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.
Elizabeth Ramlow, a midwife from Massachusetts, was seven months into a nine-month assignment with MSF in Luwingu, Zambia, when visa problems cut her time there short. Rather than returning home, however, she went to work in South Sudan’s Doro refugee camp in Maban, where an MSF emergency team had set up a clinic to care for tens of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict just over the border in Sudan.
The World Health Organization recently issued new guidelines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The recommendations include getting more women on treatment sooner and staying on it for life. The guidelines have the support of the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF.
Doctors and other hospital staff in Libya are highly dedicated, but there is a lack of inpatient capacity in all areas of care. MSF is helping to fill the gaps in surgery, obstetrics, and neonatal care.
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.
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.
Intense fighting among various armed groups claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and displaced thousands more in Somalia in the first half of 2009. The town of Jamaame, in a remote area of southern Somalia’s Lower Juba region, is one area where MSF has been able to provide ongoing medical services.
MSF Nurse Colette Kerr describes her experience in Busia, a rural district in western Kenya, where MSF runs an HIV/AIDS project. Kerr oversaw the prevention of mother-to-child transmission program for pregnant women and new mothers.
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.
For the past nine months, Lisa Errol, a midwife from New Zealand, has been treating pregnant women at the MSF clinic in a camp for internally displaced people in the Liberian town of Salala in Bong county.
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.