Posts tagged blog

MSF’s outgoing international president, Dr. Unni Karunakara, left Sunday on a journey by bicycle from one end of India to the other. It’s a 3,000+ mile (5000 km) journey that Unni will use to spark a dialogue on health, healthcare, and humanitarianism. You can follow his progress here: https://www.cycleformsf.in/unnicycles/

MSF’s outgoing international president, Dr. Unni Karunakara, left Sunday on a journey by bicycle from one end of India to the other. It’s a 3,000+ mile (5000 km) journey that Unni will use to spark a dialogue on health, healthcare, and humanitarianism. You can follow his progress here: https://www.cycleformsf.in/unnicycles/

Photo by Lynsey Addario/VII
A woman waits to be transported to the MSF hospital to have her second c-section in Bo, Sierra Leone.
A doctor blogs from the same hospital about a different patient: “She had delivered this baby at home over 36 hours before. The baby was doing well but she had not delivered the placenta and had started hemorrhaging. She had to walk an hour and a half to the nearest clinic to get an ambulance to take her to the hospital. When she arrived she was only semi-conscious, covered in blood, and her hemoglobin was only 3.1.” Read blog- http://msf.me/19GFsSo

Photo by Lynsey Addario/VII

A woman waits to be transported to the MSF hospital to have her second c-section in Bo, Sierra Leone.

A doctor blogs from the same hospital about a different patient: “She had delivered this baby at home over 36 hours before. The baby was doing well but she had not delivered the placenta and had started hemorrhaging. She had to walk an hour and a half to the nearest clinic to get an ambulance to take her to the hospital. When she arrived she was only semi-conscious, covered in blood, and her hemoglobin was only 3.1.” Read blog- http://msf.me/19GFsSo

She is on the brink of killing herself and then (thank goodness, thank goodness, thank goodness) she phones our councellor Kural.
Dr. Emily Wise, working with TB patients in Uzbekistan, in her blog post about how suicide is one of the potential side-effects of available drug-resistant TB medication
Photo © Stefan Kruger
An injured child needs specialized neurosurgical care in #Afghanistan and the hospital is more than 200 miles away over bad roads and insecure areas. What do you do? http://bit.ly/14vssdE

Photo © Stefan Kruger

An injured child needs specialized neurosurgical care in #Afghanistan and the hospital is more than 200 miles away over bad roads and insecure areas. What do you do? http://bit.ly/14vssdE

MSF Logistician Ben King building kites with the community. Afghanistan 2013 © Ben King

"My vision of this country before I arrived saw kites flying everywhere, filling the air with the exuberance of small boys interacting with others far beyond the high walls of their own compounds. A kind of invisible communication that creates infinitely strong bonds between the people and their country. My visions were true when I arrived, but as the temperatures began to plummet, the kites, one by one, disappeared from the crystal clear skies. Finally, though, it was our chance to try our hand at it…

For now, I will enjoy watching them dance about as a beacon of hope for a brighter future for this ever colourful and complex land”

Read more from Ben’s blog and leave questions and comments below his post.

The ladies receive flowers from the Khodjeily MoH at the day of handover © Emily Wise
MSF Blogs: I Heart Shumanay
Up until now, my position in the Karakpakstan project has been as the doctor in the Khodjeily district. I took the baton in the short run-up to our handing Khodjeily back over to the Karakalpakstan Ministry of Health (MoH). Already by the time of my arrival, things were running pretty impressively in Khodjeily, and at times I have felt frustrated that there has not been a great deal for me to do. All of the hard-graft had already been done by my predecessors: doctors Jan (from what I can ascertain, some kind of Canadian medical God) and Johanna (an organisational guru). So, by the time I arrived in Khodjeily there was little left for me to do. No heroic lifesaving. No stamping my mark. No making a gigantic difference to rapturous applause. Great for the programme. Great for the patients. Khodjeily is a real success story. But for me, working in Khodjeily has always felt akin to sleeping with someone else’s husband.
And now my time has come: I am handing-over Khodjeily and opening the district geographically beyond. Shumanay is virtually uncharted territory for us: I believe MSF last ventured there in 2003. How many cases of TB will there be? How many will be drug-resistant? What is the state of TB-care in Shumanay? I am granted an MSF dream team for the job: joining Marielle and I will be our national nurse, Sarbinaz, and counsellor, Koral, both of whom are industrious, kind and capable. We will be starting from scratch. Shumanay will be our baby. We travel the hour and a half to Shumanay for the first time and survey the environment. It is similar to the rest of Karakalpakstan – flat, barren and parched plains without undulation as far as the eye can see, small shack houses and Lada cars kept just about road-worthy since Soviet days. But it’s even more remote, rural and sparsely populated than I have previously experienced. I can practically hear the untreated mycobacteria TB bacilli singing to me from the houses. This is a fine land.

The ladies receive flowers from the Khodjeily MoH at the day of handover © Emily Wise

MSF Blogs: I Heart Shumanay

Up until now, my position in the Karakpakstan project has been as the doctor in the Khodjeily district. I took the baton in the short run-up to our handing Khodjeily back over to the Karakalpakstan Ministry of Health (MoH). Already by the time of my arrival, things were running pretty impressively in Khodjeily, and at times I have felt frustrated that there has not been a great deal for me to do. All of the hard-graft had already been done by my predecessors: doctors Jan (from what I can ascertain, some kind of Canadian medical God) and Johanna (an organisational guru). So, by the time I arrived in Khodjeily there was little left for me to do. No heroic lifesaving. No stamping my mark. No making a gigantic difference to rapturous applause. Great for the programme. Great for the patients. Khodjeily is a real success story. But for me, working in Khodjeily has always felt akin to sleeping with someone else’s husband.

And now my time has come: I am handing-over Khodjeily and opening the district geographically beyond. Shumanay is virtually uncharted territory for us: I believe MSF last ventured there in 2003. How many cases of TB will there be? How many will be drug-resistant? What is the state of TB-care in Shumanay? I am granted an MSF dream team for the job: joining Marielle and I will be our national nurse, Sarbinaz, and counsellor, Koral, both of whom are industrious, kind and capable. We will be starting from scratch. Shumanay will be our baby. We travel the hour and a half to Shumanay for the first time and survey the environment. It is similar to the rest of Karakalpakstan – flat, barren and parched plains without undulation as far as the eye can see, small shack houses and Lada cars kept just about road-worthy since Soviet days. But it’s even more remote, rural and sparsely populated than I have previously experienced. I can practically hear the untreated mycobacteria TB bacilli singing to me from the houses. This is a fine land.

Supposed to be on my 4 th year at University right now, most of my friends are going to be graduates this year and I’m not even close to that. Guess everything happens for a reason, but for this I don’t see any reason why it have to be so damn hard. But again I guess it’s those lessons that ‘life is not easy’ but really does it have to be this hard?? Mmhhh. Maybe it will be a happy new year, the day they say I’m actually cured from XDR (be it in June/July) for me that would be a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
22-year-old Phumeza is in her forth year of treatment for tuberculosis and is finding it tough. Please leave your questions, comments and messages of support for Phumeza in the comments box below her blog post. 
Rape is a crime that affects many aspects of human life; it is a medical emergency, it is a psychological trauma and it has deep consequences on both family and societal level. It is of utmost importance that survivors of rape have access to immediate medical and psychological care, and also for the sake of preventing sexual violence altogether in a long-term perspective it is important that women’s rights in general are improved.
MSF Mental Health Officer, Minja, reflects on the horrors of gang rape. Her main role is providing mental health care and psychological support for victims of family and sexual violence, mainly with female patients in Papua New Guinea. Please leave your questions and comments for Minja below her blog post.
How you feel about coming home also depends on how you left your mission. If the population you were caring for are safe, if your work will continue, if you made a difference and if you can rest assured that the people you have grown to care for will continue to receive the assistance they need, it balances out. If you left in unsettled circumstances, unsure of the security of the population, tasks unfinished and without a replacement to see them through, it’s tough. It leaves you to wonder ‘what was the point?’ and ‘why did I bother?’. Have we done more damage by giving hope and then taking it away, than by not offering hope in the first place?
MSF nurse, Kate, on reconciling the mixed emotions of coming home from an MSF mission. Please leave your comments and questions for Kate below her blog post. 
What is there to do for a TB patient when the current treatment is not enough to cure the disease, and he no longer wants to continue treatment? Emily Wise, a MSF doctor working on tuberculosis in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, talks about the frustrations of medical “lost causes” and refuses to give up hope. 
Please leave your comments and questions for Emily below her blog post.

What is there to do for a TB patient when the current treatment is not enough to cure the disease, and he no longer wants to continue treatment? 

Emily Wise, a MSF doctor working on tuberculosis in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, talks about the frustrations of medical “lost causes” and refuses to give up hope. 

Please leave your comments and questions for Emily below her blog post.

The combination stressors of unfamiliar climate and diet, not to mention the ideals that lead you into this sort of work in the first place make a lot of people push themselves hard at their jobs – unsurprisingly illness and periods of emotional burnout are not uncommon among the expat workers… only time will tell how I fare. For now I’m going to follow the advice that I’ve been given and hope and pray that my immune system holds up!

“Hello, Emma? Welcome to Nasir, paradise!”

Meet British nurse Emma who has just started her first MSF mission in South Sudan, working with outpatients, childhood immunization and community outreach programs. Please leave your questions and comments for Emma below her blog post
Fifty per cent of the time I slowly roll backwards and end-up with my arms and legs flailing in the air like a stranded tortoise, until Tony frees me from the straps. All my visions of my being a brilliant yet remarkably cool and subtly sexy humanitarian doctor evaporate before I have even received my MSF T-shirt.
Emily blogs about MSF’s intense pre-mission training course with a 50kg backpack and an MSF version of ‘I Will Survive’. Please leave your questions and comments for Emily below her blog post. 
I take a couple of deeps breaths. I tell myself ‘everything will be okay’. What on Earth am I doing? And then I remember. Twice whilst I was in Uganda, the distinctive MSF Toyota land-cruiser, adorned with MSF flag and stickers and no weapons logos and giant radio antenna zoomed past me and I got butterflies in my tummy.
British doctor Emily Wise, on what it’s like preparing for her new MSF role in Uzbekistan. Please leave your comments and questions for Emily in the box below her post.
The amount of violence and the triggers for it can feel absurd… A husband can chop his wife if she asks why he comes home late. A woman beat her husband with a stick after he asked her for money.
In the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Minja finds family arguments commonly end in someone getting hurt. Please leave your questions and comments for Minja below her blog post.
Kaderia* doesn’t know how old she is. As she tells me her story I try to guess her age, she looks about fifty but perhaps her difficult life has made her age quicker. As she talks her face betrays a life of difficulty and anguish but also a look of pride and defiance.

‘My village was a very good place, except this war when people came and destroyed everything and chased the old people until we eventually escaped and came to a safe place. The whole village was burned down.’ She says a lot of people in the village died in the attack.

Kaderia explains that nothing like this had happened in their village before this year. ‘I don’t know why these people did this, maybe they wanted to take the land from us’ she explains.

Cormac blogs about meeting Kaderia, a woman still coming to terms with the violence that uprooted her from her home in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains several months ago. Please leave your questions and comments for Cormac in the comments box below his post.