2019: The year in photos

After Cyclone Idai devastated Mozambique in spring 2019, MSF immediately began running mobile clinics in the hardest-hit areas of Beira city. Here, MSF peer educator Aida Joao cares for a child suspected of suffering from pneumonia.
Mozambique 2019 © Pablo Garrigos/MSF
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The year in photos 2019

Violence and neglect in the remote northeast of South Sudan
South Sudan 2019 © Igor Barbero
MSF nurse Bárbara García and young patient Nyamach play with a balloon made from a surgical glove in the inpatient ward of MSF’s hospital in Ulang, in northeastern South Sudan.
Mobile clinics in Ponta Gea area of Beira, Mozambique.
Mozambique 2019 © Pablo Garrigos/MSF
After Cyclone Idai devastated Mozambique in spring 2019, MSF immediately began running mobile clinics in the hardest-hit areas of Beira city. Here, MSF peer educator Aida Joao cares for a child suspected of suffering from pneumonia.
An MSF mobile team walks to access a village cut off by damage caused by Cylone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.
ZIMBABWE 2019 © MSF
An MSF mobile team walks to access a village cut off by damage caused by Cylone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.
MSF's delivery services at the Birth centre, Rafik Hariri University Hospital Campus,
Lebanon 2019 © Severine Sajous
Baby Alaa has just been born, weighing 6.6 pounds and measuring 20 inches, at the MSF birth center in Rafik Hariri University hospital, Lebanon. Midwife Josianne and Nurse Nagham assisted his mother in the delivery, and both mother and baby are in good health.
Emergency North East Syria: Fleeing and Seeking Refuge - Displaced Population
Syria 2019 © Jake Simkin
The Qados family takes shelter from the extreme heat in the shade of a truck on the outskirts of Tal Tamer, northeastern Syria. They fled their home in Ras Al Ain in Hasakah province amid bombardment by the Turkish military in October, leaving with very few belongings.
Cholera response in Khamer, Amran hospital
Yemen 2019 © Agnes Varraine-Leca/MSF
A mother and children inside MSF’s Khamer cholera treatment center in Yemen’s Amran governorate. Cholera is endemic in Yemen, but years of conflict have shattered the health system and disrupted sanitation services, contributing to major outbreaks of the waterborne disease.
Deterioration of humanitarian situation for the displaced in northern Abs
Yemen 2019 © Al Hareth Al Maqaleh
A girl holds her young brother in a displaced people’s camp in northern Abs, Yemen.
Measles vaccination in Mai-Ndombe Province
Democratic Republic of Congo 2019 © Franck Ngonga
Parents and children wait to receive measles vaccinations in Etebe health area, Mai-Ndombe province, Democratic Republic of Congo.
MSF supports the Ebola Transit Center in Bunia
Democratic Republic of Congo 2019 © Pablo Garrigos/MSF
Staff members dress in personal protective equipment to enter the high-risk zone at the Ebola transit center in Bunia.
Migrants and refugees in Zintan and Gharyan detention centers in Libya
Libya 2019 © Jérôme Tubiana/MSF
Detained refugees look out through a gap in the gate at the Zintan detention center, Libya.
Medical Team Leader, Stefanie, helps rescued people remove their life jackets as they come on board Ocean Viking.
Mediterranean Sea 2019 © Stefan Dold/MSF
On October 18, 2019, the search and rescue ship Ocean Viking, operated by MSF and SOS MEDITERRANEE, responded to a boat in distress on the Mediterranean Sea. One-hundred four people, including 40 minors and two pregnant women, were brought safely on board.
MSF on the migration route to Mexico
Mexico 2019 © Juan Carlos Tomasi/MSF
In February 2019, MSF launched an emergency intervention in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras, just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, to care for some 1,700 migrants and asylum seekers traveling by caravan. Mexican authorities initially blocked people from leaving their improvised shelter in an abandoned building, and later bused them to other unsafe cities on the US-Mexico border.
Activities in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Honduras 2019 © Christina Simons
A team of MSF health promoters goes door-to-door in Nueva Capital, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to inform residents of MSF services in local clinics, including care to victims of violence.
Colombia 2019 © Melissa Pracht
At least 1.4 million Venezuelans have fled to neighboring Colombia. They have left a country where, over the last few years, most people had no access to medicines and essential health services were entirely out of reach.
World Refugee Day: Nunahar and her husband Abdul Zoleel at the Kutupalong field hospital
Bangladesh 2019 © Nitin George/MSF
Nunahar and her husband, Abdul Zoleel, pose for a portrait at MSF’s Kutupalong field hospital, one of the many health facilities we run for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh after fleeing targeted violence in neighboring Myanmar.
Rohingya in Malaysia: Sawkina Story
Malaysia 2019 © Arnaud Finistre
Twenty-seven-year-old Rohingya woman Sawkina recovers from a broken leg. Although she was born and raised in Malaysia, she does not have Malaysian nationality. As a divorced woman in a conservative society, she has to rely on herself and her parents to support her and her 13-year-old daughter.
Ahmed, 38, a Palestinian man shot and wounded by the Israeli army on May 14, 2018.
Palestinian Territories 2019 © Mohammed Abed
Ahmed, 38, a Palestinian man shot and wounded by the Israeli army on May 14, 2018.
Health at risk in Haiti as crisis and violence worsen
Haiti 2019 © Jeanty Junior Augustin/MSF
Protestors pass burning tires during a demonstration in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In 2019, a devalued currency and increasing fuel prices sparked widespread protests as people called for the departure of President Jovenel Moïse.
CAR Boguila Patient Story
Central African Republic 2019 © Marcel-Philipp Werdier/MSF
At the MSF clinic in Boguila, Central African Republic (CAR), a doctor examines 10-month-old Ketira, who is suffering from a lung infection. MSF is the largest health care provider in CAR, a country fractured by violent conflict and lawlessness.
MSF: Johnson & Johnson should make TB drug available for all at $1/day
United States 2019 © Melissa Pracht/MSF
In April 2019, MSF staff demonstrated outside a shareholders meeting at Johnson & Johnson’s headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey, calling on the company to lower the cost of the tuberculosis drug bedaquiline to $1 per day.

Alert is a quarterly magazine published by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-USA) that features compelling stories and photography from our work around the world. Below is an excerpt from MSF-USA Board President Africa Stewart's introduction to the Winter 2019 issue (Vol 20. No. 4.), 2019: The year in photos.

Dear Friends,

On my very first assignment with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), I found myself in a hospital in Aweil, in what is today the independent nation of South Sudan. 

I will never forget the experience of caring for a mother with two-year-old twin girls who had been admitted with early signs of premature labor. My youngest daughter was about the same age as her twins, and I gladly eased my homesickness at this woman's bedside while doing morning rounds.

She stayed at our hospital for weeks, until one day her labor came fast and naturally. We were expecting another set of twins, but instead delivered not two but three healthy babies. They were born girl, girl, boy, and their mother gave them my names: Africa, Nicole, and Stewart. She did this partly because of our bond but also in the hopes that their “American” names might give them greater opportunities. I was honored and moved—I still am.

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When I first returned from that assignment, I was reluctant to share the stories of our patients. I wasn’t sure if their stories were my stories to tell. But slowly, I started to open up. It isn’t enough to go to the other side of the world to help other mothers and their babies. I am bound to share what I saw and what these mothers experience as they try to survive and care for their families in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

When I first told the story of the mother and her triplets, it was mostly to other obstetricians who reveled in the details in a way that only fellow colleagues would. Later, I told that story to a few journalists and writers who were keen to know more about “life in the field.” 

But there is another side to that beautiful story. When I returned to Aweil a year later, I met that mother again in the hospital, this time in the pediatric unit. She was there with her older twin daughters and two of the three triplets. Of the two youngest girls, one had been admitted with acute malnutrition and the other was noticeably underweight. Their brother had died of malnutrition a few weeks before I arrived.

The surviving triplet girls did well, put on weight, and were discharged before I left to return home to the US. They were lucky to have access to care for malnutrition, and to get this care in the nick of time. In honor of baby Stewart, who did not survive, and in dedication to his four sisters, I have a duty to bear witness and tell the full story.

As we fight to provide access to health care for the people who need it most, an essential part of our job is this kind of témoignage—the French word for witnessing. We need to remind people that every single human being deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and they deserve to be seen and heard.

As you read this special issue of Alert devoted to the importance of bearing witness, I hope you will take some time to look at the portraits of our patients and staff, learn about their stories, and consider the challenges people face as they are caught in crisis situations. We cover some big issues here—war, migration, natural disasters, and epidemics—but ultimately what matters is the individuals at the center of it all. The people I have met along the way during my time at MSF inspire me to keep going, to work harder, to speak out when they can’t. 

On behalf of our patients and our teams around the world, thank you for supporting this extraordinary work. Thank you for caring about people whose lives might seem very different on the outside, but who are not so different on the inside. 

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year.

Sincerely,

Africa Stewart, MD 

President, MSF-USA Board of Directors