Today, the southern region of Sudan is confronted by constant emergencies: malnutrition is chronic, violence continues to destroy lives and displace the population, and preventable diseases are relentless killers. More than 75 percent of the population has still no access to any form of basic healthcare. In addition to providing a range of medical services in 13 states of Sudan, at this moment MSF is battling to contain the biggest kala azar outbreak in eight years. And, as Sudan is heading towards a referendum on January 9th, MSF teams are preparing for any needs that might arise in addition to the ongoing medical challenges. If emergency needs soar, whether through violence, displacement or outbreak of diseases, MSF needs to be ready.
XDR-TB stands for extensive drug resistant tuberculosis. Drugs for TB have not been improved in four decades; they cause terrible side effects and require the patient to take numerous pills every day for between six months and three years. While one in five patients under treatment for moderately resistant strains of the disease do not survive, patients with extensively resistant cases, if they can get treatment at all, usually must rely on less effective and more toxic medicines, with lower success rates. For these reasons and others, Xoliswa Armans is a remarkable patient.
One of many so-called megacities growing at rapid speeds around the world, Lagos attracts a steady flow of people from rural areas of Nigeria and from other countries. MSF is offering free-of-charge medical services in three slum areas of Lagos, including Makoko, where teams are running a clinic on land and constructing a rather unique small clinic on water.
Just across the Somali border lies a complex of overcrowded refugee camps filled with shelters made of twigs, reeds, and whatever scraps inhabitants can find. Each month, about 5,000 new people arrive at the camps, and must carve out space outside the official boundaries. Without access to adequate shelter, food, clean water and sanitation, they are exposed and vulnerable.
Treating children with HIV goes beyond putting them on medication. Patient support specifically targeted to children helps motivate them to stick with their treatment regimen. But there has yet to be a scientific study to help determine the best practices for providing this support.
In Kenya, more than 22,000 children were infected with HIV in 2009. The district of Homa Bay, in rural western Kenya, has the country’s highest HIV prevalence rate. MSF is working to stop the spread of the disease in Homa Bay with its prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program.
Generic versions of antiretrovirals, or ARVs, that cost a fraction of the price of brand medicines make it possible for MSF to treat 160,000 people living with HIV around the world. Eighty percent of the ARVs we use come from India, and millions of others in developing countries depend on India-made generics as well. But the European Commission has begun directing its trade policies in a way that could stamp out the production of lifesaving generics in India. MSF has launched a global public campaign to tell Europe to back off, and to honor its commitments to global health.
In Papua New Guinea, nearly 70 percent of women say they've been physically abused by their husbands. When this kind of violence is so widespread, what kind of a difference can a small MSF project make?
The Bon Marche Hospital in Bunia was started by MSF in 2003 after years of conflict and instability had rendered the national health services almost non-existent. This year, MSF handed over medical activites back to the country's ministry of health.