Moments of hope

Despite the emergencies of 2023, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams also witnessed moments of hope from our projects around the world

A woman, outside of a building, speaking to a pharmacist through a window. They are both smiling at each other.

DRC 2023 © Michel Lunanga/MSF

Alert is a quarterly magazine published by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-USA) that features ground reporting from our work around the world. This article appears in the Winter 2023 issue (Vol. 24, no. 3), The Year in Photos: Voices of 2023..

Mexico 2023 © Yesika Ocampo/ MSF

Healing with Onnie


Onnie is a Labrador Retriever in Mexico who was trained to provide therapeutic support to children, adolescents, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Animal-assisted psychotherapy helps people express their emotions and solidify trust in their psychotherapist. “There are people with complex trauma who cannot say, ‘Today I am very sad,’ but can say, ‘Today Onnie looks sad,’” said MSF psychologist Alicia de la Rosa.

Two patients of a mobile clinic in Pervomaiske village, Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine.

Ukraine 2023 © Laurel Chor/MSF

An open home amid war


Natalia Chorna and Valeriy Chorny allowed MSF to use their home in Posad-Pokrovske, a village in Ukraine’s Kherson region, for consultations in late 2022. We visited them again in 2023. “There was no network, so it was very difficult for us to contact Natalia," said Robin Ehret, MSF project coordinator. "At some point we managed to reach her. She said, ‘To find me, I will put fire on some tires in the village.’ This worked very well.”

A group of women dancing outside in beautiful patterned dresses.
DRC 2023 © Michel Lunanga/MSF

Dancing at Rusayo camp

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Women gather in the morning for dancing and music at Rusayo camp, DRC. MSF has several projects in the camp, including building water and sanitation facilities, providing care for survivors of sexual violence, and free-of-charge health care.

Rohingya children create a kyssa, folktale story panel, in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh 2023 © Victor Caringal/MSF

Folktales for Rohingya children


Rohingya refugee children in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, take part in the creation of a mural illustrating a kyssa, a Rohingya folktale. The activity aims to reconnect children with their Rohingya identity six years after being displaced from Myanmar.

A woman holds newborn baby in hospital bed in Indigenous community in Venezuela
Venezuela 2023 © Matias Delacroix

A first-born in Amacuro


Adelia, 18, is a member of the Warao indigenous community in Delta Amacuro state, Venezuela, to whom health care is largely inaccessible. To give birth, she planned to visit the wisirato, a spiritual healer and purveyor of traditional medicine, but when the labor pains began, they were so strong it frightened her. She and her mother paddled two hours by boat to MSF’s outpatient clinic in Nabasunka, where she gave birth to her first child, Antonio.

Noma survivors: closer to getting the attention they deserve

Nigeria 2023 © Fabrice Caterini/Inediz

Surviving the stigma of noma


Mohammadu Usman is a survivor of noma, a preventable tropical disease that can cause disfiguring injuries to the skin and bones of the face. After receiving treatment at the MSF-supported Sokoto Noma Hospital in Nigeria, he now works at the facility. After two rounds of surgery and a long course of treatment, he has a new outlook: “I can go anywhere now, and I don’t feel ashamed.”

A woman, outside of a building, speaking to a pharmacist through a window. They are both smiling at each other.
DRC 2023 © Michel Lunanga/MSF
A pregnant woman in green T-shirt watches her child learn to walk again

Angola 2023 © Mariana Abdalla/MSF

A child walks after malnutrition


Paulina Cassombu's daughter, Rosa, walked again after MSF teams in Angola treated her for severe malnutrition. Her treatment included psycho-stimulation to regain mobility.

"If a child is hospitalized for a long time due to severe malnutrition, they can lose some physical and cognitive capacities," said Isabel Zua, an MSF psychologist. "When I see that the sessions I do are helping a child to walk again, for example, from the bottom of my heart, it's better than a salary."

A band plays at the opening of an MSF maternal health clinic in Haiti.
Haiti 2023 © Alexandre Marcou/MSF

Maternal health returns to Port-à-Piment


A band plays at the reopening of a maternal health clinic in Port-à-Piment, Haiti, which had been destroyed in the 2021 earthquake. MSF rebuilt and upgraded the facility, restoring access to maternal care for 250,000 people in the community.

An older man standing outside and smiling at the camera.

Malawi 2023 © Pascale Antonie / MSF

A chance at life with HIV/AIDS


“In 2001, when the counselor said ART [antiretroviral therapy] could prolong my life, I thought it would be two to three years. But here I am, 22 years later,” said Fred Minandi. Now 63, he was the fourth patient to receive ART as part of MSF’s HIV/AIDS project in Chiradzulu district, Malawi.

An Afghan young woman in a red headscarf holds her child in a red shirt against a dark background.
Afghanistan 2023 © Nava Jamshidi

Maternal care in Bamyan province


Naqiba, 19, delivered her second child at an MSF-supported health facility in Bamyan province, Afghanistan. Afghan women experience massive barriers to accessing care due to gender-based restrictions on their freedom of movement and their ability to work and study under Taliban rule. In Bamyan, it is estimated that over 40 percent of new mothers delivered their babies at home without professional assistance in 2022.

Yuli on the MSF Day Care Centre balcony.

Greece 2023 © Maro Verli/MSF

Inclusivity for LGBTQ asylum seekers


“I feel that I belong to a community for the first time in my life," says Yuli*, an asylum seeker from Cuba and an MSF patient in Greece. As a Black transgender woman, her journey to safety was particularly dangerous. Once she reached Greece, she received inclusive care at an MSF clinic

Drawing of two birds hugging
Mexico 2023 © MSF

Migration, through children's eyes


"I pray to God that I will cross the border and be with my dad there. That I can go to the United States ... and be happy there." In June, MSF and ¡Hola! Combo presented Little Birds, a short animated documentary featuring the stories of seven children living at the Senda de Vida shelter in Reynosa, Mexico, where MSF provides physical and mental health care.

MSF Alert Winter 2023: The year in photos

Alert Winter 2023: The year in photos

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