MSF teams are running 13 medical-nutritional programs throughout south and central Somalia, but the intricacies of clan rivalries, the absence of an effective government, and general insecurity make it very difficult to reach the level of assistance that is needed.
Without proper treatment, half of the 370,000 children newly infected with HIV last year will die before they reach their second birthday. But very few medicines are designed and adapted specifically for children, and are affordable and practical to use in the places where they live. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) recently announced a new project to help develop appropriate HIV drugs for children.
A cholera epidemic is sweeping down the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Originating in the distant centre of the vast central African country it has now reached the capital, Kinshasa, more than 1,000 miles southwest. People are sick and dying and desperate for help. Robin Meldrum went to the town of Mbandaka, where an MSF emergency team is responding to the crisis.
In the world's newest country, three out of four people have no access to basic health care. Women and children bear the brunt of this neglect: many women do not survive pregnancy or childbirth, and children die from preventable diseases and malnutrition.
The effects of ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa region have intensified the situation in Somalia, already precarious due to 20 years of violent conflict: food prices have gone up, livestock are dying, and humanitarian aid in the country is scarce. MSF's Marere Hospital in southern Somalia is the only health facility in the area. A Somali medical worker from Marere described the current crisis.
Gunshot wounds and bomb blasts are not the only life-threatening consequences of war in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. Diseases and conditions such as diarrhea and respiratory tract infections can go untreated and become deadly. In MSF's new outpatient department in Boost Hospital, staff are able to focus on these cases and the challenges they bring.