Photo by Peter Casaer
“Today I saw the worst case of breast cancer I have ever seen”
“Sometimes, the seeming futility of this job overwhelms me. We see so many diseases – both chronic and acute – that we are unable to do anything about. When I considered coming to Afghanistan, I felt I was prepared to see malnutrition, wounded patients, trauma, etc. I did not realize the amount of chronic diseases and other conditions that we would be helpless to treat. At home, this woman would have had a mammogram and ultrasound when she first noticed a lump in her breast. She would have received free health care that would have, in all likelihood, saved her life. We have no chemotherapy, radiation therapy, mammography, or indeed oncologists here in Helmand [Afghanistan].”
Read more at http://blogs.msf.org/afghanistan/2013/06/what-if/
photo by Juan-Carlos Tomasi
Darfur: “Every Time You Are Able to Save a Patient it Gives You the Motivation to Save Another Life”
“We received about 34 injured people the first instance of violence, on February 8. The hospital did not have surgical supplies and the MSF medical cargo had not arrived yet. We had one emergency box for the MSF team’s personal use, just in case. We used all of the surgical supplies in that box, including material for dressings and drugs for surgeries. We also used all the drugs in the hospital. The hospital’s doctor and I performed the surgeries, we worked as a team. We also had to carry out a blood transfusion for one of the patients; we did not have a fridge, so it was done immediately. - Read more at http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6813&source=ads120000R01
Photo by Ton Koene
The upheaval in Central African Republic has meant HIV treatment interruptions and mounting medical needs. Meanwhile, health workers flee with their families to safety and the malaria season starts. MSF tries to respond to this ‘crisis on top of a crisis’.”
Read more - http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6804
FREE FILM SCREENINGS IN CHICAGO!
June 8 and 10
Directed by Peter Casaer and narrated by Daniel Day-Lewis, this new documentary provides a harrowing look at the challenges of delivering humanitarian aid in armed conflicts. Over 70 minutes, Access to the Danger Zone explores the strategies that Doctors Without Borders uses to save lives in the world’s worst war zones, including Afghanistan, Somalia and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Interviews with key experts from Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations are accompanied by dramatic footage shot in these countries in 2011 and 2012.
A Q&A with local MSF aid workers will follow each screening.
Visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org/chicago to learn more and register.
Syrian Kids Struggle in Refugee Camp -
Video on msnbc.com: Zaatari, one of the largest refugee camps is five miles from the Syrian border in neighboring Jordan. Now there are more than 25,000 and of the 120 thousand people living there, half are children. In this first of a special series, ITV’s John Ray reports from a makeshift children’s clinic inside the camp.
In this video, NBC Nightly News visits Jordan’s Zaatari camp, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are living in increasingly precarious conditions. In the first 5 weeks of its activities here, MSF carried out roughly 2,000 medical consultations. Increased international aid is urgently needed so that Jordan can cope with the rising influx of people and remain a refuge for Syrians fleeing violence in their country.
“This was the first time that I thought: ‘Maybe one day I could be a nurse and work for an aid organization.’ It was a dream that was out of reach then. Our reality in the camp was marked by hunger and disease.”
In 1986, Thok Johnson was forced to flee his home in Sudan, losing his family on the way. Fourteen years later, he became an MSF nurse. Read more about his incredible journey: http://www.msf.org.uk/article/thoks-story-refugee-aid-worker
“Our patients are an eclectic profile. Some are traditionally dressed and come from rural parts of Syria. These include the Bedouin people, who often have facial tattooing and traditional dress. Many women wear the burka. Some people are clothed in typical modern-day European/American attire of jeans and t-shirt. These people are generally from the cities such as Homs, Damascus and Aleppo. Despite their aesthetic differences, they have something in common. They have all lost everything they owned. They have all witnessed horrendous tragedy and acts of violence. They are all mourning the deaths of loved ones. And what is worse, they are living in fear about the fate of loved ones who are unaccounted for, left behind in Syria.” - MSF doctor Aoife Doran in Tripoli.
Read more: http://blogs.msf.org/aoifed/2013/05/swing-of-things/
Photo © Aurelie Lachant/MSF
432,000 routine vaccinations, 78,500 surgeries, 1,642,800 malaria cases treated! Take a look at Doctors Without Borders in 2012 by the numbers.
Photo © Enass Abu Khalaf-Tuffaha/MSF
There are nearly 500,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan; 100,000 of whom are living in Zaatari camp in the north. Every day 1,000 more people arrive at the camp. MSF has increased its staff and activities there, including opening a pediatric hospital and an outpatient clinic for children in the last couple of months. But, like other health providers in Zaatari, MSF refers the most severe cases to Jordanian public hospitals outside the camp, which are already nearing full capacity.
Jordan is not able to deal with the rising needs as people continue to arrive. The country needs increased international aid soon or they will have to resort to drastic measures, like blocking all refugee access to the country or restricting access to public facilities. Read more: http://bit.ly/15eNkY7
Photo by Stefan Dold/MSF
Under any circumstances, it’s not an easy task traveling along muddy rainforest tracks by motorbike and crossing swollen rivers by dugout canoe. Now imagine doing it while carrying a refrigerator. This is exactly what UK native and Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) project coordinator Will Turner and his team will be doing for the next month as they mount an expedition to test 40,000 people in remote villages of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness.
The mission is taking them to the town of Bili, among other places, in the far north of the country. Bili sits in a heavily forested area between the river Uélé and the border with Central African Republic. The area is a global hotspot for sleeping sickness, a disease transmitted by the tsetse fly that is fatal if it’s not treated. Some 85 percent of all sleeping sickness cases are found in DRC, in fact. But the region is so difficult to reach that the problem has long gone ignored.
“We came to the district because it is in the most active focus of sleeping sickness in the world,” says Turner. “Yet this fatal disease is just not tackled here due to insecurity and the remoteness of the area.”
In early April 2013, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team installed a laboratory and treatment ward in Bili hospital and began testing local people for the disease. Once the entire population of the town has been tested, the team will turn its focus to about 50 other villages located deep in the surrounding rainforest. People diagnosed with the disease will be referred to the hospital in Bili.
“The team will be on the road for three to four weeks in a row,” says Turner. “Sometimes they will be on motorbikes to make their way along barely accessible paths through the forest. They will move to a new village every day and sleep in tents. By doing this, we expect to find and cure several hundred infected patients.”
Read more: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6797&cat=field-news
Members of a Muslim minority community, the Rohingya, bathe at a water pump in the camp where they are living near Sittwe, Myanmar. The Rohingya are not recognized by the government as citizens and their movements are severely restricted, cut off from health facilities, food, markets, farming, and, in some cases, clean water. Photo by Kaung Htet Read more http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=6798&cat=press-release
Photo:Ain el-Helweh in Saida is the largest camp hosting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Lebanon 2013 © Aurelie Lachant/MSF.
From Damascus to Ain el-Helweh: Palestinians in Syria Flee to Lebanon
“I’m deeply sad inside, but I need to appear strong in front of my family,” says a man called Mahmood while sitting in the narrow room he now shares with his wife and six-year-old son in the Ain el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon. Until almost two months ago, he’d been living in another camp for Palestinians, this one in Damascus, but the conflict in Syria had made it impossible to stay.
“It’s very difficult,” he says. “Seven of my relatives were killed by the bombings and shootings in Syria. We saw their mutilated bodies. I buried them myself and buried my neighbors too. My son disappeared. One month later, my brother disappeared. I’m sure they got killed and this is causing me a lot of sadness.”
Photo: A transit camp near the Turkish border. Syria 2013 © Anna Surinyach/MSF
10,000 Syrians Seek Shelter Near Turkish Border
Several months ago, Hussein Alwawi was living in Aleppo with his family. But, he recalls, “A warplane attacked our neighborhood and lots of houses were destroyed, including ours. We were not at home at the time, but two families were killed.”
Five days later, he and his family set out towards Syria’s border with Turkey. They found an ad hoc settlement that now hosts some 10,000 displaced Syrians, more than double the number who’d been there at the beginning of the year. While it is officially known as a “transit camp,” it would be more accurate to call it a camp for internally displaced people, or IDPs.
Driven from their homes by the war, most of these IDPs now live in tents set up in a field formerly occupied by a customs office, though Alwawi and his family found sanctuary inside a mosque. In a quest to create some sense of normalcy, people have set up barbershops and foodstalls, even a school for the children.