2016 By the Numbers:
9,792,200 outpatient consultations
671,700 patients admitted
92,600 major surgical interventions
Over the past year, as nativist arguments for walls and other barriers to keep people out gained strength in the United States and around the world, the core mission of Doctors Without Borders was challenged as never before. With your strong support, we are fighting on all fronts to defend out ability to provide humanitarian assistance for people in need, regardless of race, religion, or political conviction.
Every day, our medical teams treat people displaced by conflict and extreme violence. Throughout 2016, people seeking safety found themselves trapped in crisis, as countries closed their borders and sought to push refugees elsewhere—anywhere but here. We witnessed the terrible results first-hand during field visits to Lebanon and Mexico.
More than half our projects were dedicated to caring for people in situations of armed conflict or internal instability, with some of our biggest operations in countries that have experienced massive displacement. At the end of 2016, there were more than 65.6 million people displaced worldwide, according to the
United Nations Refugee Agency. That unfathomable number provokes fear and xenophobia in some quarters, but we hope the stories of our patients might inspire greater compassion. We are also grateful for the contributions of the many MSF staff members who were once refugees themselves.
Together, we are working to ensure that our patients receive assistance and safety. In 2016, we launched a three-year advocacy campaign to expose the conditions facing those who have been “Forced From Home.” The campaign centers around a traveling, interactive exhibition led by MSF field workers who take visitors behind the headlines about the global refugee crisis. The exhibition toured the eastern US in 2016, and will travel to the mountain region and west coast this fall. In 2018, the exhibition will go to the southwestern US. For those of you living in or near the cities on the tour, we hope you will join us. (Learn more at forcedfromhome.com.)
Meanwhile, teams in the field and at headquarters are working to ensure that we have the necessary access and protection to care for those suffering the brunt of conflict. We played a leading role in pushing the United Nations Security Council to unanimously adopt Resolution 2286, which pledged to protect medical workers and patients in conflict situations. The UN Secretary-General borrowed our message, publicly affirming that “Even war has rules.”
And yet, airstrikes and shelling against health facilities have continued, with attacks often carried out by military coalitions involving Security Council member states, including France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2016, 34 health structures managed or supported by MSF were attacked
in Syria and Yemen. We will continue to demand that all warring parties adhere to their obligations under international law. While our work pushing for greater access and innovation garners less visibility, it is instrumental to providing high-quality health care to the people who need it most. Through our Access Campaign, we are not only working to bring down the cost of vaccines and essential medicines, we are also supporting research and development to find new ways to treat the neglected diseases that affect many of our patients. Thanks to nearly half a million supporters who joined our campaign for A Fair Shot, Pfizer and GSK agreed to significantly lower the price of the pneumonia vaccine for children caught in humanitarian emergencies. Pneumonia is the leading killer of children under five.
We are breaking new ground through a series of clinical trials to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). A clinical trial initiated by MSF in Niger in 2014 showed that a new, heat-stable vaccine against rotavirus could help prevent large numbers of children from dying of severe diarrhea. Our research indicated that a new cholera control strategy using a single-dose oral vaccine could be effective in combating the disease. Last April, MSF vaccinated 423,000 people in Lusaka, Zambia, in the largest oral cholera vaccination campaign to be undertaken during an outbreak.
We hope that you will take some time to read the full report and reflect on the impact of our global activities made possible with your support. Consider the individual lives behind the big numbers: 9,792,200 outpatient consultations; 2,536,400 cases of malaria treated; 250,300 births assisted; 80,100 severely malnourished children treated at our inpatient feeding programs.
On behalf of all our patients and staff, we thank you.
John Lawrence, President, MSF-USA Board of Directors
Jason Cone, Executive Director, MSF-USA