January 02, 2012

The Year in Pictures highlights contexts that figured prominently in MSF's work and advocacy in 2011.

We bring you some of the most striking photos from some of the most urgent crises Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) responded to in 2011.

Unnatural Disaster in the Horn of Africa

Somalia © Lynsey Addario/VII

This mother and child—and this part of Mogadishu—show the toll of the overlapping political, security, and public health crises in Somalia, which have put an immense burden on women and children. Years marked by conflict, drought, and a profound lack of governance culminated in a massive humanitarian crisis in the second half of 2011, to which MSF responded by expanding its programs in Somalia and for the huge numbers of Somali refugees who sought aid in Kenya and Ethiopia.


Somalia © Sven Torfinn

Inside a feeding center in Galcayo, MSF staff insert an IV for a severely malnourished child.


Kenya © Brendan Bannon

Abdi Fatah Aden’s arm was broken by a bullet before his family left Somalia and reached the Dadaab refugee camps.


Kenya © Brendan Bannon

Somali refugees wait at the registration center in Dadaab, a series of camps that were originally built for 90,000 people but now house well over 400,000 and struggled last summer to find room for new arrivals.


Somalia © Sven Torfinn

Women walk down a street in Galcayo, Somalia, a hotly contested town where MSF runs two hospitals that provide the only health care within hundreds of kilometers.


Somalia © Yann Libessart/MSF

As Somalis thronged the capital seeking assistance, numerous displacement camps like this one sprung up, and MSF began programs focused on nutrition and hygiene and mounted measles vaccination campaigns when and where possible.


Living with Conflict

Libya © Tristan Pfund/MSF

During a very brief lull in fighting in Misrata, Libya, MSF landed a boat at the city’s port and evacuated 99 war-wounded patients to facilities in Tunisia where they could be treated.

MSF ran programs in conflict-affected areas of Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Libya, and other nations in 2011, tending to the war-wounded, the displaced, the chronically ill, and people denied access to health care with services ranging from surgery to water and sanitation to mental health care.


Libya © Eymeric Laurent-Gascoin/MSF

Two surgeons care for a child with burn injuries at Qasr Ahmed Hospital in Misrata.


Italy © Mattia Insolera

An MSF staff member tends to a woman who’d been in Libya as a migrant worker then fled to Italy when the war broke out, eventually landing on the island of Lampedusa.


Liberia © Gaël Turine

Men assist a girl disembarking at a transit camp in Liberia for people from the Ivory Coast who fled post-election violence in their homeland and sought sanctuary across the border, where MSF worked to provide medical care.


Ivory Coast © Peter DiCampo/ Pulitzer Center

A father and his children try to sleep in the observation room at MSF’s dispensary in the Duékoué IDP camp, in the western Ivory Coast, last April, where MSF worked among a population that was nearing 30,000 at the time.


Afghanistan © Peter Casaer

Women and children wait outside the new outpatient service facility at Boost Hospital, in Lashkargah, the capital of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, where MSF has been working since late 2009.


Afghanistan © Peter Casaer

A boy who’d been injured in a road accident is treated at Boost Hospital. MSF also supports a hospital in east Kabul and recently opened a trauma center in Kunduz Province.


South Sudan: A New Nation is Born

South Sudan © Q. Sakamaki/Redux

A 20-year-old woman who’d lived in the north but returned to the south ahead of independence cares for her malnourished baby at Aweil Hospital in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

MSF treated hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan, which officially became the world’s newest nation in July. But the hopes of its people were tempered by poverty, displacement, and vast medical needs, all of which are exacerbated by widespread insecurity on both sides of the border with Sudan.


South Sudan © Kate Geragthy

An MSF doctor examines a patient during a consultation at MSF’s hospital in Agok, in the disputed border region of Abyei.


South Sudan © Q. Sakamaki

Two of the numerous returnees from Khartoum sit near where they are camping along the Nile River in Juba, the new country’s capital city, last June.


South Sudan © Kate Geragthy

A mother holds her twin babies in Naakiri village in Western Equatoria State, not long after their father was killed in an attack by the Lord’s Resistance Army.


Democratic Republic of Congo: A Continuing Crisis

DRC © Yasuyoshi Chiba

A boy sits in a wheel-chair outside the lab at North Kivu Province’s Masisi hospital, which MSF supports, along with a reference health center in Nyabiondo village. MSF also runs an ambulance service and conducts mobile clinics in the area.

Some of MSF’s largest programs of the past decade are found in DRC, which continues to struggle with a host of conflict-related crises that make survival a daily challenge in several parts of the country, and where more than 2,700 MSF staff members work in nearly every province to provide desperately needed care.


DRC © Yasuyoshi Chiba

A young mother who was rushed to Masisi hospital because of obstructed labor is tended to by MSF staff.


DRC © Ben Milpas

An MSF outreach nurse tends to a baby in the cholera treatment unit in Bweru, North Kivu Province.


DRC © Robin Meldrum/MSF

A girl working in Mbandaka, along the banks of the Congo River, listens to an MSF staff member make an announcement about cholera prevention measures during a severe outbreak of the disease.


Tending to Disease, Injury, and the Aftermath of Natural Disasters

Haiti © Jean Marc Giboux

A child suffering from cholera receives treatment at an MSF cholera unit in Port-au-Prince. Outbreaks persisted in 2011, signaling the ongoing toll of the 2010 earthquake.

In 2011, MSF responded to outbreaks of disease and provided care in the aftermath of natural disasters while also tending to the chronically ill and those suffering from neglected diseases and conditions in places where they would otherwise not receive care.


Japan © Eddy McCall/MSF

Though Japan’s health system handled most medical needs after the March earthquake and tsunami, MSF provided various non-medical items in affected remote areas immediately after the disaster and addressed medical and psychological gaps during the recovery period.


Nigeria © Penny Bradfield

Patients in MSF’s fistula ward in Jahun General Hospital in Nigeria. Fistulas are caused by untreated obstructed labor and cause profound physical suffering and social isolation.


DRC © Ben Milpas

MSF staff tend to a two-year-old malaria patient at Doruma Hospital in DRC.


Pakistan © P.K. Lee/MSF

Following floods that displaced a great many people in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, MSF ran mobile clinics to provide care in affected areas.


Chad © Fred Chandezon/MSF

Children play at the site of a measles vaccination campaign where MSF immunized hundreds of thousands of children during an outbreak.


Speaking Out

India © Rico Gustva/APN+

Demonstrators in Delhi, India, protest against proposed provisions for a free-trade agreement between India and the EU that would limit access to lifesaving generic medicines in the developing world.

MSF spoke out for neglected patients in 2011 by waging campaigns for better practices around childhood malnutrition, for greater access to medicines for those who need them most, for the medical needs that exist in ever-expanding slums, and more.


Pakistan © Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR

In a photo from MSF and the NOOR photo agency’s “Urban Survivors” campaign, a girl empties rubbish into a polluted creek in Karachi’s Machar Colony, which has no safe water sources or medical facilities for an estimated 700,000 residents.


© Stop AIDS Campaign

In April 2011, MSF spoke out against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s refusal to add three HIV drugs to the Medicines Patent Pool, a mechanism designed to lower prices of HIV medications and increase access in the developing world.



An MSF staff member speaks to visitors at a “Starved for Attention” exhibit in New York City. “Starved for Attention” is a multimedia campaign presented by MSF and VII Photo to expose the neglected and largely invisible crisis of childhood malnutrition.

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