A lot of the people we saw had never seen a doctor. Ever.

Nenna Arnold, who was an outreach nurse supervisor in Dadaab, Kenya from August 2010 – May 2011.

She continued:

"Doctors Without Borders was already running a hospital and four busy health posts inside the crowded Dagahaley refugee camp when hundreds of people fleeing Somalia began to arrive. But there was no room for them in the camp. It was already extremely overcrowded, with 100,000 people living in a space created for 30,000. So the refugees began to settle on the outskirts of the camp. They had no access to food, water, and shelter and built small huts out of twigs, cloth, and cardboard.

The first thing I did was to organize a group of community health workers to find the children and pregnant women who needed medical attention. Every day our vehicle was filled with patients, including many malnourished and sick children. We’d deliver them to one of the health posts or the hospital, depending on the severity of their condition.

At times I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of this growing crisis, but I extended my stay for an extra three months because I felt there was still so much more I could do. I loved the people and our medical action was so critical.

In the Dadaab camps of northerastern Kenya, which collectively form the largest refugee camp in the world, life is becoming more difficult every day and hundreds of thousands of refugees are facing a humanitarian emergency. Their health is at risk of deteriorating rapidly but humanitarian aid agencies are struggling to provide meaningful assistance on an ongoing basis. Learn more.

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