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Four MSF staff who put aid first in 2022

Read the stories of four locally hired MSF staff members who put aid first in the face of crisis and personal tragedy.

Over 80 percent of our staff at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are from the communities they work in. So when a disaster strikes, it affects them too. In the face of personal tragedy and upheaval this year, our teams continued to put aid first for our patients and deliver quality, compassionate care.

Akeela outreach counsellor
MSF outreach counselor Akeela checks a child for malnutrition.
Pakistan 2022 © MSF

MSF Outreach Coordinator, Pakistan

Akeela's village, about three miles from the city [of Dera Murad Jamali], was completely submerged by the floods. After losing her home, she is now working with MSF’s emergency response team in the area. Here she describes why she decided to take action despite losing her family home.

“When I saw that so many people needed help and I received a call from MSF requesting support for the emergency response,” says Akeela, “I couldn’t stop myself from saying yes.”

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Dr. Sasha Sholokov
2022 © Pau Miranda/MSF

Dr. Sasha Sholokov
MSF Doctor, Ukraine

Dr. Sasha Sholokov, an MSF doctor, had to flee his home with his wife and two-year-old son due to shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, when war broke out in February.

“My family had to move abroad,” says Dr. Sholokov. “Because we have a small child, I told [my wife], it will be better if you take care of him and yourself. And I’ll try to manage here in Ukraine.”

After making sure his family was safe, Dr. Sholokov returned with MSF to eastern Ukraine where he continues to help people like him who have found safety in Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia.

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In Ukraine, MSF Works in Partnership with Local Groups
Yana Biletskaya, right, a coordinator with a Kharkiv-based volunteer network, and Daria Samoilova, left, MSF liaison officer, open an MSF food box to examine the contents.
Ukraine 2022 © Pavel Dorogoy/MSF

Daria Samoilova
MSF Volunteer Liaison, Ukraine

Seven days into the war, a large building by her mother’s home was destroyed by an explosion. They packed and left for a different part of the country. But Samoilova wanted to come home. She started working with MSF, first as a translator and then in her current role connecting with and overseeing partnerships between local groups and MSF.

“I was doing something good and kind, and everyone I was working with had the same idea: to help.”

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Portraits of MSF health workers in Gaza healing the wounds of the Great March of Return
Shadi Al Najjar, an MSF physiotherapist, cares for a patient wounded in the Great March of Return protests in November 2019 at Al Awda hospital in Jabalia, northern Gaza.
Palestinian Territories 2019 © Virginie Nguyen Hoang/MSF

Shadi Al-Najjar
MSF Physiotherapy Manager, Gaza

Al-Najjar’s home in Gaza was partially destroyed when his neighbor’s house was bombed. His family was still in the house when his nine-month-old son’s bedroom was hit. Al-Najjar found his son in his crib surrounded by glass and shrapnel—fortunately uninjured. He says his youngest daughter is traumatized.

“She is not able to sleep, crying all the time. I am trying to be as supportive as I can for them,” said Al-Najjar.

Al-Najjar, who manages the physiotherapy department at Al-Awda Hospital, continues to see patients who were injured during an escalation of conflict in May 2021. Many of these people have longer-term needs for physical rehabilitation and physical therapy.

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