I first would like to share some joyous news, which some of you may have already heard: Our two colleagues, Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut, who were abducted from the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya in October 2011, were finally, at long last, freed in July. They had been taken to Somalia, where they spent 644 days in captivity. During every one of those days, an MSF team working on nothing else labored to secure their release as the entire organization held them close to their hearts. And now we are thrilled that we can collectively welcome them home and support them however we can in the days to come.
At the same time, we think of the people in Dadaab who lost access to care because the insecurity in the camps forced MSF and other organizations to curtail their activities. We continued to run a hospital there, but many other programs were suspended. This meant further suffering for people in one of the most overlooked long-term crises in the world. We must make sure they are not forgotten.
In this issue of Alert, we want to shine a light on other populations that are too often overlooked. To start, there are the people of Central African Republic, or CAR, which has the world’s second-highest mortality rate—and which recently endured a forcible regime change—but continues to exist on the periphery of the public consciousness. It receives a fraction of the aid it needs, and our teams know that even their numerous programs supporting seven hospitals and 37 health posts around the country are not enough. We have published reports and press releases and conducted advocacy campaigns in the past; we will continue to do so as long at CAR’s plight remains in the shadows.
We also want to share updates from MSF’s work in Syria, Afghanistan, and Chad, along with some news that came out of the recent International AIDS Conference and a look ahead at the ongoing battle to protect access to aff ordable medicines for people the world over.
There is a great deal of work to be done, of course, as there always is and may always be. Your support is as crucial as ever. Knowing that we have it—and knowing that Mone and Blanca are safe at home—allows us to go forward with fuller hearts.
Executive Director, MSF-USA