Posts tagged epidemic

Photo: A 31-year-old patient gets a checkup at Artyomovsk TB dispensary. Ukraine 2013 © Niklas Bergstrand/MSF

Once considered a disease on the decline, tuberculosis (TB) has seen a resurgence in Ukraine and several other post-Soviet countries that endured social and economic tumult after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Ukraine, the country’s prisons in particular are a hotbed for the disease, with prevalence rates more than ten times higher than in the rest of society. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides treatment and support to over 140 inmates and ex-inmates suffering from multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
“It’s hard to sit up and I’ve got pain everywhere,” says Andriy*, 31, in a coarse voice from behind a white protective mask. A drunken brawl a few years ago lead to a jail term for violent assault and also put an abrupt end to his vocational training as a construction worker. Half a year ago, while still in prison, he was diagnosed by MSF with MDR-TB. His body is now thin and frail, and he says he has abandoned all hope of having a family and living a normal life until he is cured.

Photo: A 31-year-old patient gets a checkup at Artyomovsk TB dispensary. Ukraine 2013 © Niklas Bergstrand/MSF


Once considered a disease on the decline, tuberculosis (TB) has seen a resurgence in Ukraine and several other post-Soviet countries that endured social and economic tumult after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Ukraine, the country’s prisons in particular are a hotbed for the disease, with prevalence rates more than ten times higher than in the rest of society. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides treatment and support to over 140 inmates and ex-inmates suffering from multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

“It’s hard to sit up and I’ve got pain everywhere,” says Andriy*, 31, in a coarse voice from behind a white protective mask. A drunken brawl a few years ago lead to a jail term for violent assault and also put an abrupt end to his vocational training as a construction worker. Half a year ago, while still in prison, he was diagnosed by MSF with MDR-TB. His body is now thin and frail, and he says he has abandoned all hope of having a family and living a normal life until he is cured.

Battling a Measles Epidemic in Northeast Congo

Following a recent malaria epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a measles outbreak has spread through some 20 health zones in the the country’s Orientale Province. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has deployed major logistical support to treat 16,000 patients and vaccinate close to 340,000 children in the affected regions.

Photo: Mothers and children queue to receive food as part of treatment in Guidan Roumdji, where MSF treats malnutrition and malaria. Niger 2012 © Tanya Bindra
Op-Ed: How to Start a Child Survival Epidemic
“Running your infant to the pediatrician for a well-baby check up and shots may seem like just another chore. Who do you know who ever had measles? Many parents wonder if all those shots are really necessary in the first place. But last week, mothers, nurses, and doctors in Niger reminded me just how powerful and important these simple gestures are.”
How can improving childhood survival rates in Niger spread to a child survival epidemic? MSF pediatrician, Susan Shephered, discusses her work in the field and strategies to reduce childhood mortality worldwide. 
This article was originally published on the Huffington Post.

Photo: Mothers and children queue to receive food as part of treatment in Guidan Roumdji, where MSF treats malnutrition and malaria. Niger 2012 © Tanya Bindra

Op-Ed: How to Start a Child Survival Epidemic

Running your infant to the pediatrician for a well-baby check up and shots may seem like just another chore. Who do you know who ever had measles? Many parents wonder if all those shots are really necessary in the first place. But last week, mothers, nurses, and doctors in Niger reminded me just how powerful and important these simple gestures are.”

How can improving childhood survival rates in Niger spread to a child survival epidemic? MSF pediatrician, Susan Shephered, discusses her work in the field and strategies to reduce childhood mortality worldwide. 

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post.

Haiti: Medical Certificates for Cholera Patients

Since it was disclosed that the cholera epidemic that struck Haiti in 2010 was inadvertently brought to the island by a United Nations (UN) battalion from Nepal, many of the 500,000 people affected by the disease have requested certificates proving they were treated, in hopes of receiving compensation from the UN. MSF is providing thousands of former patients with medical certificates.

The Daily Dot: How Doctors Without Borders is mapping the world’s epidemics

Ivan Gayton, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Nigeria, speaks on how new technologies have had an “astonishing” effect on his organization’s effectiveness.


“If you’ve got ways to visualize your epidemiology data spatially, it can help you figure out, ‘oh that seems to be along this river,’ or ‘that seems to be consistently in this size of town.’ Those kinds of observations are very hard to make from tables of data, but they’re actually quite easy to make from maps.”

In addition to professional mapping programs like ArcGIS, aid workers have been using Google Earth. Representatives from Google even visited Gayton’s team to help train them on how to use mapping tools. It’s experiences like this that revealed to Gayton the common ground shared by the tech specter and the humanitarian world.

Gayton said these tools will continue to be invaluable as climate change, food crises, and political instability around the globe are poised to shake up longstanding notions about how diseases spread.

But the maps serve another equally important purpose: convincing governments, agencies, and the general public to confront the realities of infectious diseases.

MSF and GOOGLE had a panel discussion at SXSW this weekend in Austin:

SXSW Panel: Adapting New Technologies for Humanitarian Aid
Sunday, March 11, 3:30pm
Austin Convention Center, Room 6ABOriginal article here.

The Daily Dot: How Doctors Without Borders is mapping the world’s epidemics

Ivan Gayton, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Nigeria, speaks on how new technologies have had an “astonishing” effect on his organization’s effectiveness.

“If you’ve got ways to visualize your epidemiology data spatially, it can help you figure out, ‘oh that seems to be along this river,’ or ‘that seems to be consistently in this size of town.’ Those kinds of observations are very hard to make from tables of data, but they’re actually quite easy to make from maps.”

In addition to professional mapping programs like ArcGIS, aid workers have been using Google Earth. Representatives from Google even visited Gayton’s team to help train them on how to use mapping tools. It’s experiences like this that revealed to Gayton the common ground shared by the tech specter and the humanitarian world.

Gayton said these tools will continue to be invaluable as climate change, food crises, and political instability around the globe are poised to shake up longstanding notions about how diseases spread.

But the maps serve another equally important purpose: convincing governments, agencies, and the general public to confront the realities of infectious diseases.

MSF and GOOGLE had a panel discussion at SXSW this weekend in Austin:

SXSW Panel: Adapting New Technologies for Humanitarian Aid Sunday, March 11, 3:30pm Austin Convention Center, Room 6AB

Original article here.

In 2011, Chad and other sub-Saharan African countries were affected by a large-scale cholera epidemic. By late November, more than 17,200 cases of cholera (the largest number since 1996) and 459 deaths had been recorded.

In August, during the height of the epidemic, up to 1,250 cases were recorded each week. One-third of those were in the capital city, N’Djamena. At that time, 350 national and international Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) employees were managing 23 health care facilities in Massakory, Am Timan, Abou Deia, Bongor, Mandelia, Pala, Fianga, Lere, Laï and N’Djamena. “The 2011 peak was the continuation of the epidemic that broke out in the region in 2010,” says Michel-Olivier Lacharité, MSF program manager in Chad. “This explains its two very specific features: an early increase in the number of cases, well before the rainy season, and a significant geographic spread, with 37 of the country’s 61 districts affected.”

Photo: Chad 2011 © MSF

In 2011, Chad and other sub-Saharan African countries were affected by a large-scale cholera epidemic. By late November, more than 17,200 cases of cholera (the largest number since 1996) and 459 deaths had been recorded.

In August, during the height of the epidemic, up to 1,250 cases were recorded each week. One-third of those were in the capital city, N’Djamena. At that time, 350 national and international Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) employees were managing 23 health care facilities in Massakory, Am Timan, Abou Deia, Bongor, Mandelia, Pala, Fianga, Lere, Laï and N’Djamena. “The 2011 peak was the continuation of the epidemic that broke out in the region in 2010,” says Michel-Olivier Lacharité, MSF program manager in Chad. “This explains its two very specific features: an early increase in the number of cases, well before the rainy season, and a significant geographic spread, with 37 of the country’s 61 districts affected.”

Photo: Chad 2011 © MSF

Haiti: The Never-Ending Cholera Epidemic

Over the past year, cholera has affected nearly half a million people in Haiti. More than 6,300 people have died as a result of the disease and the epidemic continues. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to treat patients, raise health awareness, and train public health workers.

The disease is spreading like wildfire. All parties involved in health in the DRC must now make this epidemic a national priority.

Gaël Hankenne, MSF head of mission in the DRC where MSF is expanding its emergency response in three provinces: Tshikapa in Kasaï Occidental province, at Fizi in South-Kivu province, and at Kolwezi and Likasi in Katanga province. More than one million children will be protected with emergency vaccinations.

Full Press Release.

DRC: MSF Responding to Measles Epidemics

When a number of measles epidemics hit DRC at the same time, MSF began mass treatment and immunization programs in several parts of the country.