Posts tagged health care

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"Most diplomatic discussion on Syria has focused on the recent chemical weapons attack … Meanwhile, the residents of this area continue to face daily bombings and a blockade that deprives them of the food and medicines that they need to survive. And humanitarian assistance is not even on the agenda of international negotiations." - MSF op-ed, published Sept. 17 http://bit.ly/19hy5yo

"Most diplomatic discussion on Syria has focused on the recent chemical weapons attack … Meanwhile, the residents of this area continue to face daily bombings and a blockade that deprives them of the food and medicines that they need to survive. And humanitarian assistance is not even on the agenda of international negotiations." - MSF op-ed, published Sept. 17 http://bit.ly/19hy5yo

Photo by Philippe Schneider
A nurse uses a doll to show where a patient was injured at the 9 Mile Clinic in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Doctors Without Borders treats survivors of sexual and domestic violence and trains local staff to provide integrated care. This is a simplified treatment protocol that includes: psychological first aid; prophylaxis for HIV and medicine for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); emergency contraception; and vaccination to prevent Hepatitis B and tetanus—all in one session. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6850&cat=field-news

Photo by Philippe Schneider

A nurse uses a doll to show where a patient was injured at the 9 Mile Clinic in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Doctors Without Borders treats survivors of sexual and domestic violence and trains local staff to provide integrated care. This is a simplified treatment protocol that includes: psychological first aid; prophylaxis for HIV and medicine for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); emergency contraception; and vaccination to prevent Hepatitis B and tetanus—all in one session. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6850&cat=field-news

Photo: An MSF staff member tends to a patient in northern Mali. Mali 2013 © Gonzalo Wancha/Filmalia.
Fear and Need Still Pervasive in Northern Mali
Despite some appearances of relative calm in Mali in recent weeks, the emergency is not yet over for the vast majority of the population in the country’s northern reaches. MSF has been supporting medical facilities in two of three regions in northern Mali since April 2012 to ensure access to free medical care for the vulnerable, but ongoing insecurity is still limiting the teams’ ability to carry out activities in rural areas. Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees continue to cross the border into Mauritania every day.
“Due to the insecurity,” says Rosa Crestani, MSF emergency program coordinator, “we cannot assess the needs of those living outside the urban areas in which we are working.” “We fear that some patients remain trapped at home,” she continues. “It is difficult for these people to access food, and the risk of malnutrition is significant. The people must not be the target of violence and must be able to safely access the vital medical and humanitarian aid they need.”

Photo: An MSF staff member tends to a patient in northern Mali. Mali 2013 © Gonzalo Wancha/Filmalia.

Fear and Need Still Pervasive in Northern Mali

Despite some appearances of relative calm in Mali in recent weeks, the emergency is not yet over for the vast majority of the population in the country’s northern reaches. MSF has been supporting medical facilities in two of three regions in northern Mali since April 2012 to ensure access to free medical care for the vulnerable, but ongoing insecurity is still limiting the teams’ ability to carry out activities in rural areas. Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees continue to cross the border into Mauritania every day.

“Due to the insecurity,” says Rosa Crestani, MSF emergency program coordinator, “we cannot assess the needs of those living outside the urban areas in which we are working.” “We fear that some patients remain trapped at home,” she continues. “It is difficult for these people to access food, and the risk of malnutrition is significant. The people must not be the target of violence and must be able to safely access the vital medical and humanitarian aid they need.”

After a while they started bombing the towns and villages. The army sent tanks to demolish my house. They broke down the walls and entered with the tanks through the columns. Nothing was left of our house. We fled to another village, but there we were caught by heavy shelling, so I took the children who were terrified of the bombs and brought them to Aarsal in Lebanon.

[In Syria] 400 bombs were falling per hour. We could not cope with the situation anymore, we have children. We had to sleep under trees, in a cave (grotto), in a valley to hide from the bombs. Finally we had no other choice than to flee to Lebanon to protect our children and our lives.

Testimony by a Syrian father of 8 children, who fled the conflict to seek refuge in  Lebanon. Trapped by war, they escaped and they survived—but their living conditions are poor and more healthcare is needed.
Medical aid is being targeted, hospitals destroyed, and medical personnel captured.

MSF President Dr. Marie-Pierre Allié on the humanitarian assistance deadlock in Syria.

According to the United Nations, 2.5 million Syrians have been displaced in the country, while 57 percent of hospitals have been damaged and 36 percent are non-functional. These statistics do not include private clinics or makeshift hospitals that are destroyed or damaged.

Photo: Flooded streets in Gaza Province. Mozambique 2013 © MSF 
MSF Expands emergency response for Mozambique flood victims
Recent floods devastated the city of Chokwe in Mozambique’s Gaza Province, putting the main hospitals and health structures out of action and leaving people in urgent need of medical care. In response, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is bringing in extra staff and medical supplies and working to get the health facilities up and running again.
The wards of the city’s 120-bed referral hospital in Chokwe—225 kilometers [about 140 miles] north of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo—were deluged with mud and floodwater. MSF teams are working to reopen a section of the hospital, and hope that 10 to 15 beds will be ready for patients soon.
“More and more people are coming back to a devastated city where public services have not yet been reestablished,” says MSF Country Director Reveka Papadopoulou. “Our teams have witnessed an increased number of severely ill patients who need hospital care.”
MSF staff has provided more than 10,000 medical consultations since arriving in Chokwe on January 30, 2013. “We are seeing an average of 700 patients per day, and sometimes more,” says MSF Nurse Amelia Macuacua. “We are referring 15 to 20 severely ill patients to other hospitals in the district [that] are functioning but are already overloaded.”

Photo: Flooded streets in Gaza Province. Mozambique 2013 © MSF 

MSF Expands emergency response for Mozambique flood victims

Recent floods devastated the city of Chokwe in Mozambique’s Gaza Province, putting the main hospitals and health structures out of action and leaving people in urgent need of medical care. In response, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is bringing in extra staff and medical supplies and working to get the health facilities up and running again.

The wards of the city’s 120-bed referral hospital in Chokwe—225 kilometers [about 140 miles] north of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo—were deluged with mud and floodwater. MSF teams are working to reopen a section of the hospital, and hope that 10 to 15 beds will be ready for patients soon.

“More and more people are coming back to a devastated city where public services have not yet been reestablished,” says MSF Country Director Reveka Papadopoulou. “Our teams have witnessed an increased number of severely ill patients who need hospital care.”

MSF staff has provided more than 10,000 medical consultations since arriving in Chokwe on January 30, 2013. “We are seeing an average of 700 patients per day, and sometimes more,” says MSF Nurse Amelia Macuacua. “We are referring 15 to 20 severely ill patients to other hospitals in the district [that] are functioning but are already overloaded.”

Photo: MSF doctor Thomas Mollet and MSF nurse Daddy Eale Lomyaka in Katanga. DRC 2013 © MSF
DRC: Lives at Risk as Fighting Continues in Katanga Province
Fighting in Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo has forced thousands of people to flee their homes and perilously reduced access to lifesaving medical services.
Amid fighting between government forces and Mai-Mai militias over recent weeks, about 500 displaced people sought refuge on the grounds of the MSF hospital in the town of Shamwana. Many others who fled farther away are cut off from essential health care due to fear of moving from the bush.
“People living here are terrified,” said Thomas Mollet, an MSF doctor in Shamwana. “We’re surrounded by empty villages and have seen a drop in patient numbers at the hospital. People have fled and don’t dare to seek medical treatment. They’re too scared.”
The fighting has also curtailed MSF outreach activities, and some Congolese nurses employed by MSF were forced to flee with the population into the bush. The MSF health centers in Monga and Kishale were looted, and solar panels were stripped from the roof. Attempts are being made to deliver medicines to remaining health posts in the area.
The people who sheltered at the MSF hospital have since moved a short distance away because of challenges maintaining hygiene within the hospital compound.

Photo: MSF doctor Thomas Mollet and MSF nurse Daddy Eale Lomyaka in Katanga. DRC 2013 © MSF

DRC: Lives at Risk as Fighting Continues in Katanga Province

Fighting in Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo has forced thousands of people to flee their homes and perilously reduced access to lifesaving medical services.

Amid fighting between government forces and Mai-Mai militias over recent weeks, about 500 displaced people sought refuge on the grounds of the MSF hospital in the town of Shamwana. Many others who fled farther away are cut off from essential health care due to fear of moving from the bush.

“People living here are terrified,” said Thomas Mollet, an MSF doctor in Shamwana. “We’re surrounded by empty villages and have seen a drop in patient numbers at the hospital. People have fled and don’t dare to seek medical treatment. They’re too scared.”

The fighting has also curtailed MSF outreach activities, and some Congolese nurses employed by MSF were forced to flee with the population into the bush. The MSF health centers in Monga and Kishale were looted, and solar panels were stripped from the roof. Attempts are being made to deliver medicines to remaining health posts in the area.

The people who sheltered at the MSF hospital have since moved a short distance away because of challenges maintaining hygiene within the hospital compound.

How Does it Feel to Lose a Patient?
Dr. Lucy Doyle has worked with MSF in DRC and the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya.
Most patients’ deaths are anticipated by their physician. The doctor may observe a constellation of findings leading to a particular lethal diagnosis, and the physician prepares the patient as well as him or herself for this impending loss. This is similar in the field and at home, though in the field it hurts more to watch someone die of something that might have been treated easily here in the US.

How Does it Feel to Lose a Patient?

Dr. Lucy Doyle has worked with MSF in DRC and the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya.

Most patients’ deaths are anticipated by their physician. The doctor may observe a constellation of findings leading to a particular lethal diagnosis, and the physician prepares the patient as well as him or herself for this impending loss. This is similar in the field and at home, though in the field it hurts more to watch someone die of something that might have been treated easily here in the US.

MSF in Mali: “We Will Not Abandon Our Patients Now”
In the town of Gao, in conflict-riven northern Mali, an average of 120 patients make their way to the MSF Wabaria and Sossokoira health centers each day. Even though the rainy season is over, 70 percent come with malaria, a potentially fatal parasitic disease that leaves sufferers exhausted from high fevers and uncontrollable shivers. Despite the war, it is malaria that the MSF medical teams in the region are battling most fiercely. It remains the leading cause of death in the country, and it is particularly dangerous for children under the age of five.
“Although there is a hospital and 10 health centers in and around Gao town, this is for a population of 400,000, and we realized that some people still had no access to medical care. Our patients tell us that all they hope for is peace. And we are with them; we stayed here throughout the air strikes, we will not abandon our patients now. We hope that the health system will develop and eventually replace us. But until then, we will stay and ensure that the people of Gao and Ansongo continue to have access to quality and free health care,” says Dr. Jose Bafoa, MSF’s medical team leader in Gao. 

MSF in Mali: “We Will Not Abandon Our Patients Now”

In the town of Gao, in conflict-riven northern Mali, an average of 120 patients make their way to the MSF Wabaria and Sossokoira health centers each day. Even though the rainy season is over, 70 percent come with malaria, a potentially fatal parasitic disease that leaves sufferers exhausted from high fevers and uncontrollable shivers. Despite the war, it is malaria that the MSF medical teams in the region are battling most fiercely. It remains the leading cause of death in the country, and it is particularly dangerous for children under the age of five.

“Although there is a hospital and 10 health centers in and around Gao town, this is for a population of 400,000, and we realized that some people still had no access to medical care. Our patients tell us that all they hope for is peace. And we are with them; we stayed here throughout the air strikes, we will not abandon our patients now. We hope that the health system will develop and eventually replace us. But until then, we will stay and ensure that the people of Gao and Ansongo continue to have access to quality and free health care,” says Dr. Jose Bafoa, MSF’s medical team leader in Gao. 

Photo: Displaced people bathe at a water pump in a camp outside Sittwe in Rakhine state. Myanmar 2013 © Kaung Htet
Myanmar: Violence and Intimidation Leave Tens of Thousands Without Medical Care
Eight months after deadly communal clashes broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, tens of thousands of people are still unable to access urgently needed medical care.
MSF calls on government authorities and community leaders to ensure that all people of Rakhine can live without fear of violence, abuse and harassment, and that humanitarian organizations can assist those most in need.
“It is among people living in makeshift camps in rice fields or other crowded strips of land that MSF is seeing the most acute medical needs,” said Arjan Hehenkamp, MSF general director. “Ongoing insecurity and repeated threats and intimidation by a small but vocal group within the Rakhine community have severely impacted on our ability to deliver lifesaving medical care.”

Photo: Displaced people bathe at a water pump in a camp outside Sittwe in Rakhine state. Myanmar 2013 © Kaung Htet

Myanmar: Violence and Intimidation Leave Tens of Thousands Without Medical Care

Eight months after deadly communal clashes broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, tens of thousands of people are still unable to access urgently needed medical care.

MSF calls on government authorities and community leaders to ensure that all people of Rakhine can live without fear of violence, abuse and harassment, and that humanitarian organizations can assist those most in need.

“It is among people living in makeshift camps in rice fields or other crowded strips of land that MSF is seeing the most acute medical needs,” said Arjan Hehenkamp, MSF general director. “Ongoing insecurity and repeated threats and intimidation by a small but vocal group within the Rakhine community have severely impacted on our ability to deliver lifesaving medical care.”

Photo: An elderly Syrian refugee suffering from Parkinson’s disease sleeps in a room in a ramshackle home on a cattle ground in Tripoli, Lebanon, surrounded by his daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Lebanon 2013 © Michael Goldfarb
Lebanon: Aid Lags Far Behind as Syrian Refugees Increase
Syrians who have fled violent conflict at home to seek safety in Lebanon do not receive anywhere near adequate levels of humanitarian assistance and are living in extremely precarious conditions, a detailed survey released today by MSF.
The MSF report, “Misery Beyond the War Zone,” shows that of the 220,000Syrians who have sought refuge so far in Lebanon, many cannot obtain necessary health care, among other worrying findings. The survey, which follows a similarstudy carried out by MSF six months ago, reveals a marked deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, in large part due to extremely lengthy registration delays. Refugees in Lebanon are not entitled to formal assistance if they are not registered. Lebanon is home to the largest number of Syrian refugees.

Photo: An elderly Syrian refugee suffering from Parkinson’s disease sleeps in a room in a ramshackle home on a cattle ground in Tripoli, Lebanon, surrounded by his daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Lebanon 2013 © Michael Goldfarb

Lebanon: Aid Lags Far Behind as Syrian Refugees Increase

Syrians who have fled violent conflict at home to seek safety in Lebanon do not receive anywhere near adequate levels of humanitarian assistance and are living in extremely precarious conditions, a detailed survey released today by MSF.

The MSF report, “Misery Beyond the War Zone,” shows that of the 220,000Syrians who have sought refuge so far in Lebanon, many cannot obtain necessary health care, among other worrying findings. The survey, which follows a similarstudy carried out by MSF six months ago, reveals a marked deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, in large part due to extremely lengthy registration delays. Refugees in Lebanon are not entitled to formal assistance if they are not registered. Lebanon is home to the largest number of Syrian refugees.

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.