Operational research from MSF projects in Burundi and Sierra Leone indicate that it is possible to achieve a rapid and substantial decrease in maternal deaths of up to 74 percent by providing access to emergency obstetric care.
Despite the ostensible cessation of the fighting that wracked Ivory Coast earlier this year, violence against civilians has continued in some rural regions, particularly in the southwest. In mid-September, for instance, up to 16 people were killed and 50 homes were burned in an attack on the town of Zriglo.
Throughout the summer, waves of Somalis set out on desperate, arduous journeys, braving desert heat, hunger, and bandits to seek relief from a catastrophe remarkable even by the standards of this long-troubled country.
Hannah Megacz, a New York City-based nurse, has worked with MSF in Cameroon, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and, for much of 2010, in Dadaab, Kenya, in the Dagahaley Refugee Camp, the largest of three refugee camps set up in the 1990s for refugees fleeing war in Somalia. Originally established to accommodate 90,000 individuals, the camps are currently struggling to support 300,000 refugees. More than 100,000 now live in Dagahaley alone, in fact. The needs are significant and the resources far too few, especially as it pertains to food, water, sanitation, and shelter. MSF has spoken out about the need to provide more care for these refugees, something that seems ever more urgent as the numbers look likely to continue increasing.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a resource-rich land that won independence from its southern neighbor, Australia, in 1975 but has lagged in terms of development. The population is made up of several hundred ethnic groups that speak different dialects. Poverty is widespread, and PNG has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific region. It has also long been plagued by high rates of crime and extremely high rates of domestic violence and violence against women. Seventy percent of women in PNG say they’ve been physically abused by their husbands, according to the PNG Law Reform Commission, and in some parts of the country that number reaches 100 percent.
This past January, the people of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence, and in July the world will see the birth of a new country. It will be a country that faces enormous challenges—not least the urgent medical and humanitarian needs of millions of people.
Even a quick glance at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins San Frontières (MSF) updates from Somalia over the past two years shows that the country’s conflict remains as relentless as ever. February 25, 2009: “121 wounded in 24 hours”; June 2, 2009: “218 treated over two weeks”; January 20, 2010: “111 wounded in 3-day period”: February 3, 2010: 89 treated, including 66 women and children, in Mogadishu.
"I developed eclampsia the day before I delivered and I realize that's serious," said Crisla Florestal, 19, who was readmitted a day after giving birth at the MSF hospital Isaïe Jeanty, in Port-au-Prince.
Drops of sweat run down her neck, but her eyes are lit up. Mary Nicizanye is recovering at the MSF center in Kabezi just south of the capital, Bujumbura. Four days ago she gave birth to a little girl here.
In December 2008, 20 Somali students overcame huge odds and graduated from medical school in Mogadishu—the first batch to do so for almost two decades in the failed Horn of Africa state. Dr. Hafsa Abdurrahman Mohamed, 26, was one of those receiving a diploma from the capital’s Benadir University. This is her story.
As intense violence once again rocks Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continue working throughout the country to provide lifesaving medical care.
In Balochistan, Pakistan's largest and least developed province, most people have very limited access to health care. MSF supports a mother-and-child health care program in Kuchlak, a remote settlement outside the regional capital Quetta made up mostly of Afghan refugees. Here, the all-female staff in the delivery unit offer free and much needed obstetric services.
"Condoms are the key to safe sex. They not only prevent HIV but many sexually transmitted infections. And they prevent unwanted pregnancies. Sexual intercourse is a reality of the human condition. Promoting only abstinence to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a naïve and unrealistic approach. A more attainable goal is to ensure that people behave in a safe way."
Southern Sudan is a region synonymous with war, famine and displacement of people. Its people have been shattered by more than 20 years of conflict. Four years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the war between the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, southern Sudan’s population still faces ongoing violence, disease outbreaks, starvation, and virtually non-existent access to health care in many areas. These people’s struggles and triumphs are never clearer than in the stories of their women.
Through this report, MSF shares its experience in providing medical care, counseling and other forms of support to thousands of victims of sexual violence in many countries around the world. The report is partly born out of outrage about the inexcusable acts that these people have been subjected to and the damage inflicted upon their lives. It demonstrates why it is imperative to make immediate care available, and truly accessible, for those who have been sexually assaulted. MSF hopes that this report will inform and inspire health officials, aid workers, and others who should be involved in providing such support.
Located on one of the busiest street corners of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the 75-bed Jude Anne Hospital has been operating well beyond its capacity since Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened the facilities in March of 2006.
In 2007 a group of 11 women suffering from vesico-vaginal (VVF) fistulas approached MSF nurse Esther Moring and her medical team in eastern Chad, asking for treatment. In order to help those women and countless others with fistulas in eastern Chad, Moring and an MSF team initiated a pilot fistula surgery program. Here, Moring describes what fistulas are and why starting this project was so important.
The women of Haiti suffer from the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western hemisphere. Approximately 523 women die for every 100,000 who give birth. (In United States, 12 women die during the same number of births). To help prevent these deaths, MSF has started providing free, emergency care to women with high-risk pregnancies in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Doctors Without Borders is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (C) (3) tax-exempt organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Doctors Without Borders Federal Identification Number (EIN) is 13-3433452.