Regardless of the parties or individuals responsible for the recent escalation of attacks against health workers in Pakistan, both patients and medical workers risk losing their lives while seeking or providing health care
A monsoon in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province caused an increase in the number of people diagnosed with acute watery diarrhea, a condition caused by unclean drinking water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene conditions.
On May 26, a suicide bomber killed 36 people and wounded approximately 60 more near a police station in northwestern Pakistan’s Hangu district, just a few blocks from the hospital where MSF’s team lives and works.
To highlight the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in urban settings the world over, MSF presents "Urban Survivors," a multimedia project produced in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions.
Following a bomb blast today at a funeral in the Jandol area of Lower Dir in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, dozens of severely injured people have been treated by MSF teams and medical staff in the Timergara District Hospital emergency room.
Last year, a host of newspaper articles, blogs, and TV reports questioned the efficacy of the international aid system, particularly with regard to its role in the crises in Haiti and Pakistan. At Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), we welcome this debate. Some of the criticisms leveled are valid, some are not. But it’s a conversation that should be had.
In many hard-hit areas, MSF was the first international emergency organization to respond to the devastating floods that swept through Pakistan in late July 2010. Six months later, many of MSF's activities there have evolved.
At first, the flooding that began this past July in Pakistan was said to have affected tens of thousands of people in the northeast. Then the water began to spread south and west and the numbers grew. Hundreds of thousands were impacted, it was reported, then one million, then five million, then ten. Eventually, the number of people whose lives were uprooted reached an astonishing 20 million in all four of Pakistan’s provinces—Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh—as well as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Kashmir.
Medicins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, is an organization that sends medical professionals into war and disaster zones to provide victims with medical attention. Currently, the group has a major operation underway in Pakistan, where thousands of people have been displaced by devastating floods.
Barely hidden beneath the surface of Pakistan's worst flooding in living memory were the geopolitical stakes shaping both the justifications for official Western assistance and how aid was delivered to victims of the disaster. The perverse result may be a further restricting of the ability of humanitarian aid workers to assist the Pakistani population in the most volatile areas of the country.
Muzaffargarh, Pakistan — Sughra Ramzan knew something was wrong when strange pains began ripping through her stomach for the second time. The pregnant mother feared her baby was in trouble — but there was nothing she could do… Like Ramzan, tens of thousands of expectant moms were marooned by floods that have swallowed an area of Pakistan larger than Florida. Some 18 million people have been affected, 70 percent of them women and children, in the country's worst natural disaster.
More than 500,000 people have arrived in Sukkur. Reportedly, one out of every three people there is a newcomer seeking dry shelter anywhere; empty school buildings, streets, and even old railway lines are full of people who need food, medicine, and safe, clean water.
“We’d heard that there were a group of people around Khabula who were stuck and isolated. . . It took us more than two days to find them, driving around in 4x4 trucks, because the flooding has made it so difficult to get around."
The lack of resources to cope with the disaster is worrying aid organizations. The humanitarian agency Médecins San Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement that it was assessing health service needs in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan Provinces.
In three days, 2,100 children were vaccinated by three teams located in different areas around Munda camp. The vaccines and cold chain were provided by the Department of Health, and MSF teams conducted the vaccination.
Islamabad, December 10, 2009 - The massive influx of an estimated 300,000 people who fled fighting in South Waziristan is straining the capacity of hospitals in the Dera Ismael Khan district to meet the needs of displaced and resident populations. Despite the assistance provided by authorities, acute medical needs are not being met in D.I. Khan hospitals.
In Lower Dir district in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province several waves of displaced people have sought refuge since conflict erupted between armed opposition groups and the Pakistani army in August 2008.
Kuchlak is a city of 120,000 people located a 30-minutes drive from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province. Situated on the border with Afghanistan, the town has become a permanent home to Afghan refugees who fled to Pakistan during the civil war in the 1980s and later conflicts. In this remote area where health services are almost unreachable, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has been providing medical care in a maternal health and a rural health center since 2006.
In Pakistan, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing medical assistance to a vulnerable population suffering the effects of political instability, poor access to adequate health care, and natural disasters. Having been present in the country since 1988, today MSF largely focus its activities in the northwest of the country where armed conflict is raging on both sides of the border and millions of displaced remain in need of medical care.
Internally displaced people (IDP) camps set up by the government and the military are mostly empty, as the overwhelming majority of the displaced are either staying with friends or relatives or in public buildings such as schools. Many people are still too afraid to return to their homes.
As displaced people return home to the Swat Valley and Buner district in northern Pakistan, MSF is stepping up its support to local health care providers in Mardan and Lower Dir districts in response to a sharp increase in cases of acute diarrhea.
Pakistan’s Mardan District, in North West Frontier Province, is trying to cope with an influx of more than one million people fleeing war in the region. MSF has increased the number of hospital wards in the Mardan Medical Complex and is supporting the nearby Takht Bhai Rural Health Center to help treat the growing number of patients.
Coming mainly from neighboring Swat, but also from the Maidan area in Lower Dir, more than 150 war-wounded have been treated since the end of April. At the same time, families from Maidan have been arriving in the two camps for displaced people where MSF is working.
The volatile situation in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) continues to force more and more civilians to flee their homes. A total of 27 camps in six different districts have been set up to give temporary shelter, but many people remain trapped in the conflict areas, due to insecurity and strict curfews, prevented from gaining access to food, water and emergency medical care.
Islamabad/Brussels/New York, May 7, 2009 – The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has had to halt its emergency medical services in the Swat region of Pakistan and reduce activities in other areas affected by the current warfare. The organization was the only one supporting the hospital in Mingora and providing ambulance services in Swat. The reduction of MSF’s activities is a result of the general insecurity, in addition to a number of direct incidents against MSF itself.
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.
On Sunday, February 1, MSF medical technicians, 24-year-old Riaz Ahmad and 27-year-old Nasar Ali, were shot and killed as they traveled in a clearly marked ambulance on their way to pick up civilians injured in fighting in the town of Charbagh, in Swat district, in the Northwestern region of Pakistan.
Riaz Ahmad (24) and Nasar Ali (27) had left Mingora, the main town in Swat valley, in two ambulances to collect people injured during fighting in nearby Charbagh and bring them to the hospital for treatment. At around 3 pm local time their ambulances, clearly identified as medical vehicles, came under fire inside Charbagh and both were killed. A third volunteer worker for MSF was injured in the leg. The drivers escaped without injury.
The fighting between government forces and anti-government militants in the North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan has intensified throughout 2008. Air strikes by United States military in the area have also increased insecurity. In August, thousands of Pakistanis were displaced within the country or fled to neighboring Afghanistan for safety. At the same time, the Pakistani army also began expelling Afghan refugees, specifically in Bajaur Agency, for alleged connections to militant groups.
Massive forced civilian displacements, violence, and unmet medical needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, and Pakistan, along with neglected medical emergencies in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, are some of the worst humanitarian and medical emergencies in the world, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported today in its annual list of the “Top Ten” humanitarian crises.
On Wednesday, October 29, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team reached Ziarat, in the Balochistan region of Pakistan, the area most severely affected by an earthquake. MSF immediately set up a 24-hour clinic to treat wounded—mainly cuts and bruises. The team dispatched blankets, cooking sets, jerry cans, tents and body bags from emergency supply stocks in Islamabad. A large aftershock occurred Wednesday evening, when many people were attending funerals to bury their dead.
In August, 200,000 people fled fighting in the tribal area of Bajaur Agency, in the northwestern region of the country. Fabien Schneider, head of mission for Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Pakistan, describes the situation.
Early this morning, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières sent a team directly from the village Quetta to Ziarat in Balochistan, southwestern Pakistan, where reports are that this is the worst hit area. The region was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale.
When the violence started on December 23 in Kurram Agency, North West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) assessed the situation and began responding to the needs of the population. This is the second time within a year that sectarian clashes have resulted in prolonged insecurity and casualties.
Since December 23, a sectarian clash has been underway in Kurram Agency, North West Frontier Province, Pakistan. Mortars have exploded within the vicinity of Alizai and Sadda hospitals, where the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides assistance.
Since mid-July, cholera has emerged in various areas in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Though the number of patients with cholera is decreasing in some areas, in other areas the number of infections is rising.
MSF medical teams have carried out more than 116,000 medical and mental health consultations since the earthquake that struck Pakistani- and Indian-administered Kashmir on October 8, 2005. In the aftermath, surgical teams performed more than 4,000 major and minor surgeries and provided physiotherapy for nearly 10,000 injured people.
Courtland Lewis, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from the University of Connecticut, spent three weeks in Mansehra, Pakistan, where he worked in the MSF field hospital, which is composed of nine inflatable tents.
After several weeks of dry weather, the start of severe winter weather brought sleet and icy rain to Muzaffarabad, Bagh, and Mansehra districts and up to five feet of snow at higher altitudes. Many roads were blocked by landslides and snow. In some places, road access will be difficult or impossible in the coming weeks and months.
Head of Mission Nick Lawson arrived two days after the devastating October 8 earthquake and supervised the set-up of MSF's medical and relief aid programs in the Northwest Frontier Province. With winter arriving, he offered an update on the situation people face and their need for continued assistance.
More than 120 international staff, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, social workers, logisticians, water and sanitation experts, together with over 350 local staff, are involved with MSF's earthquake relief operations in Pakistan. The organization has already delivered more than 1,155 tons of relief goods to Pakistan.
More than 120 international staff, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, social workers, logisticians, water and sanitation experts, together with over 350 local staff, are involved with MSF's earthquake relief operations in Pakistan.
Dr. Mercedes Tatay is the Emergency Programs Manager for MSF in Paris. She speaks about the magnitude of the devastation caused by the October 8 earthquake, describes the affected population's extreme vulnerability, and shares her concerns about a second wave of mortality.
Allison Male is a 36-year-old British psychologist. She arrived in Pakistani-administered Kashmir just days after the October 8 earthquake struck and her task is to provide psychosocial support to survivors of the disaster. She has also worked with MSF in Liberia and Burundi. This story is from her diary.
Temperatures are dropping and the first snowfalls have been recorded in mountain villages of the region affected by the earthquake. Therefore, the most urgent issue is still to provide shelter to thousands of homeless in remote villages before winter strikes.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams are treating hundreds of severely wounded people each day in 16 hard-hit locations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the country's North-West Frontier Province, and making all efforts to reach more remote villages every day.
Less than a week after the Asian earthquake of October 8, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began to offer psychosocial care to traumatized survivors in northern Pakistan, the area worst hit by the disaster. Marise Denault, an MSF social worker and mental health specialist, explains the situation.
On October 10, two days after the earthquake that struck Kashmir, Dr. Jean-Francois Corty left for the devastated region to join a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) exploratory mission to assess the MSF relief effort.
"From their eyes, you can see how disturbed the children are," says Silke Krmer, a surgeon with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, one week after the earthquake. The German surgeon has been providing emergency aid here for four days now and has been distressed by the number of wounded children.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is increasing its aid operations to remote villages that have been cut off by landslides and buckled roads in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and the country's North Western Frontier Province. MSF is currently assisting thousands of people in 16 locations in Pakistan.
MSF medical teams are operating in both the Pakistani- and Indian-administered areas of Kashmir to assist victims of last Saturday's earthquake. Almost 80 international aid workers are working alongside dozens of national staff to provide medical assistance, mental health counseling, and relief and medical supplies to some of the hardest-hit areas.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams are operating in both the Pakistani- and Indian-administered areas of Kashmir to assist victims of last Saturday's earthquake. Almost 80 international aid workers will be working alongside dozens of national staff to provide medical assistance, mental health counseling, and relief and medical supplies to some of the hardest-hit areas.
"Immediately after the earthquake our team in India-controlled Kashmir set off to try and reach the most severely affected regions," says Hans van de Weerd, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) country coordinator in New Delhi, India. Both the Indian and the Pakistani regions of Kashmir were affected by last Saturday's earthquake. MSF is running a psychosocial program in the Indian region of Kashmir.
Four days after the South Asian earthquake struck on October 8, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) nurse Chrissie McVeigh flew by helicopter from Islamabad to the village of Lamnian in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. She describes her work in the area, which has been almost completely destroyed.
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.