avoid infection with COVID-19 during the house calls. They are also provided with hygiene articles including soap
  • In Haiti, we are distributing flyers on COVID-19, hand-washing and disinfecting surfaces. We are reaching out to the elderly population with particular care and attention.
  • In Bangladesh, where we are working in refugee settlements to provide medical care and other services,  we have set up hand washing stations in each of our health centers. Volunteers have been trained to educate the local community about the virus. They are also responsible for referring suspected cases to our health facilities for treatment. Our partner organization Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) has developed test kits to help fight the outbreak of the coronavirus.
  • In Afghanistan, we are supporting our partner UnionAid in measures to stop the spread of the virus in Kabul. Medical staff have received trainingon COVID-19, information on the virus and prevention measures has been provided to the public, and medicines, protective equipment, hygiene materials and oxygen cylinders have been stocked up in our health facilities.
  • In the DR Congo, we are providing the public with information about the novel coronavirus through radio broadcasts, community education and posters. We are also offering consulting services to healthcare professionals, providing training on COVID-19 and helping to procure medical materials such as masks and respiratory equipment. Isolation centers which were used during the Ebola epidemic have been put to use to treat suspected cases in isolation. Malteser International is also setting up hand washing stations and conducting simulation exercises with health workers.
  • In Nigeria, our work in hygiene protection is currently focused on COVID-19 prevention. We are distributing hygiene products such as soap and buckets as well as providing information on proper hand washing.


Children in Colombia practicing hand washing. © Emily Kinskey/Malteser International

Basic protective measures against the new

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) if handwashing facilities are not available).
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.   
  • More important information from the World Health Organization


People fleeing conflict and those living without access to healthcare face greatest risk from COVID-19.
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