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@msfusa | 1,696 Articles | 12 Magazines | 23,347 Followers | Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in around 70 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.


Crisis Update: May 18, 2015

The conflict in Yemen currently has the country divided between the Houthi movement, supported by former president Saleh, …

Middle East

Yemen: "We Don't Know Where to Go"

Voice from the FieldYemen: "We Don't Know Where to Go"June 29, 2015"I Had Never Heard Such Explosions in My Life"Here, a nurse working in a Yemeni

Middle East

Report Shows Widespread Mistreatment by Health Workers During Childbirth

They are slapped and pinched during labor, yelled at, denied pain medicine, neglected and forced to share beds with other women who just gave birth. And that is just a partial list of the abuses and humiliations inflicted on women around the world as their babies are born.

A new report based on …


Week five - a tough week: Thursday | Doctors without borders

This blog post contains graphic descriptions of obstetric surgery which you may find upsetting.

Thursday was, hands down, the roughest day here so far.

Doctors Without Borders

Leaked: What’s in Obama’s trade deal

The Agenda

Is the White House going to bat for Big Pharma worldwide?

A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. …


South Sudan: Restoring Water Supply for 20,000 People

Voice from the FieldSouth Sudan: Restoring Water Supply for 20,000 PeopleJune 29, 2015Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has


South Sudan: MSF Resumes Activities in Melut

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has resumed activities in Melut, in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, 16 days after renewed …

South Sudan

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MSF USA | Medical aid where it is needed most. Independent. Neutral. Impartial.

As fighting intensifies in northern Afghanistan, teams in Kunduz work to save a boy's arm and treat his father after a bombing injured them both.

An …


Watch a Dispatch from Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis

Why is the international community ignoring the country's urgent needs for food, water and medical care?

The war in Yemen — especially the Saudi-led coalition's aerial attacks on the capital and its blockade of the border — now in its fourth month, has created a countrywide humanitarian crisis. …

Middle East

CAR Muslims Fear for Their Lives


Post-Civil War Tensions Arise in South Sudan

South Sudan

MSF Fights to Aid Injured in Yemen

Middle East

The Mural That Made A Photographer Stop In His Tracks

The Doctors Without Borders Instagram feed often features doctors and patients and pills.

Last week, a startlingly different photo was posted.

A woman, her head slightly turned, stares out from the wall of a building on the bustling streets of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. A lock clamps her lips …


Syria: New barrage of barrel bombs on health facilities

Busra hospital, the only health facility providing neonatal and dialysis services in Dara’a governorate, was destroyed after being hit by 10 barrel

Middle East

Rare look at the humanitarian toll of Yemen's civil war

Aid groups in Yemen are calling the humanitarian situation "catastrophic," and it is civilians who are really bearing the brunt of the country's …

Civil War

Syria: “Bodies were everywhere - on the tables, in the hallways, on the floor”

A horrific missile strike devastated a town centre in Idlib Governorate, northern Syria on Thursday 4 June. The wounded arrived, wave after wave, at

Middle East

Yemen: "Bullets have entered our hospital"

“I have been living and working in the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital since the clashes began in March. I’ve only



The humanitarian crisis in Yemen grows more catastrophic each day. Fighting and indiscriminate airstrikes have harmed civilians, medical facilities, …

Middle East


More than 100 injured people, including women and children, were received by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Aden yesterday

Middle East

Principles in action: How do neutrality and independence contribute to humanitarian effectiveness?

Watch the event live on 17 June from 17:30 to 18:45 Geneva time

Join the debate on Twitter: #OurPrinciplesInAction #EcosocHAS2015

A livestreamed public …


Yemen: "Many Civilians are Injured and Killed"

Voice from the FieldYemen: "Many Civilians are Injured and Killed"June 09, 2015Two months into the conflict in Yemen, Doctors Without

Middle East

A Moment of Grace Amid Pervasive Chaos: A Surgeon's Letter from Bangui

David Rothstein is a pediatric surgeon in Buffalo, New York. He began working with Doctors Without Borders/Médedins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2007 in


Yemen: Displaced by War, "We Live a Miserable Life"

Yemen's Khamer town has seen a recent influx of internally displaced people (IDPs) who arrived after fleeing airstrikes and the deteriorating

Foreign Policy

U.S. Shifts Stance on Drug Pricing in Pacific Trade Pact Talks, Document Reveals

WASHINGTON — Facing resistance from Pacific trading partners, the Obama administration is no longer demanding protection for pharmaceutical prices under the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a newly leaked section of the proposed trade accord.

But American negotiators are still …

Trade Pact

As of the 31st of March 2015, 418 out of 815 infected health care workers1 had died from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to a recent WHO report. 217 recovered and the fate of the remaining 181 is unknown. These figures alone attest to the heavy price paid by medical staff responding to the crisis. In addition to the high risk of contamination, healthcare workers have regularly faced rejection by the communities they sought to help, which has sometimes led to direct violence, as well as stigma and social ostracism. Risk of contamination According to the same report, health staff, through direct contact with patients, account for 3.9% of the 20,955 confirmed and probable cases reported. They can be between 21 and 32 times more at risk of infection, depending on the health profession, than the rest of the population above 15 years of age. While doctors, nurses and nursing assistants account for 64% of the staff contaminated, all medical and health professionals are vulnerable and have been constantly worried about the possibility of infection. The vast majority of staff infections have been contracted outside of specialised Ebola treatment structures where protection and IPC (infection prevention and control) procedures were either lacking or inappropriate. In comparison, staff working in Ebola treatment centres are at a much lower risk, accounting for around 6% of the 199 health staff infections in Guinea. Twenty-eight MSF employees contracted Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – fourteen of them died. Internal investigations showed that the majority of these infections took place through contacts in the community. However the three expatriates who contracted Ebola (all were cured after receiving treatment in their home countries), were infected while working in treatment centres, likely in triage areas although it is difficult to determine where transmission took place. Community hostility It has become common for health workers combatting Ebola to face threats, intimidations and sometimes even violence at the hands of the populations they have come to help. In Guinea, the refusal of some communities to cooperate coupled with active hostility in some instances, forced MSF to quickly evacuate several areas of intervention and also temporarily suspend activities. In February 2015, the Guinean Red Cross estimated that its employees had suffered an average of 10 attacks – ranging from verbal to physical assaults – per month. The most dramatic episode to date took place in southeastern Guinea in September 2014, when eight people from a governmental delegation raising awareness of Ebola were assassinated. Among them were three health officers, including the District Director of Health and the Deputy Director of N’Zérékoré district hospital. Although this is an extreme case, acts of intimidation and violence by community members against national or international actors had been observed by MSF during previous epidemics of viral haemorrhagic fevers, such as in Gabon in 2002 and Angola in 2005. This hostile behavior is to a certain extent understandable, as Ebola generates reactions which are often irrational and driven by the universal fear of epidemics. Mistrust is further fuelled by the very conditions created by control measures: the systematic use of full protective gear, isolation of the sick, and safe burial of the dead. Populations’ suspicion is also driven by the long list of rumours that accuse aid actors of being the source of the disease. Poor awareness campaigns have not helped in calming these serious doubts. Government, NGOs and the UN did not always manage their communications well, sometimes spreading messages that reinforced people’s fear. One common line illustrative of this flawed messaging was “no treatment, no vaccine”, which was interpreted by people as: no use going to the hospital! However, the consequences of this rejection of control measures can be serious and lasting not only for attacked staff, but also for the people in areas where the virus is still a threat. By rejecting teams tasked with containing the outbreak, populations expose themselves to the risk of the uncontrolled propagation of the virus in their communities. From physical to social violence Fear of infection can result in health workers being stigmatised and ostracised by their communities, friends and even immediate families. At a time when they need the support of their loved ones more than ever, there are instances of local staff lying to their families about working in Ebola treatment centres, moving to live by themselves or with other health care workers, or being rejected from public transport. International workers also face problems when returning home. In the US, some states introduced mandatory quarantines for health workers, even if they displayed no symptoms of the virus. Restrictions were so tough in some countries, such as Canada, that MSF offered its staff the ability to stay in more “friendly” countries in Europe for 21 days to avoid potential problems. Conclusions – human and national loss Eighteen months after the first case, the largest Ebola epidemic ever is in the process of being contained. On May 9th 2015, Liberia, the country which reported the highest number of cases at the peak of the epidemic, was declared free of Ebola. Hopefully, Sierra-Leone and Guinea will soon follow, since active transmission is low and limited to a few districts, while areas which had previously reached worrying levels of transmission do not report any new cases since several weeks. However, health staff have paid and continue to pay a very high price for their professional commitment: they are at risk of being infected by Ebola and of dying from it, accused of being responsible for the disease, often rejected or abused by the populations they have come to help, and sometimes treated with fear or even ostracised when they return home. Health workers show immense courage and professionalism in dealing with such challenges despite minimal levels of support. The fact that many hospital staff in Guinea do not have work contracts and depend for their pay on hospital incomes is indicative of the minimal levels of support health workers received, even before the crisis. While health workers faced incredibly high levels of occupational risk, ministries of health failed in their reciprocal obligation to inform, protect and support medical staff. Looking ahead, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are likely to suffer the consequences of more not being done to protect health workers. Additional strain will be put on health systems, which were already largely underfunded, dysfunctional, and lacking skilled human resources on the eve of the epidemic. Although some of the problems discussed here have decreased in severity – for e.g., contamination of health care workers has decreased since March 2015, partially due to better IPC standards – serious challenges remain. At the end of this May, violent protests in the north Guinea town of Boke saw two Red Cross cars attacked and a warehouse containing equipment for safe burial incinerated. Even as the number of cases continues to fall and most communities reject violence, anger and frustrations around Ebola have failed to fully subside. Marc Poncin (PhD Biophysics) is working for the “Research Unit on Humanitarian Stakes and Practices” of the Swiss section of ‘Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF). He was the coordinator for MSF in response to Ebola outbreaks in Bundibugyo (Uganda) in 2007-2008, and in Guinea from April to December 2014. [1]The terms “Health care workers” or “health staff” includes clinical personnel and any other who have directly contributed to the control of the epidemic including non-medical staff such as cleaners, drivers, community –based workers and burial teams among others.

As of the 31st of March 2015, 418 out of 815 infected health care workers1 had died from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, …


War in Yemen is pushing health-care facilities to the brink of collapse - The Washington Post

SANAA, Yemen — Two months of war have devastated Yemen’s health sector, aggravating a dire humanitarian crisis by depriving millions of people of urgent medical care and threatening outbreaks of diseases such as polio and measles, according to doctors and international aid organizations.

Medicines, …

Foreign Policy

Yemen Crisis a 'Humanitarian Catastrophe,' Experts Say

It’s been just more than two months since a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began its airstrike campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the country …

Middle East

Is TPP the Most Progressive Trade Agreement in History? Not If You Need Access to Affordable Medicines

There are two things that we at Oxfam can say for certain from what we know about the TPP: First, the TPP would do more to undermine access to affordable medicines than any previous U.S. trade agreement.Second, the intellectual property provisions in TPP reverse the positive step taken under the …

Economic History

Jordan: Scaling Up Services for Syrian Mothers and Children Refugees in Irbid

The Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mother and child project in Irbid, northern Jordan, has been augmented to perform …