Posts tagged humanitarian aid

Mothers as Primary Caregivers

We hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day this year! At MSF projects around the world, mothers are usually the primary caregivers, spending much of their time not only working and raising children, but looking after the health of their families. To all the mothers, you are an inspiration for our work

 Photo: Houmou Ag Amamili arrived in the Mbera camp on November 14, 2013. As of March 11 he still had not received a tent in which to live. Mauritania 2013 © Nyani Quarmyne
Conflict in Mali has driven nearly 70,000 refugees to Mbera camp in the Mauritanian desert, where appalling conditions and inadequate assistance are leading to severe malnutrition and deaths from preventable diseases.
"These statistics show that the refugees have grown weaker while in the camp, the very place where they should have been receiving assistance, including correctly formulated food rations from aid organizations," said Henry Gray, MSF emergency coordinator.

 Photo: Houmou Ag Amamili arrived in the Mbera camp on November 14, 2013. As of March 11 he still had not received a tent in which to live. Mauritania 2013 © Nyani Quarmyne

Conflict in Mali has driven nearly 70,000 refugees to Mbera camp in the Mauritanian desert, where appalling conditions and inadequate assistance are leading to severe malnutrition and deaths from preventable diseases.

"These statistics show that the refugees have grown weaker while in the camp, the very place where they should have been receiving assistance, including correctly formulated food rations from aid organizations," said Henry Gray, MSF emergency coordinator.

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.

ALERT | HOW MSF WORKSQuestions answered, explored, and raised
In this issue, MSF staff answer fundamental questions about our operations - from how we recruit staff, respond to emergencies and deliver supplies, to how we close projects and share our medical findings with the global health

ALERT | HOW MSF WORKS
Questions answered, explored, and raised

In this issue, MSF staff answer fundamental questions about our operations - from how we recruit staff, respond to emergencies and deliver supplies, to how we close projects and share our medical findings with the global health

Photo: A patient is carried to a ward by stretcher in Guri-el Hospital. Somalia 2011 © Peter Casaer/MSF
Humanitarian Aid Must Not Be Co-Opted Into Somalia Stabilization Program
Efforts underway at the United Nations to integrate humanitarian assistance into the international military campaign against opponents of Somalia’s government will further threaten the safe delivery of independent and impartial aid to Somalis struggling to survive ongoing war, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today. The United Nations Security Council is currently deliberating the future structure of the UN’s mission in Somalia. Under discussion is the possible inclusion of humanitarian assistance within the broader political and military agenda for Somalia. Such an approach, in a country where the ability to provide relief is already severely compromised, could generate distrust of aid groups. “As many Somalis continue to struggle to obtain the basic necessities for survival, such as food, health care, and protection from violence, humanitarian assistance must remain a priority and it must remain completely independent of any political agenda,” said Jerome Oberreit, MSF Secretary General. “The humanitarian aid system must not be co-opted as an implementing partner of counter-insurgency or stabilization efforts in Somalia.” Ensuring the safety of patients and medical staff remains a major challenge. Aid must therefore remain independent and impartial so that humanitarian organizations can try to negotiate access to populations in need with all parties to the conflict and mitigate security risks as much as possible. Attempts to further politicize humanitarian aid will put patients and aid workers in even greater danger, MSF said.

Photo: A patient is carried to a ward by stretcher in Guri-el Hospital. Somalia 2011 © Peter Casaer/MSF

Humanitarian Aid Must Not Be Co-Opted Into Somalia Stabilization Program

Efforts underway at the United Nations to integrate humanitarian assistance into the international military campaign against opponents of Somalia’s government will further threaten the safe delivery of independent and impartial aid to Somalis struggling to survive ongoing war, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today. The United Nations Security Council is currently deliberating the future structure of the UN’s mission in Somalia. Under discussion is the possible inclusion of humanitarian assistance within the broader political and military agenda for Somalia. Such an approach, in a country where the ability to provide relief is already severely compromised, could generate distrust of aid groups. “As many Somalis continue to struggle to obtain the basic necessities for survival, such as food, health care, and protection from violence, humanitarian assistance must remain a priority and it must remain completely independent of any political agenda,” said Jerome Oberreit, MSF Secretary General. “The humanitarian aid system must not be co-opted as an implementing partner of counter-insurgency or stabilization efforts in Somalia.” Ensuring the safety of patients and medical staff remains a major challenge. Aid must therefore remain independent and impartial so that humanitarian organizations can try to negotiate access to populations in need with all parties to the conflict and mitigate security risks as much as possible. Attempts to further politicize humanitarian aid will put patients and aid workers in even greater danger, MSF said.

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.”

Registration should not be a condition for receiving assistance in any emergency crisis. Yet access to humanitarian aid is seriously hampered by the difficulties many refugees encounter in registering on arrival in Lebanon. The roll out of aid must be accelerated and expanded.

Photos: Lebanon 2013 © Michael Goldfarb

A Deteriorating Humanitarian Situation for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

The MSF report, “Misery Beyond the War Zone,” shows that many of the 220,000 Syrians who have sought refuge in Lebanon cannot obtain the health care they need, among other worrisome findings. The survey, which follows a similar study carried out by MSF last June, reveals a marked deterioration of the humanitarian situation for refugees and other displaced people 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.

Mali: MSF Calls for Access to Konna
As bombings and combat continue in multiple locations in Mali, MSF calls on all parties to the conflict to authorize humanitarian organizations to enter the area of Konna and to allow aid to be provided in all areas affected by fighting.
MSF has been in contact with Mali’s civilian and military authorities since January 14, as well as with the French army and government, in an effort to obtain authorization to send medical teams to Konna. To date, access roads to this town in central Mali remain closed by the Malian army.
“Despite our repeated requests, the authorities continue to refuse to grant us access to the area of Konna,” said Malik Allaouna, MSF operations director. “It is critical that neutral, impartial medical and humanitarian aid be allowed into the areas affected by fighting. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect both the civilian populations and the work of humanitarian organizations.”

Mali: MSF Calls for Access to Konna

As bombings and combat continue in multiple locations in Mali, MSF calls on all parties to the conflict to authorize humanitarian organizations to enter the area of Konna and to allow aid to be provided in all areas affected by fighting.

MSF has been in contact with Mali’s civilian and military authorities since January 14, as well as with the French army and government, in an effort to obtain authorization to send medical teams to Konna. To date, access roads to this town in central Mali remain closed by the Malian army.

“Despite our repeated requests, the authorities continue to refuse to grant us access to the area of Konna,” said Malik Allaouna, MSF operations director. “It is critical that neutral, impartial medical and humanitarian aid be allowed into the areas affected by fighting. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect both the civilian populations and the work of humanitarian organizations.”

Photo: Residents of Gumuruk village in Jonglei State return to their homes after spending a month fleeing violence in the bush. South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF
South Sudan: Displacement and Destruction of Health Facilities in Jonglei State
Ongoing violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has had a devastating impact on tens of thousands of people, with many forcibly displaced and further cut off from health care due to the destruction of medical facilities.
While Jonglei state has a long history of intercommunal cattle-raiding, thousands of civilians, including women, and children as young as four months old, have been caught up in violent attacks since 2009, which usually occur during the dry season. A disarmament campaign begun in mid-2012 led to widespread insecurity and was accompanied by abuses against civilians. Further fighting in Jonglei between a militia group and South Sudan’s armed forces has compounded the violence, causing new displacements at the height of malaria season. Health care is threatened as medical facilities are targeted and destroyed.
“Patients arriving in MSF clinics seeking treatment for injuries describe how they have been forced to make devastating decisions about which children to flee with and which children to leave behind,” said Chris Lockyear, MSF operational manager. “What we are seeing is an emergency; the lives and health of Jonglei’s population are hanging by a thread. The dry season is now upon us, making movement around the area possible again, and we fear a further spike in violence, injury, and displacement.”

Photo: Residents of Gumuruk village in Jonglei State return to their homes after spending a month fleeing violence in the bush. South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF

South Sudan: Displacement and Destruction of Health Facilities in Jonglei State

Ongoing violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has had a devastating impact on tens of thousands of people, with many forcibly displaced and further cut off from health care due to the destruction of medical facilities.

While Jonglei state has a long history of intercommunal cattle-raiding, thousands of civilians, including women, and children as young as four months old, have been caught up in violent attacks since 2009, which usually occur during the dry season. A disarmament campaign begun in mid-2012 led to widespread insecurity and was accompanied by abuses against civilians. Further fighting in Jonglei between a militia group and South Sudan’s armed forces has compounded the violence, causing new displacements at the height of malaria season. Health care is threatened as medical facilities are targeted and destroyed.

“Patients arriving in MSF clinics seeking treatment for injuries describe how they have been forced to make devastating decisions about which children to flee with and which children to leave behind,” said Chris Lockyear, MSF operational manager. “What we are seeing is an emergency; the lives and health of Jonglei’s population are hanging by a thread. The dry season is now upon us, making movement around the area possible again, and we fear a further spike in violence, injury, and displacement.”

Ever wonder how doctors get involved with MSF? And what their experience is like working in the field? Take a look into one of our doctor’s journey, and see what called her into action.

MSF Field Report: Decreasing Child Mortality in South Sudan
"Can you go to South Sudan?"

This would be Dr. Lynn Jacoby’s third assignment with Doctors Without Borders. After hearing about the widespread malnutrition in the Batil Camp, she knew she had to help. With her specialty in pediatrics, Dr. Jacoby opened an inpatient therapeutic feeding center to help decrease child mortality. 

Stay tuned for more on Dr. Jacoby’s experience in South Sudan. Next, we will share about her “crazy first day.” 

Our work is based on the humanitarian principles of independence and impartiality. We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. As an organization, we are neutral; we do not take sides in armed conflicts, we provide care on the basis of need alone, and push for increased independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.

Our principles of action are described in our founding charter.

Our work is based on the humanitarian principles of independence and impartiality. We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. As an organization, we are neutral; we do not take sides in armed conflicts, we provide care on the basis of need alone, and push for increased independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.

Our principles of action are described in our founding charter.

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Living in Fear and Uncertainty


While Lebanon has absorbed tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria in recent months, many people are living in overcrowded conditions, suffering psychological distress, are fearful for their safety, and are unable to afford medical care, said the international medical humanitarian organization MSF in a report released today.

The MSF report, Fleeing the violence in Syria: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, details the living conditions and health of the refugees and the major challenges facing them, including access to housing, food, water, sanitation, health care, and security. Most refugees are settling in economically disadvantaged regions of Lebanon, placing an additional burden on already overstretched resources. Gaps are appearing in refugees’ access to medical care, particularly hospital care and treatment for chronic diseases.Photo: An MSF family doctor examines a young Syrian patient.
Lebanon 2012 © Nagham Awada/MSF

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Living in Fear and Uncertainty

While Lebanon has absorbed tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria in recent months, many people are living in overcrowded conditions, suffering psychological distress, are fearful for their safety, and are unable to afford medical care, said the international medical humanitarian organization MSF in a report released today.

The MSF report, Fleeing the violence in Syria: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, details the living conditions and health of the refugees and the major challenges facing them, including access to housing, food, water, sanitation, health care, and security. Most refugees are settling in economically disadvantaged regions of Lebanon, placing an additional burden on already overstretched resources. Gaps are appearing in refugees’ access to medical care, particularly hospital care and treatment for chronic diseases.

Photo: An MSF family doctor examines a young Syrian patient. Lebanon 2012 © Nagham Awada/MSF

India Issues First Compulsory LicenceGroundbreaking Move Sets Precedent for Overcoming Drug Price Barriers12 March 2012, New Delhi/Geneva – In a landmark case, the Indian Patent Office has issued the first-ever compulsory licence in India to a generic drug manufacturer. This effectively ends German pharmaceutical company Bayer’s monopoly in India on the drug sorafenib tosylate used to treat kidney and liver cancer. The Patent Office acted on the basis that not only had Bayer failed to price the drug at a level that made it accessible and affordable, it also was unable to ensure that the medicine was available in sufficient and sustainable quantities within India.New Delhi/Geneva, 5 September 2012 Bayer compulsory licence hearing has concluded and the judgment order will be issued in the coming weeks.Photo: India 2008 © Jean-Marc Giboux/Getty Images

India Issues First Compulsory Licence

Groundbreaking Move Sets Precedent for Overcoming Drug Price Barriers

12 March 2012, New Delhi/Geneva – In a landmark case, the Indian Patent Office has issued the first-ever compulsory licence in India to a generic drug manufacturer. This effectively ends German pharmaceutical company Bayer’s monopoly in India on the drug sorafenib tosylate used to treat kidney and liver cancer. The Patent Office acted on the basis that not only had Bayer failed to price the drug at a level that made it accessible and affordable, it also was unable to ensure that the medicine was available in sufficient and sustainable quantities within India.

New Delhi/Geneva, 5 September 2012 Bayer compulsory licence hearing has concluded and the judgment order will be issued in the coming weeks.

Photo: India 2008 © Jean-Marc Giboux/Getty Images

The support of our donors helps us deliver emergency medical care to people in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Here are some of the security protocols we have developed to protect our field workers in these contexts. All staff must return to the Doctors Without Borders base by dark.
Aid workers are most vulnerable in cars. They should reduce travel to avoid exposure to opportunistic attacks.
Activities at mobile clinics must stop two hours before teams are due back at base — even if there are still patients in line — to allow time for delays caused by troops on the road, flat tires, and other unforeseen circumstances.
Heads of mission must always be accessible to staff by phone to react to fast-changing field conditions.
Local leaders must be involved in all of our activities and recruiting procedures to ensure people have confidence in the care we provide their community.

The support of our donors helps us deliver emergency medical care to people in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Here are some of the security protocols we have developed to protect our field workers in these contexts.

  • All staff must return to the Doctors Without Borders base by dark.
  • Aid workers are most vulnerable in cars. They should reduce travel to avoid exposure to opportunistic attacks.
  • Activities at mobile clinics must stop two hours before teams are due back at base — even if there are still patients in line — to allow time for delays caused by troops on the road, flat tires, and other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Heads of mission must always be accessible to staff by phone to react to fast-changing field conditions.
  • Local leaders must be involved in all of our activities and recruiting procedures to ensure people have confidence in the care we provide their community.