Countries Must Fix Critical Access to Medicines Flaws in Trans-Pacific Trade Pact
Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a far-reaching trade agreement between 11 Pacific Rim countries—continue to be shrouded in secrecy, but leaked copies of the agreement reveal that the United States is demanding the most harmful package of intellectual property protections ever proposed for a trade agreement with developing countries.
These rules would make it extremely difficult for generic competitors to enter the market, keeping prices unaffordably high, with devastating public health consequences.
Follow us throughout the week as negotiations for the TPP restart in Lima, Peru, tomorrow.
Photo: MSF medical staff examines patient in surgical ward in Hangu Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital. MSF supports the Hangu THQ Hospital by running emergency room and providing surgical care. Pakistan 2012 © Haroon Khan/MSF
Pakistan: More than 110 Treated for Blast Wounds Ahead of Elections
Pakistan is experiencing an increase in violence related to the general and provincial elections taking place on May 11, in the country’s first democratic transition of power. MSF staff treated patients for blast injuries at facilities in Hangu and Lower Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
“The escalation in violence has caused massive devastation over a short period of time,” said Jean Guy Vataux, MSF country representative in Pakistan. “This is exacerbating an already very difficult situation for the Pakistani people who continue to bear the brunt of these violent acts on every level.”
Noncombatants have been the primary victims of the recent violence, which follows several months of armed conflict in Pakistan that mainly injured members of the security forces and armed militants, according to Pakistani media reports.
Photo: Over the next four weeks, MSF project coordinator Will Turner and his team will mount an expedition to screen 40,000 people for sleeping sickness in remote villages of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
DRC: Through northern Congo with a fridge
Travelling along muddy rainforest tracks by motorbike and crossing swollen rivers by dugout canoe while carrying a refrigerator, a microscope and a generator is no easy task. But this is what MSF project coordinator Will Turner and his team will be doing for the next four weeks.
Without treatment, sleeping sickess - transmitted by the tsetse fly - is always fatal.
Every day we see mothers’ efforts in coming to Tari hospital to get medical care for their children. They may walk for two hours, without shoes, carrying their children in their bilums (traditional string bag) to reach the hospital. We see women at the Family Support Center who have suffered domestic violence for many years, but whose primary concern is not themselves, but their children. — Mothers Day is a day to appreciate the women we get to help in our line of work. Thank you to all the mothers around the world. Minja writes about mothers in Papua New Guinea where she is working as a mental health officer with MSF.
MSF Mother’s Day E-Cards
Still looking for something special for Mother’s Day? Honor a mother in your life with a gift that saves lives. Your tribute will help deliver urgently needed medical care to people—including pregnant women and new moms—trapped in crises around the world. And you’ll have the opportunity to send a beautiful eCard to your mother, letting her know about your meaningful gift (well in time for Mother’s Day).
We all knew that late in the dry season, malnutrition would peak. But this week it hit us hard. Our outreach teams had difficulty coping. The hospital was temporarily over-run. Dr. Johanna, our MSF doctor from Sweden, told me the hospital “looked like a refugee camp”. The team and myself surveyed the hospital grounds. Two patients shared a bed in some circumstances; the area we use for children’s play was covered with mattresses on the ground and patients ; and our tent used for epidemic infectious disease was filled with malnourished children … Quickly, we started making plans to deal with the increased numbers. — Doctor Raghu blogs from Chad where MSF teams are working hard to treat rising numbers of children with malnutrition as well as people displaced by conflict. Read about it and leave your comments for Raghu.
MSF Scientific Day
This year’s MSF Scientific Day will be streamed live online, with opportunity for our online audience to submit questions to the presenters. With an agenda that is packed with presentations that reflect the diversity of MSF programmes and patients, plus a keynote speech from global health expert Hans Rosling, Scientific Day provides an essential insight into humanitarian research. Get involved in the debate and join us live on May 10th!
Photo: The MSF hospital and the Sobat river at dawn as seen from the river’s edge in Nasir. South Sudan 2012 © Brendan Bannon
Field Blog: An Assortment of Oncalls
Emma Pedley is a British nurse working on community outreach projects with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Nasir, South Sudan. Read her MSF Field Blog here.
It’s hard to give an idea of the bewildering breadth of patients that we are presented with during on calls. Even used as I am to the variety of humanity that compiles the average emergency department back at home, I am still frequently taken aback with the range of problems that the radio calls that I receive during the night require me to somehow deal with. The only part of the hospital that I don’t cover during the night is maternity, so the scope of cases I am called for range from ER cases that need admission to malnourished children in the inpatient therapeutic feeding center ( ITFC) who can deteriorate with frightening suddenness during the night to unstable patients in the ICU… .
2am “Oncall, oncall for ICU – we have one child yes, they are convulsions…” I jolt into wakefulness and am out of my bed and running over to the hospital as fast as I can go telling the nurses to prepare IV diazepam down the radio as I go. This could be anything, but always think worst case scenario… I arrive on the ward and yes, this is actual convulsions, a four-year-old with cerebral malaria. — MSF nurse Emma writes about the of variety people she treats when on-call in South Sudan. Please leave your comments for Emma on her blog.
FREE EVENT | Live Webcast Crisis Update on Syria
Join us Thursday, May 9, for a LIVE ONLINE panel discussion featuring three distinct on-the-ground perspectives on the crisis in Syria and on MSF’s various operations.
Stephen Cornish, Executive Director, MSF-Canada, who recently returned from a fact-finding assignment that took him to a number of MSF programs in and around Syria.
Deane Marchbein, MD, President of the Board of MSF-USA and MSF Anesthesiologist, who spent a month earlier this spring providing surgical care within Syria.
Michael Goldfarb, Media Relations Manager, MSF-USA, who recently documented living conditions and the humanitarian situation facing Syrian refugees in Lebanon and northern Iraq.
Photo: Salwah Mekrsh was shot by a sniper in Aleppo. In this photo, taken in April 2013, she is about to start a mental health consultation with MSF staff in Kilis. Turkey 2013 © Anna Surinyach
“I feel better, but I can’t walk.”
Eighteen-year-old Salwah Mekrsh is unable to walk. Her mother and her sister push Salwah’s wheelchair through the streets of Kilis, a Turkish city near the border with Syria, then enter a small courtyard and stop under the shade of a lemon tree. While Salwah waits for her mental health consultation with MSF to begin, they talk about how their lives have changed.
“Before the war, we used to have everything,” says Salwah, “but since it started we have suffered too much.”
Salwah was pushed into marriage shortly before the first wave of protests in Syria, in March 2011, when she was 15. Soon she became pregnant; her daughter was born just as the country’s strife was becoming an all-out civil war. After her husband tried to assault her, their marriage disintegrated, and he left, taking the baby. “He took my daughter and doesn’t let me see her,” says Salwah. “I have no way to contact them. I haven’t seen my daughter for a year.”
Photo: In the Madaoua and Bouza districts of Niger, there were an average of seven deaths for every 10,000 children every day last year. More than half of the deaths were due to malaria. © Juan-Carlos Tomasi
A Vicious Cycle in Sahel
Malaria and malnutrition are closely related. This is played out dramatically in Africa’s Sahel region during the “hunger gap” months. Food stocks run low and new crops are not ready for harvest, so malnutrition is at its peak; meanwhile, the rainy season, when mosquitoes breed, is in full swing. The diseases combine in a vicious circle: malnourished children with weak immune systems can’t fight diseases including malaria; children sick with malaria are more likely to become dangerously malnourished.