Médecins Sans Frontières
Every December, we look back not only to assess the past 12 months, but also to find reasons for hope heading into the new year. It's not always an easy task, especially when focusing on Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)'s work on the front lines of humanitarian crises around the globe.
The current global migration crisis has been exacerbated by governments shirking their obligations to protect people during their most vulnerable moments. States are increasingly disregarding their responsibilities to uphold the rights of migrants and refugees, and are failing to treat them with humanity and dignity.
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Despite there being no shortage of reasons for despair, we must start this new year with hope. There is no doubt that the situation in Syria is dire. But just as with Ebola, we can mitigate the dreadful human toll if we retain our instincts for empathy, and remain steadfast in our defence of fundamental humanitarian principles.
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Investigations are continuing into the bombing of the hospital on Saturday, which killed at least 19 people, including 12 MSF staffers.
People don't abandon their homes out of choice, and they are not unaware of the risks they will face along their journeys. It is out of desperation that they flee war and torture, misery, poverty and persecution. Doctors Without Borders delivers humanitarian medical care and sees first-hand the suffering and horrible conditions that drive people to risk their lives for the chance of a better future.
Thousands are dying at sea, in detention and on the way to what they hope are better lives. They deserve more than our empathy, understanding and compassion. They also deserve -- and need -- a helping hand.
I am in Sierra Leone to visit some of the Ebola treatment centres run by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in response to the West African epidemic that began just over one year ago. That the Prince of Wales centre in Freetown, and other Ebola centres are closing is a sign case numbers have plummeted from the historic highs seen in the outbreak.
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There is simply no compatibility between humanitarian action and the use of military force in combat. One has as its singular objective the alleviation of human suffering, regardless of the sufferer's identity or affiliation; the other, by definition, involves taking the side of one group against the other. That's also why it is very worrying to hear that humanitarian assistance is being used as strategic tactic in military action.
The number of major crises taking place around the globe this past year has been unparalleled in recent history. In fact, 2014 often seemed filled with intractable emergencies that were simply too big, too complex and too daunting to fathom, let alone solve. This felt particularly true when it came to humanitarian action.
MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country. In a United Nations base-turned-p...
MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country. Roughly 1,300 people are currentl...
Tents seem to sprout from flooded ditches that meander in serpentine fashion through the haphazard settlements. Even in daylight, wading through the camp is a challenge, with gumboots sinking constantly into a quicksand of sewage and muck. It is no wonder that at night many relieve themselves directly in the ditches rather than venture out.
The former residents of this place -- whether of Shilluk, Dinka or Nuer ethnicity -- all suffered at the hands of the fighters who have been waging an indiscriminate and vicious tug-of-war over Malakal. Those who are currently sheltered where aid has reached, in the POC sites and displacement camps, are the fortunate ones.
Overcrowded, disease-infested and sometimes flooded by sewage, the POC sites are failing to truly protect the civilians in their care. A true commitment to protection must include safeguarding vulnerable people against hunger, disease, sexual violence, unnecessary mental anguish and being forced back out into conflict zones merely to survive.
The actors who built South Sudan knew what they were creating: a country barely emerged from decades of devastating conflict, led by a generation with no access to education or any kind of functioning infrastructure; a completely impoverished petro-state, entirely dependent on oil resources but with no capacity to develop them on its own; and a nation deeply split by ethnic divisions.
To support children as they grow into adulthood, it's essential that we make lifesaving vaccines affordable for families in poor and middle-income countries the world over. Only then will the world's generosity truly be in line with its objectives.
With one-million people displaced -- a quarter of CAR's population -- the need for massive humanitarian assistance is obvious. Yet the response has been totally inadequate. While things appear bleak, there is still time. We can't lose hope and abandon the people of CAR, nor lose our empathy and desire to accompany both sides in their hour of need.
A squalid shanty town has sprung up in Central African Republic's capital, home to scared inhabitants seeking shelter and safety from the violence that has engulfed the city since December 2013. What is the cause of all this suffering? It's complicated. Much of the world has chosen to look the other way. There is little sign of other aid actors in CAR and the UN is perennially understaffed.
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Our organization works mainly in conflict-affected and unstable settings. Of these, we have chosen three to watch in 2014. In each country, governments are unable or unwilling to care for their populations, the ability of aid actors to respond has been curtailed, and populations are left to fend for themselves.
Imagine four-million people uprooted by war and struggling to survive. I came away in awe of the perseverance, dignity and fortitude of the Syrian people. They were also wondering why the international community for the most part seems to have abandoned them in their hour of need. It was a fairly straightforward question, the answer to which I am still struggling to find.
Adel was in Homs during the heavy shelling which obliterated the Syrian city's Baba Amr district. He had been studying English at the university and had stayed on to do his military service. Running out of options and funds, he then made his way to the border and crossed into Iraq, becoming a refugee. For the past eight months, Adel has been working tirelessly as an interpreter.
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As Lebanon is drawn into its neighbour's conflict, sectarian tensions mount and the cost of hosting more than 700,000 refugees takes its toll. The welcome mat so graciously rolled out by the Lebanese for Syrian refugees is now becoming frayed at the edges.
No sooner had Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded, swept across the Philippines than everyday acts of courage and humanity surged forth in response to its aftermath. With Typhoon Haiyan we have together risen to the occasion. But in Syria, we as an international community are failing the civilian population.
NAIROBI, Kenya - The aid group Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday it is pulling out Somalia after 22 years of work there because of attacks on its staff.Doctors Without Borders, also known by its...
I thought about the last few months. Fatigue, exhaustion, satisfaction, and relief. I felt happy just to have survived. It had been hard on my girlfriend Maeve and me -- but we grew stronger apart in some ways too. She was alone at home with her dog Daisy when I called from my tukul one night and asked her to marry me.
The dry hot season is going out and the cooler rainy season is coming in. Heavy showers have begun to fall and it is a relief for everyone. Starvation will hopefully ease. Yes, death is around us; but moreso, we are surrounded by life and survival. Day-in and day-out, this is the reality of our work here in eastern Chad.
Wednesday May 15 started early. I got up at 6 a.m. and took a cold refreshing shower. My mind was spinning with day ahead so I had not slept well. Before leaving, I scanned my email inbox to try to deal with a few urgent administrative and medical matters. Even at 7 a.m., the office was hot enough to make you sweat.
It is possible to think of Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) medical work like a scalpel, which we use during surgery. The sharp end is at the bedside with patients and families. It's the crucial end -- and nothing can replace it. But behind the blade is its attachment and then the handle from which to hold the blade. These parts are crucial too.
Ali is 36 years old and has been coughing for a long time. He has been coughing since at least 2006. I was called because it was suspected that Ali had multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Médecins Sans Frontières is working with the Chadian Ministry of Health to aid patients like Ali.
Part of the experience of working with Doctors Without Borders is not just work but also taking a break. The work in the project site is seven days a week most of the time, but then after two months or so, we get a break in the capital city. I can't quite say my RnR was what I had intended.
The desperate man asked me in French, "Doctor, what about my brother?" Somewhere, in one of the rooms full of bloodied bodies lying on the ground, was this man's brother. A mass casualty incident had hit Am Timan hospital in chad. This man was looking for his brother amongst the 50 or so victims.
The majority of our patients live. But sometimes they do not. Child survival in Chad is a day-to-day struggle. Many survive thanks to low-cost interventions like vaccination, proper nutrition, antibiotics, rehydration, blood transfusion and oxygen. Sadly, these interventions are available to too few.