"During my mission with Doctors Without Borders in Koutiala, Mali, I witnessed the disastrous effect of two killers combining to threaten the lives of thousands of children: malnutrition and malaria.
"Many of the kids in the region are weakened by malnutrition. On top of that, they are hit each year with three or four bouts of malaria. Being sick makes them even weaker, with their chance at survival dropping with each new complication.
"While working with Doctors Without Borders, I chose to focus on treating malnutrition because I've seen how this one intervention, although very simple, can have miraculous results and change a child’s life forever.
"Many of my precious memories from Mali are from the time I spent with my little friend Tidjani. When he first came to our hospital he was gravely ill from severe malnutrition and tuberculosis. He was so sick that it was as if he had stopped being a kid. He didn’t smile, laugh, talk or play.
"Complications from disease meant he needed to be in the hospital for nearly my entire five month mission in Mali. But the day his smile came back, I knew he was out of the woods.
"By the end of his stay at the hospital he was my little helper, meeting me for rounds and holding my hand as we checked on patients together.
"Right now in Mali, Central African Republic, Syria and many more places around the world there are children whose young lives have been interrupted by crisis. At the worst possible moment in their development, tragedy reached them. But with your help we can reach them, too."
—Dr. Kerstin Hanson, MSF pediatrician