About 3,500 participants raised $6 million
The annual event of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Hong Kong, “On Track to Save - MSF Orienteering Competition” was held in Tsing Yi Nature Trail today. This year, about 3,500 participants raises around HKD$6 million to support MSF’s medical humanitarian work across the world. Entering its 18th year, with the theme “Pushing the Limits”, Personal Protection Equipment and the setting used in response to the Ebola outbreak were displayed in the competition site for raisingpubic awareness towards medical humanitarian issues.
Dr Kenneth Chan, vice-president of Board of Directors of MSF Hong Kong expressed his gratitude to all who joined and supported the competition, and called for increased awareness of the populations affected by humanitarian crises. At the kick-off ceremony, Dr Chan said that orienteering and MSF’s medical humanitarian work were alike. Both of the participants and field workers had to overcome challenges and difficulties in order to complete the missions. Dr Chan hoped that through experiencing the challenges that field workers would face, participants could understand more about how MSF would respond to emergencies and crises.
Ebola outbreak is chosen as the main topic of this year’s Competition to explain how MSF pushing its limit, cured patients with the absence of proven Ebola treatments. Between 2014 and 2016, the biggest ever Ebola epidemic broke out in West Africa, affecting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. MSF deployed thousands of staff, treating one-third of all WHO-confirmed cases in West Africa.
At that time, Dr Natasha Reyes, Director of the Emergency Response Support Unit of MSF Hong Kong was in Liberia to coordinate MSF’s medical response against the outbreak. Dr Reyes expressed her concern over the current Ebola outbreak in Africa, “A couple of years after, MSF is fighting another large-scale Ebola outbreak. This time is in Democratic Republic of Congo with a very complicated situation. It happens in a conflict zone and just few days ago, our Ebola centres there were burned and attacked, rendering it inoperable.”
During the West Africa Ebola outbreak, a specific wall was set up in the Ebola treatment centre. Ebola survivors would make their handprint on the wall upon release from the centre so as to encourage patients and the medical teams fighting against the outbreak. A similar wall was also set up in today’s competition site. All participants were invited to make their handprint on the wall so as to show their support to MSF’s global humanitarian work.
“On Track to Save - MSF Orienteering Competition” is the annual event organized by MSF Hong Kong since 2002. Participants can not only experience challenges faced by MSF frontline field workers, but also raise funds for MSF’s global medical humanitarian work. They have to plan their own routes and reach as many checkpoints as possible within 2 hours. The team with the highest score wins. Besides, each participant is assigned with a field worker identity, from surgeon, doctor, nurse to logistician. They can join the “frontline missions” at event centre, and provide solutions in scenarios that MSF’s field workers would face.
This year, the event was co-presented by the Orienteering Association of Hong Kong. MSF-Hong Kong was particularly thankful for Campaign Partner Collyer Logistics International Limited; and Action Partner Bipole International (HK) LTD, Brilliant International Inc. Limited and Elite Partners CPA Limited.