For Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams the world over, 2014 was a year unlike any other. Even as the massive Ebola outbreak in West Africa dominated headlines over the past few months, MSF staff were delivering lifesaving emergency care in many other large-scale humanitarian emergencies.
The conflict in Syria continues to grind on, expanding into Iraq and creating a new flood of refugees.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians were driven from their homes in South Sudan as well, amidst a brutal conflict that shows no signs of abating.
In Central African Republic, vicious rounds of sectarian fighting hastened a near-complete breakdown of health services and displaced one-fifth of the country’s population.
And in Afghanistan, a longstanding public health crisis persisted, as mounting chaos imperiled the modest medical gains that have been made.
On December 17, a panel of MSF experts and aid workers looked back at the past year and gave first-hand accounts of MSF’s response to these and many other crises around the world, providing desperately needed emergency medical care and bearing witness to the suffering of our patients.
Deane Marchbein, MD, is the president of MSF-USA Board of Directors and was an anesthesiologist in Khost, Afghanistan in early 2014.
Katherine Gnauck, MD, worked as a pediatrician at an MSF hospital for three months in the Central African Republic. She is an associate professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico.
Michelle Mays, RN, spent nearly all of 2014 in Ramtha, Jordan, where MSF provides emergency treatment to refugees of the Syrian civil war. In 2013, she completed assignments in Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Matt West spent the first part of 2014 in Amman, Jordan, where MSF manages projects in Jordan and Iraq for Syrian refugees. In late 2014, he spent seven weeks as the logistics coordinator in the Gambella region of Ethiopia, working on an MSF project for South Sudanese refugees.
Phil Zabriskie, moderator, is the editorial director for MSF-USA.