MSF is responding to the intensifying post-election violence. Insecurity due to the fighting and international sanctions on Ivory Coast have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and severely hindered access to essential services—including health care.
Cambodia has one of the highest tuberculosis burdens in the world, according to the WHO. TB and its drug-resistant forms can be extremely difficult to diagnose and treat, especially in resource-poor countries, where the disease takes advantage of immune systems weaken by malnutrition and HIV, and people have limited access to health care. MSF has been working to improve TB diagnosis, treatment, and training in the southeastern city of Kampong Cham.
Obstetric fistulas, most often the result of prolonged obstructed labor, is an opening that occurs between the bladder and the vagina, or between the rectum and the vagina and causes a woman to become incontinent, among other devastating medical and social consequences. According to the UN, an estimated two million women live with fistulas today—about half of them in Nigeria.
The most widely used method to test patients for TB fails to identify the disease in about half of the cases. But a long-awaited new test is raising hopes that we will be able to identify TB more effectively, get patients on treatment faster, and help reign in this deadly epidemic.
Kala azar—or visceral leishmaniasis—is a treatable but largely neglected disease. Southern Sudan is currently facing a massive kala azar epidemic. This is a region where three-quarters of the population has no access to basic medical care, and the health system is unable to deal with an emergency on this scale.
MSF works in the inner-city slums of Johannesburg, the destination point for many survival migrants seeking opportunity, transit, or simply to hide among Joburg's millions of inhabitants. But finding safe shelter here is extremely challenging.
On the night of January 1, a large number of women were brutally raped by groups of armed, uniformed men in Fizi, a town in South Kivu Province, eastern DRC. By January 3, an MSF mobile team had provided medical care to 33 victims. But the area has become so tense, the team has not been able to return to Fizi since.
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.