MSF-USA's quarterly newsletter features reports direct from the field and stories that chronicle our medical and advocacy work.

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Alert Winter 2016 | Vol. 17 No. 4

December 01, 2016

Between March 2014 and September 2015, more than 28,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia were infected with the Ebola virus. More than 11,300 died from it. And even those who survived still face a host of ongoing challenges, including continued physical symptoms, the possibility that the virus could lay dormant in some organs in the body, persistent psychological trauma, and social exclusion.

A legacy of Ebola that is less evident, however, is what it did to basic health services and health workers in the countries affected. The number of qualified health workers—and nurses in particular—who were killed and the number of health facilities that were forced to close or reallocate resources resulted in a dire shortage of both throughout the region. That means the people left behind struggled—and still struggle—to find care for other health issues, from malaria to malnutrition to childbirth to surgery to vaccination.

This issue of Alert focuses on the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak. Our main story concerns Liberia—the services MSF has provided to survivors and the steps MSF has taken to bolster the health system, especially around mother-and-child care. Much of this is localized in a hospital MSF has opened in Monrovia that focuses on pediatrics—a hospital at which I myself am hoping to work in early 2017.

This is a very meaningful project that fills a clear need in Monrovia right now. It’s unusual in that MSF was able to be part of every facet of the design process, which is rarely the case in emergency response, where you almost always work with what you have (and quickly). It is also evidence, I believe, of an effort to stay with an emergency, to seeing the ways in which an acute crisis can evolve into a more protracted health care crisis, even after the sense of urgency wanes among the broader international community.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find accounts of an ambulance service MSF runs in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, and the recollections of one of our staff workers upon her return to Bentiu, South Sudan. We also want to provide you with an update on the Forced From Home exhibition. Its first run through the northeast is now complete, and we were very gratified by the attendance and the response from the public and media outlets alike. The refugee/displacement issue is certainly not going away, and we will continue to make sure our voice—and the voices of the displaced themselves—are heard.

Thank you all for your support throughout this year. It has meant a great deal to me personally and to MSF as a whole.

Sincerely Yours,

John Lawrence, MD

President, MSF-USA Board of Directors

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Alert Fall 2016 | Vol. 17 No. 3

September 01, 2016
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Alert Summer 2016 | Vol. 17 No. 2

June 01, 2016
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Alert Spring 2016 | Vol. 17 No. 1

March 16, 2016
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Alert Fall 2015 | Vol. 16 No. 3

September 01, 2015

MSF’s Access Campaign was founded to prod others to develop or provide these essential medical tools and to make sure they work in remote locations with few resources. The work the Access Campaign does is directly tied to our field experience and has profound consequences for the people with whom we work. It brings much-needed attention to pricing, policies, the research and development system, and other crucial elements of the process by which medicines and medical tools make it to the field—or don’t, as the case may be. And that’s what this issue of Alert is about, the cost of medicine, and the processes that drive the development of some medicines over others

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Alert Summer 2015 | Vol. 16 No. 2

June 01, 2015

Our staff sees incredible courage and determination from patients on an almost daily basis, and in this issue of Alert, we want to share images of some of those patients, along with their stories, so you can really see the people we try to assist.

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Alert Spring 2015 | Vol. 16 No. 1

April 01, 2015

In this issue of Alert, we want to highlight a new campaign, “Because Tomorrow Needs Her,” which is designed to focus attention on women’s health.

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Alert Fall 2014 | Vol. 15 No. 3

September 30, 2014

This issue of the Alert focuses primarily on a particularly challenging context: Syria, where a brutal conflict is now in its fourth year, and where what had been a middle income country with a well-developed medical infrastructure had been reduced to a shell of a state where the health system cannot function and millions have little access to care. Those with treatable chronic diseases cannot find medicine. Children are not getting vaccinated. Family after family—with innumerable trained health workers among them—have fled their homes to seek refuge with relatives or in neighboring countries where their presence places an enormous strain on avail­able resources.

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