Summer 2018: Strong women

Helping women and girls survive in emergencies

Rainy season begins in Bangladesh

BANGLADESH 2017 © Pablo Tosco

Alert is a quarterly magazine published by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-USA) that features compelling stories and photography from our work in the field. Below is an excerpt from MSF-USA Board President John P. Lawrence's introduction to the Summer 2018 issue (Vol 19. No. 2)

Women and girls are often more vulnerable in unstable settings, including in times of war, conflict, or natural disaster. They may be targeted as a way of intimidating entire communities. And of course, women have particular health risks that men do not. Some 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth; 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Most of the patients treated by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are women and children. But as MSF nurse and general director Meinie Nicolai pointed out in our pioneering book on women’s health, Because Tomorrow Needs Her, these remarkably strong women are anything but victims.

In this summer 2018 issue of Alert, you will read about women who have survived rape and targeted violence in Myanmar, and who continue to face threats while living in refugee settlements in Bangladesh. You will see the impressive scope of our projects: providing psychosocial support for survivors of violence in Colombia, maternity care for Syrian refugees in Iraq, and vaccination against cervical cancer in the Philippines. We are also featuring a timely interview with Catrin Schulte-Hillen, midwife and the head of MSF’s sexual and reproductive health care working group, on the wider dangers of the Global Gag Rule—a US policy intended to restrict abortion-related activities but which affects public health programs more broadly around the world.

♦ Rohingya refugees 
  Still searching for safety 

♦ Forced from home
  Caring for women and girls on the move

♦ Lifeline in Colombia
   Helping women in a city where 'violence is contagious'

♦ New life 
  Creating a safe place for mothers at a Syrian refugee camp in Iraq

♦ Global Gag Rule 
  Why the new Global Gag Rule is more dangerous than ever

♦ Fighting Cervical Cancer in the Philippines
  Working to protect thousands against cervical cancer in one of the most crowded places on earth