Posts tagged testimony

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.
On the day of the attack, many people were killed and others were wounded. They set tukuls (huts) on fire and threw children in the fire. I collected the children to run away but, because I am old, I cannot run fast and they killed the children that were with me. I was running with three children; two were killed and one was wounded. As the attackers came, they hit me with the end of the Kalashnikov and stabbed me in the head and they tried to kill the children. If the child can run, they will shoot them with the gun; if they are small and cannot run, they will kill them with a knife. The baby that survived was beaten to the head. They picked her up and threw her on her head, so she has head trauma. She is better now.

55-year-old female patient from Wek (Uror county), treated in Nasir (Upper Nile state), March 2012

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.  A new MSF report contains harrowing accounts of civilians caught up in attacks on villages.

I have two children. When the attack happened, I ran away with my little boy, who is four years old, to bring him somewhere safe. I wanted to come back for my little girl, but there was no time. I had to leave her behind. It was only when I came back that we found my little girl. They kicked the child on her head and stabbed her head. She is two years old.

24-year-old mother of a two-year-old patient with head injuries, from Wek (Uror county), treated in Nasir (Upper Nile state), February 2012

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.  A new MSF report contains harrowing accounts of civilians caught up in attacks on villages.

Photo: David Enabukonjo, DRC 2012 © Juan Carlos Tomasi

Surviving a Bullet Wound

David Enabukonjo uses a crutch to climb to the top of a hill in Bisisi, in eastern Congo. From here he can look out over a lush green landscape of forests and villages that belies its recent history of pain and war. Clashes between armed groups and attacks against villages in the area have caused large numbers of people to leave their homes. 

Some have sought refuge in the town of Bisisi, David among them. Dressed in a grey checked shirt and blue jeans, the 33-year-old picks his way around the tents sheltering displaced people in the town. We talk to him in a nearby abandoned church. He tells us that he was in Cibinda, not far from Bisisi, when an armed group attacked the town on January 2, 2012.

“They arrived and they started burning houses, killing people, and raping women in front of their children,” says David. He tried to run away but was shot in the thigh. “After that, my family tried to find me, but at the beginning they couldn’t because I was hiding in the forest for a couple of days.”

David could finally travel to Bisisi in search of safety. David’s bullet wound was serious, and he was taken for treatment to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). When his wound had healed sufficiently, he returned to Bisisi, a remote town reached by poor roads.

MSF is supporting a health center in Bisisi to help alleviate the suffering of people like David, stranded here by war and waiting for a time when they can either go back to their villages or find a new home.

Doctors Without Borders has expanded its emergency medical programs in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in response to increasing humanitarian needs in the region.

Photo: David Enabukonjo, DRC 2012 © Juan Carlos Tomasi

Surviving a Bullet Wound

David Enabukonjo uses a crutch to climb to the top of a hill in Bisisi, in eastern Congo. From here he can look out over a lush green landscape of forests and villages that belies its recent history of pain and war. Clashes between armed groups and attacks against villages in the area have caused large numbers of people to leave their homes.

Some have sought refuge in the town of Bisisi, David among them. Dressed in a grey checked shirt and blue jeans, the 33-year-old picks his way around the tents sheltering displaced people in the town. We talk to him in a nearby abandoned church. He tells us that he was in Cibinda, not far from Bisisi, when an armed group attacked the town on January 2, 2012.

“They arrived and they started burning houses, killing people, and raping women in front of their children,” says David. He tried to run away but was shot in the thigh. “After that, my family tried to find me, but at the beginning they couldn’t because I was hiding in the forest for a couple of days.”

David could finally travel to Bisisi in search of safety. David’s bullet wound was serious, and he was taken for treatment to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). When his wound had healed sufficiently, he returned to Bisisi, a remote town reached by poor roads.

MSF is supporting a health center in Bisisi to help alleviate the suffering of people like David, stranded here by war and waiting for a time when they can either go back to their villages or find a new home.

Doctors Without Borders has expanded its emergency medical programs in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in response to increasing humanitarian needs in the region.

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.

Click here to read the rest of Kate’s blog.

Click here to learn more about Doctors Without Borders projects in Ethiopia.

Some came from far away, having traveled up to 150 kilometers [about 93 miles] to reach us. A good number arrived long after the initial injury had occurred rather than in the acute or semi-acute phase, [with] some arriving simply too late to be saved. Among them were patients who had not been able to have any post-operative care after their surgery, patients who received inadequate care and others who hadn’t received any medical care at all.
Kelly Dilworth, an MSF anesthetist who has worked for MSF for nine years, spent one month on mission in Syria. She recalls the pain of the wounded people she was treating and the severity of their injuries in a context where it’s difficult to get appropriate care in time.
"I’m Going to Tell The Whole World": An HIV "Expert Patient," In Her Own Words


In 2001, I tested positive for HIV. At that time, I was 25 years old and in a terrible state. I had lost a lot of weight, I was vomiting, had cold and hot rashes and was saying weird things. My whole body was covered with sores and I was confined to a wheelchair. Literally, I was more dead than alive.
In 2004, I started volunteering for an organization that helped people living with HIV/AIDS in Nhlangano, the capital of Shiselweni region. They asked me to share my experiences, and I told people about antiretroviral treatment and what it had done for me.

When I started seeing MSF cars in Nhlangano in 2009, I became curious and asked around. Someone told me what MSF was doing, and immediately I wrote my application letter and was hired as an “expert patient.” My role is to do pre and post-test counseling and to be there for the patients when they need support.

I really like the work with the patients. I know I give them hope by telling my story. Today I am fine. I have a healthy four-year-old boy who is HIV negative. Before I had him, five children I brought to this world had died, each after six months. My older son is 17, and he is well, too. I know what the patients are going through, and telling them my story and how important it is to stick to the treatment encourages them. The other day a young girl even told me I was her role model. That made me very happy.Photo: Thembi (right) with her two sons
Swaziland 2012 © Irene Jancsy/MSF

"I’m Going to Tell The Whole World": An HIV "Expert Patient," In Her Own Words

In 2001, I tested positive for HIV. At that time, I was 25 years old and in a terrible state. I had lost a lot of weight, I was vomiting, had cold and hot rashes and was saying weird things. My whole body was covered with sores and I was confined to a wheelchair. Literally, I was more dead than alive.

In 2004, I started volunteering for an organization that helped people living with HIV/AIDS in Nhlangano, the capital of Shiselweni region. They asked me to share my experiences, and I told people about antiretroviral treatment and what it had done for me.

When I started seeing MSF cars in Nhlangano in 2009, I became curious and asked around. Someone told me what MSF was doing, and immediately I wrote my application letter and was hired as an “expert patient.” My role is to do pre and post-test counseling and to be there for the patients when they need support.

I really like the work with the patients. I know I give them hope by telling my story. Today I am fine. I have a healthy four-year-old boy who is HIV negative. Before I had him, five children I brought to this world had died, each after six months. My older son is 17, and he is well, too. I know what the patients are going through, and telling them my story and how important it is to stick to the treatment encourages them. The other day a young girl even told me I was her role model. That made me very happy.

Photo: Thembi (right) with her two sons
Swaziland 2012 © Irene Jancsy/MSF

Dattchina’s Story: The Only Free Burn Unit In Haiti

A mother brings her young daughter to the only free burn care unit in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which is run by MSF. Many people displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti are still living in tent settlements, while others have rudimentary housing with no facilities or services. It presents the perfects conditions for fires and domestic burn accidents - the victims of which are most often children.

Walking For Days To Escape Violence: One Refugee’s Crossing Into South Sudan

Amal is 28 years old and a mother of three. She and around 35,000 other refugees escaped violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile State by crossing the border into South Sudan in May and June. On June 12, Amal was brought to a MSF mobile clinic at a refugee transit site called ‘Kilometer 18’ in Upper Nile State. She was thin, weak and coughing, and she could barely walk. Amal was immediately examined, an IV drip was inserted into her arm, and she was transferred to MSF’s hospital in the Jamam refugee camp. MSF health staff suspect that she has tuberculosis and will start her on TB treatment soon. Amal weighs just 32 kilograms, or 80 pounds, and she is too weak to speak, so her cousin Hassan told her story on her behalf.

Doctor Erna Rijnierse talks to us from a new MSF transit camp clinic in Upper Nile State, South Sudan, where MSF is doing everything it can to identify and treat the sickest refugees before they are taken to a new camp in Batil.

Learn more about the situation in South Sudan.

Video shot June 28, 2012
© Corinne Baker/MSF

Fighting Neglect: Sleeping Sickness

Sleeping Sickness is a fatal and much neglected disease that plagues parts of Africa.

Learn more about sleeping sickness and other neglected diseases.

Fighting Neglect: Kala azar

Kala Azar is a neglected tropical disease responsible for 50,000 deaths every year.Kala azar is a disease that, if left untreated, is 100 percent fatal. To break the vicious cycle that leaves tropical diseases like Kala azar neglected, existing programs that diagnose and treat patients need to be expanded and medical research to develop simpler, more effective tools needs to be supported.

Learn more about Kala Azar and other neglected diseases.

Today we found a little girl that was still alive - just. She was so tiny and seemed to be in pain with every touch. We needed to get her to the MSF hospital. It was so upsetting to have to move her when it was the last thing she wanted…
Ruby Siddiqui is an epidemiologist with MSF.

She describes, with tenderness, working in the refugee crisis in South Sudan in her latest blog post.
People are arriving in such an emaciated state that our medical staff are struggling to revive them. They have gone too long without food and water. My role as an epidemiologist is to get a handle on how big the emergency is. We measure this through the mortality rate…
Ruby Siddiqui is an epidemiologist currently working on the refugee crisis in South Sudan.

Refugees Dying from Lack of Water in South Sudan

Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing fighting in Sudan are facing a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with people dying from a lack of water, adequate medical care, and shelter as they seek refuge in already-overcrowded camps in South Sudan. MSF Medical Team Leader Dr. Erna Rijnierse described the situation in Maban on June 14.