Posts tagged women's health

"The journey is stunning…with the rains come lush green countryside, spontaneous lakes and beautiful migrating birds. And a hair-raising ride in a narrow boat loaded with all our malaria drugs and kits. The road is somewhere under several feet of water." —An epidemiologist helps fight a dangerous and unexpected malaria outbreak in Chad.

"The journey is stunning…with the rains come lush green countryside, spontaneous lakes and beautiful migrating birds. And a hair-raising ride in a narrow boat loaded with all our malaria drugs and kits. The road is somewhere under several feet of water." —An epidemiologist helps fight a dangerous and unexpected malaria outbreak in Chad.

Photo by Anna Surinyach
An MSF midwife examines a patient. Most maternal deaths in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State are due to postpartum hemorrhages; women living in isolated rural communities are often unable to reach a health center when complications arise.  Read more

Photo by Anna Surinyach

An MSF midwife examines a patient. Most maternal deaths in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State are due to postpartum hemorrhages; women living in isolated rural communities are often unable to reach a health center when complications arise.  Read more

Photo by Marjie Middleton/MSF
"We’ve heard stories of women left to deliver on their own in a tent. Such stories are very upsetting to me as a midwife, because I know how dangerous it is and how awful it must be for a mother to give birth scared and alone.” - MSF midwife in Lebanon working with pregnant Syrian refugees  Read the story 

Photo by Marjie Middleton/MSF

"We’ve heard stories of women left to deliver on their own in a tent. Such stories are very upsetting to me as a midwife, because I know how dangerous it is and how awful it must be for a mother to give birth scared and alone.” - MSF midwife in Lebanon working with pregnant Syrian refugees  Read the story 

Ask MSF’s International President, Dr. Unni Karunakara, anything on @Reddit on Monday at 9am EDT @Reddit_AMA

Ask MSF’s International President, Dr. Unni Karunakara, anything on @Reddit on Monday at 9am EDT @Reddit_AMA

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

Iran: Helping Women Survive in One of Tehran’s Toughest Neighborhoods
Photo by Mohsen Sheikholesl
Doctors Without Borders has been providing medical assistance to drug addicts, prostitutes and street children in Tehran’s Darvazeh Ghar neighborhood. See more photos: http://bit.ly/130aNPH

Iran: Helping Women Survive in One of Tehran’s Toughest Neighborhoods

Photo by Mohsen Sheikholesl

Doctors Without Borders has been providing medical assistance to drug addicts, prostitutes and street children in Tehran’s Darvazeh Ghar neighborhood. See more photos: http://bit.ly/130aNPH

Photo by Peter Casaer
"Today I saw the worst case of breast cancer I have ever seen"
"Sometimes, the seeming futility of this job overwhelms me. We see so many diseases – both chronic and acute – that we are unable to do anything about. When I considered coming to Afghanistan, I felt I was prepared to see malnutrition, wounded patients, trauma, etc. I did not realize the amount of chronic diseases and other conditions that we would be helpless to treat. At home, this woman would have had a mammogram and ultrasound when she first noticed a lump in her breast. She would have received free health care that would have, in all likelihood, saved her life. We have no chemotherapy, radiation therapy, mammography, or indeed oncologists here in Helmand [Afghanistan]."
Read more at http://blogs.msf.org/afghanistan/2013/06/what-if/

Photo by Peter Casaer

"Today I saw the worst case of breast cancer I have ever seen"

"Sometimes, the seeming futility of this job overwhelms me. We see so many diseases – both chronic and acute – that we are unable to do anything about. When I considered coming to Afghanistan, I felt I was prepared to see malnutrition, wounded patients, trauma, etc. I did not realize the amount of chronic diseases and other conditions that we would be helpless to treat. At home, this woman would have had a mammogram and ultrasound when she first noticed a lump in her breast. She would have received free health care that would have, in all likelihood, saved her life. We have no chemotherapy, radiation therapy, mammography, or indeed oncologists here in Helmand [Afghanistan]."

Read more at http://blogs.msf.org/afghanistan/2013/06/what-if/

The Risks of Childbirth in Somalia

Doctor Hamida Shakib Mohamed just helped deliver a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kilograms [about 8 pounds]. It’s a good thing the mother made it to this health center; it was a difficult labor and she needed the assistance of a skilled birth attendant using a vacuum device to complete the delivery. She lives in a village about 110 kilometers [about 68 miles] north of here, but her father insisted she make the trip. He appreciates the MSF–supported services here after his wife was treated for post-partum hemorrhaging just a few months ago. “We give the right care," says Dr. Hamida, "so people come to us.”

Last December, MSF expanded its medical services in Galcayo North to include maternity and obstetric care. The number of deliveries has since boomed to about 200 per month, with many mothers coming from increasingly far away. Dr. Hamida is happy about that. She’s Somali, educated in Mogadishu in the 1980s, but holds a foreign passport and has lived abroad for most of the past two decades. “Now that my children are grown,” she says “I’m free and I want to give my energy to the Somali community.” She couldn’t be more needed.A baby rests in the inpatient post-natal department of MSF’s Galcayo South hospital.
Somalia 2011 © Siegfried Modola

The Risks of Childbirth in Somalia

Doctor Hamida Shakib Mohamed just helped deliver a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kilograms [about 8 pounds]. It’s a good thing the mother made it to this health center; it was a difficult labor and she needed the assistance of a skilled birth attendant using a vacuum device to complete the delivery. She lives in a village about 110 kilometers [about 68 miles] north of here, but her father insisted she make the trip. He appreciates the MSF–supported services here after his wife was treated for post-partum hemorrhaging just a few months ago. “We give the right care," says Dr. Hamida, "so people come to us.

Last December, MSF expanded its medical services in Galcayo North to include maternity and obstetric care. The number of deliveries has since boomed to about 200 per month, with many mothers coming from increasingly far away. Dr. Hamida is happy about that. She’s Somali, educated in Mogadishu in the 1980s, but holds a foreign passport and has lived abroad for most of the past two decades. “Now that my children are grown,” she says “I’m free and I want to give my energy to the Somali community.” She couldn’t be more needed.

A baby rests in the inpatient post-natal department of MSF’s Galcayo South hospital.
Somalia 2011 © Siegfried Modola

100,000 People Without Essential Health Care in North DarfurMSF Forced to Suspend Lifesaving Medical Activities After Restrictions Imposed on Its Work

As a result of increasing restrictions imposed by Sudanese authorities, MSF has been forced to suspend most of its medical activities in the Jebel Si region of North Darfur State in Sudan.

Increasing obstacles over the past year led to the suspension of MSF’s activities. No shipments of drugs or medical supplies have been authorized since September 2011, and MSF has encountered growing difficulties obtaining work and travel permits for its staff. Transport options to and from Jebel Si have also been drastically reduced. MSF has been the sole health provider in the region.

“With the reduction of our activities in Jebel Si, more than 100,000 people in the region are left entirely without health care,” said Alberto Cristina, MSF operational manager for Sudan. “If we are not allowed to deliver medicines and supplies to our hospital and health posts soon, disease outbreaks are likely to occur, and maternal and prenatal deaths are likely to increase and may even reach emergency levels.”Photo: Mothers and children at an MSF facility in Jebel Si, where obstacles threaten MSF’s continued operation
Sudan 2012 © MSF

100,000 People Without Essential Health Care in North Darfur

MSF Forced to Suspend Lifesaving Medical Activities After Restrictions Imposed on Its Work

As a result of increasing restrictions imposed by Sudanese authorities, MSF has been forced to suspend most of its medical activities in the Jebel Si region of North Darfur State in Sudan.

Increasing obstacles over the past year led to the suspension of MSF’s activities. No shipments of drugs or medical supplies have been authorized since September 2011, and MSF has encountered growing difficulties obtaining work and travel permits for its staff. Transport options to and from Jebel Si have also been drastically reduced. MSF has been the sole health provider in the region.

“With the reduction of our activities in Jebel Si, more than 100,000 people in the region are left entirely without health care,” said Alberto Cristina, MSF operational manager for Sudan. “If we are not allowed to deliver medicines and supplies to our hospital and health posts soon, disease outbreaks are likely to occur, and maternal and prenatal deaths are likely to increase and may even reach emergency levels.”

Photo: Mothers and children at an MSF facility in Jebel Si, where obstacles threaten MSF’s continued operation

Sudan 2012 © MSF

By Foot, Bike, Car, or Canoe: Patient and Staff Stories of Malaria in DRC


“My name is Zamukunda. I tested positive for malaria at the health center. This morning I delivered my first child, a boy who weighed 1.6 kg [3.5 pounds]. My labor began very late last night, which was a surprise because I was still far from my delivery date. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, which made me worry, so I left the house with my mother and we walked for two hours to reach this health center.

My baby was born at two in the morning. He was not breathing very well and I was continuing to bleed so MSF decided to transfer us in their car from Kashuga to the main hospital in Mweso. We picked up another woman and her child who was very sick with malaria. The trip took only an hour since there has not been much rain. Now I am in the intensive care unit at the hospital with my baby, who is on oxygen. So far we are doing okay.”

Zamukunda’s son was born at seven months. She did not know how malaria would affect her pregnancy or her baby. The high fevers caused by the disease can provoke contractions and lead to premature delivery. Zamukunda and her son are receiving treatment at MSF’s Mweso hospital.Photo: DRC 2012 © Sandra Smiley
Patients receiving malaria treatment in an MSF-supported hospital in Katanga province.

By Foot, Bike, Car, or Canoe: Patient and Staff Stories of Malaria in DRC

“My name is Zamukunda. I tested positive for malaria at the health center. This morning I delivered my first child, a boy who weighed 1.6 kg [3.5 pounds]. My labor began very late last night, which was a surprise because I was still far from my delivery date. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, which made me worry, so I left the house with my mother and we walked for two hours to reach this health center.

My baby was born at two in the morning. He was not breathing very well and I was continuing to bleed so MSF decided to transfer us in their car from Kashuga to the main hospital in Mweso. We picked up another woman and her child who was very sick with malaria. The trip took only an hour since there has not been much rain. Now I am in the intensive care unit at the hospital with my baby, who is on oxygen. So far we are doing okay.

Zamukunda’s son was born at seven months. She did not know how malaria would affect her pregnancy or her baby. The high fevers caused by the disease can provoke contractions and lead to premature delivery. Zamukunda and her son are receiving treatment at MSF’s Mweso hospital.

Photo: DRC 2012 © Sandra Smiley Patients receiving malaria treatment in an MSF-supported hospital in Katanga province.

It is only in this moment that I start to process the injustice of this. She is 18 years old. She was having her first baby. That is what is killing her.
Veronica Ades, an obstetrician-gynecologist on her first MSF mission in Aweil, South Sudan.

Read more from her blog post.
My perspective definitely changed. This program has absolutely had a positive impact in Nigeria. In 2011, we performed more surgeries than any other fistula hospital in the country, and we had many women leaving our hospital dry, or at least able to live some semblance of a normal life.
Kate Pittel
A Nurse with MSF speaking about her time in Nigeria

Read the full article from the Oakland Press here.
Iraq: Working to Reduce Neonatal Mortality in Najaf


Shinjiro Murata, a MSF field coordinator from Japan, worked with MSF in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, where his main focus was setting up a new project focused on improving perinatal and obstetric care in one of the largest referral hospitals in the region. Here, he talks about his experience:

“I arrived in Najaf more than a year ago, in October 2010, to start an MSF project in the Al Zahara District Hospital. Najaf is located 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Baghdad and is one of the holiest cities for Shia Muslims. It was not an easy task, and surely a challenging experience to be working in such a different country. My previous experience with MSF was in Africa, so when I started working in Najaf I realized that I would need to see things from a different perspective and adapt to the reality of a country that used to have a very well organized health system but, due to decades of conflict and international sanctions, has seen a rampant deterioration in health care provision.

MSF decided to start a medical program to support the main Ministry of Health referral hospital, the Al Zahara District Hospital, for obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics in Najaf city. The hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the region, with a 340-bed capacity, and it deals with approximately 1,950 deliveries per month. These account for almost 50 percent of the deliveries carried out in the whole Najaf Governorate, which has a total population of 1.2 million people. It is most of the time overcrowded with patients and the quality of medical services provided is sometimes not adequate.

After more than one year in Najaf I have seen that medical needs in the country are still very high. Until peace is restored in Iraq, MSF needs to continue supporting these pregnant women and newborn children. MSF is one of the few international medical humanitarian organizations working inside Iraq thanks to its independent, neutral, and impartial nature.Iraq 2011 © MSF
Two newborn babies in Al Zahara District Hospital, where MSF has been working since 2010

Iraq: Working to Reduce Neonatal Mortality in Najaf

Shinjiro Murata, a MSF field coordinator from Japan, worked with MSF in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, where his main focus was setting up a new project focused on improving perinatal and obstetric care in one of the largest referral hospitals in the region. Here, he talks about his experience:

“I arrived in Najaf more than a year ago, in October 2010, to start an MSF project in the Al Zahara District Hospital. Najaf is located 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Baghdad and is one of the holiest cities for Shia Muslims. It was not an easy task, and surely a challenging experience to be working in such a different country. My previous experience with MSF was in Africa, so when I started working in Najaf I realized that I would need to see things from a different perspective and adapt to the reality of a country that used to have a very well organized health system but, due to decades of conflict and international sanctions, has seen a rampant deterioration in health care provision.

MSF decided to start a medical program to support the main Ministry of Health referral hospital, the Al Zahara District Hospital, for obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics in Najaf city. The hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the region, with a 340-bed capacity, and it deals with approximately 1,950 deliveries per month. These account for almost 50 percent of the deliveries carried out in the whole Najaf Governorate, which has a total population of 1.2 million people. It is most of the time overcrowded with patients and the quality of medical services provided is sometimes not adequate.

After more than one year in Najaf I have seen that medical needs in the country are still very high. Until peace is restored in Iraq, MSF needs to continue supporting these pregnant women and newborn children. MSF is one of the few international medical humanitarian organizations working inside Iraq thanks to its independent, neutral, and impartial nature.

Iraq 2011 © MSF
Two newborn babies in Al Zahara District Hospital, where MSF has been working since 2010

Maternal Health: An Ongoing Emergency

MSF is providing maternal and emergency obstetric care in more than 30 countries worldwide, but in places where woman cannot access care, some 1,000 die every day due to complications in pregnancy and delivery.

Afghanistan: MSF Opens Maternity Hospital in Khost

The international medical humanitarian organization MSF has opened a new maternity hospital in eastern Khost Province in Afghanistan, which will provide pregnant women in the region with desperately needed high-quality health care.

Decades of conflict have left Afghanistan with maternal and child mortality rates among the highest in the world. Most women, especially in rural areas, must resort to giving birth without skilled assistance and in unhealthy conditions, which puts their own lives and those of their children at significant risk.

Khost is one of Afghanistan’s most volatile provinces, where national and international military forces have engaged in intense fighting with armed opposition groups in recent years. The conflict has affected the ability of women to access adequate maternal health care.Photo: Afghanistan 2011 © Peter Casaer
A child with diarrhea in the pediatric department at Boost Hospital in Helmand Province, where MSF has been working since 2009.

Afghanistan: MSF Opens Maternity Hospital in Khost

The international medical humanitarian organization MSF has opened a new maternity hospital in eastern Khost Province in Afghanistan, which will provide pregnant women in the region with desperately needed high-quality health care.

Decades of conflict have left Afghanistan with maternal and child mortality rates among the highest in the world. Most women, especially in rural areas, must resort to giving birth without skilled assistance and in unhealthy conditions, which puts their own lives and those of their children at significant risk.

Khost is one of Afghanistan’s most volatile provinces, where national and international military forces have engaged in intense fighting with armed opposition groups in recent years. The conflict has affected the ability of women to access adequate maternal health care.

Photo: Afghanistan 2011 © Peter Casaer
A child with diarrhea in the pediatric department at Boost Hospital in Helmand Province, where MSF has been working since 2009.