We would like to highlight the humanitarian situation in this remote territory, and to see more aid organizations coming or returning as the needs are high and the situation is unlikely to calm down in the near future. Masisi territory has nearly as many people as the city of Goma and the humanitarian needs there are at least as significant. However, there are many fewer organizations working there. After the last few weeks’ fighting, the MSF teams find themselves alone. The violence in Masisi is receiving less media attention, but it is just as critical.
Sleeping on the ground in day-old, fishy, muddy, sweaty clothes isn’t my idea of a great night out, but still it gave me time and reason to reflect and understand the people I’m working with better. Not the staff, though yes them too somewhat, but the patients. The oldies that come with general body pains that we send away with no medication, telling them its normal to have body pains after working in the fields cultivating, carrying 20kg drums of water for miles on their heads, cutting and carrying wood for miles just in order to live.
Kate Chapman is a nurse working with MSF in Matter, Ethiopia. Kate and her team have an unexpected camping adventure and gain further understanding of how local people live when they get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
This is…what we’re here for: responding to the most urgent and immediate medical needs. It is incredible what we have been able to achieve, but it’s not enough. There is always something more that can be done, and we have to fight to make sure these people have what they need, not just to survive, but to give them dignity, give them quality of life, make sure that they can maintain the spirit that they have.
Helen Ottens-Patterson, from the United Kingdom, is a nurse and Doctors Without Borders medical coordinator in Upper Nile State’s Maban County, South Sudan.
It’s unjust that children are still dying of measles, but how do we vaccinate them when it’s impossible to reach certain areas? There are no easy answers, but I still find this appalling. The same for malnutrition. The soil is so fertile there that you can drop anything on the ground and it’ll grow. There shouldn’t be any malnutrition.
Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work MSF does to help people enduring daily violence.
At the end of 2011, MSF was the target of a violent attack in Masisi, North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This incident forced the organization to reduce its teams between that November and April of this year. Activities have resumed, but the security situation remains tense.
Read this interview with Anna Halford from her time working with MSF in DRC.