Posts tagged prevention

Photo: Vaccines in Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden/VII
Fatal NeglectVaccines: A Preventable Fate
Twenty percent of all the babies born in the world each year—the equivalent of nearly five times the children born yearly in the United States—are not getting the basic vaccines they need to be protected from killer diseases, such as measles.
And that’s why Venetia Dearden traveled to West African nation of Mali with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to see firsthand the importance of vaccines to families and the lengths to which they must go to get them. When MSF teams stage vaccination campaigns in the West African nation of Mali, mothers will come from hours away, sometimes days away.
In the best-case scenario, MSF and other agencies would bring the vaccines to them, wherever they lived, in whatever conditions. But this isn’t possible at present, because many of the vaccines available today are not tailored for the difficult environments in which they must be used. To give but one example: establishing and sustaining cold chain is very difficult in places where electricity is hard to come by, to say nothing of ice. That’s why MSF has been advocating for a global approach to vaccine development and dissemination that takes into account the conditions in the countries where these vaccines are most needed to half preventable deaths, as well as the particular strains of diseases found in various locations.

Photo: Vaccines in Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden/VII

Fatal Neglect
Vaccines: A Preventable Fate

Twenty percent of all the babies born in the world each year—the equivalent of nearly five times the children born yearly in the United States—are not getting the basic vaccines they need to be protected from killer diseases, such as measles.

And that’s why Venetia Dearden traveled to West African nation of Mali with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to see firsthand the importance of vaccines to families and the lengths to which they must go to get them. When MSF teams stage vaccination campaigns in the West African nation of Mali, mothers will come from hours away, sometimes days away.

In the best-case scenario, MSF and other agencies would bring the vaccines to them, wherever they lived, in whatever conditions. But this isn’t possible at present, because many of the vaccines available today are not tailored for the difficult environments in which they must be used. To give but one example: establishing and sustaining cold chain is very difficult in places where electricity is hard to come by, to say nothing of ice. That’s why MSF has been advocating for a global approach to vaccine development and dissemination that takes into account the conditions in the countries where these vaccines are most needed to half preventable deaths, as well as the particular strains of diseases found in various locations.

There’s no reason children should still be dying of vaccine-preventable diseases. The global vaccines community could be doing a lot better to make sure all babies in developing countries are fully vaccinated against killer diseases. We need vaccines that are easier to use in hard-to-reach places.
Photo: The emergency department of the District Headquarters Hospital in Timergara. Pakistan 2012 © P.K. Lee/MSF 
MSF Works to Stop Spread of Post-Monsoon Ailments in Pakistan
A monsoon in Pakistan caused an increase in waterborne disease cases due to unclean drinking water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene conditions. We’ve set up temporary centers and 2,840 patients have received treatment since July.
“Although acute watery diarrhea is an easily treatable disease,” says MSF medical coordinator Dr. Jacob Maikere, “it can spread quickly, so prevention is as important as treatment. Access to improved sanitation facilities and clean water are vital [in order] to mitigate the spread of waterborne diseases like this.”

Photo: The emergency department of the District Headquarters Hospital in Timergara. Pakistan 2012 © P.K. Lee/MSF

MSF Works to Stop Spread of Post-Monsoon Ailments in Pakistan

A monsoon in Pakistan caused an increase in waterborne disease cases due to unclean drinking water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene conditions. We’ve set up temporary centers and 2,840 patients have received treatment since July.

“Although acute watery diarrhea is an easily treatable disease,” says MSF medical coordinator Dr. Jacob Maikere, “it can spread quickly, so prevention is as important as treatment. Access to improved sanitation facilities and clean water are vital [in order] to mitigate the spread of waterborne diseases like this.”


Photo: A health worker administers preventive malaria treatment to a child in Koutiala. Mali 2012 © Estrella Lasry

Novel Program Shows Strong Promise in Malaria Prevention

A large-scale malaria prevention program, consisting of intermittent distributions of anti-malaria medicines, appears to be drastically reducing the number of new cases of the disease among young children during peak transmission season, according to preliminary results from our projects in Chad and Mali.

Photo: A health worker administers preventive malaria treatment to a child in Koutiala. Mali 2012 © Estrella Lasry

Novel Program Shows Strong Promise in Malaria Prevention

A large-scale malaria prevention program, consisting of intermittent distributions of anti-malaria medicines, appears to be drastically reducing the number of new cases of the disease among young children during peak transmission season, according to preliminary results from our projects in Chad and Mali.

US and EU Derailing Ten-year Process to Create Health Research & Development Convention

The US and European Union delegations to the World Health Assembly are currently blocking efforts to move towards a binding convention on health R&D aimed at filling critical medical gaps for people in developing countries. MSF urged the US and European governments, who are leading the developed country effort, to stop obstructing a process that has been 10 years in the making and has broad support from developing countries.

MSF called on developing countries to continue efforts to progress towards a convention. Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.Photo:The new MenAfriVac vaccine.
2012 © MSF

US and EU Derailing Ten-year Process to Create Health Research & Development Convention

The US and European Union delegations to the World Health Assembly are currently blocking efforts to move towards a binding convention on health R&D aimed at filling critical medical gaps for people in developing countries. MSF urged the US and European governments, who are leading the developed country effort, to stop obstructing a process that has been 10 years in the making and has broad support from developing countries.

MSF called on developing countries to continue efforts to progress towards a convention. Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.

Photo:The new MenAfriVac vaccine. 2012 © MSF

Chad: “Prevention is the Important Issue”In December 2011, Doctors Without Borders nurse Marja Scholten coordinated a vaccination campaign in the African country of Chad. Along with a team of 300 people, she ensured that nearly 110,000 people were vaccinated against meningitis.


Meningitis, which causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain, is responsible for many deaths every year. The disease is particularly prevalent in the so-called “meningitis belt,” an area in sub-Saharan Africa that includes Chad. This year we were working with the new vaccine MenAfriVac, which provides protection for far longer than other vaccines: ten years as opposed to the two or three years offered by other vaccines.This was the first time we were involved in a preventative campaign—normally we start to vaccinate once a disease has already broken out, but with meningitis A prevention is the important issue. Training was planned involving all the heads of the health centers in the area.Photo: Chad 2012 © Marja Scholten
An MSF staff member uses the new MenAfriVac vaccine to vaccinate a young girl against mengingitis A.

Chad: “Prevention is the Important Issue”

In December 2011, Doctors Without Borders nurse Marja Scholten coordinated a vaccination campaign in the African country of Chad. Along with a team of 300 people, she ensured that nearly 110,000 people were vaccinated against meningitis.

Meningitis, which causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain, is responsible for many deaths every year. The disease is particularly prevalent in the so-called “meningitis belt,” an area in sub-Saharan Africa that includes Chad. This year we were working with the new vaccine MenAfriVac, which provides protection for far longer than other vaccines: ten years as opposed to the two or three years offered by other vaccines.

This was the first time we were involved in a preventative campaign—normally we start to vaccinate once a disease has already broken out, but with meningitis A prevention is the important issue. Training was planned involving all the heads of the health centers in the area.

Photo: Chad 2012 © Marja Scholten
An MSF staff member uses the new MenAfriVac vaccine to vaccinate a young girl against mengingitis A.

Cambodia: MSF Steps Up TB Detection and Prevention

At its project in Kampong Cham MSF has introduced measures to improve the detection rates of TB. Teams have also increased communication with the population in order to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around the disease.