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An MSF nurse recounts the horror of the aerial bombardments in Kunduz

5 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

msf_kunduz_hospMSF nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in Kunduz trauma hospital when the facility was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids in the early hours of Saturday morning. He describes his experience.

“It was absolutely terrifying.

I was sleeping in our safe room in the hospital. At around 2am I was woken up by the sound of a big explosion nearby. At first I didn’t know what was going on. Over the past week we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different—close and loud. more…

Alison Criado-Perez: From an insecure and dangerous present to an unknown future

16 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s 10.30pm on board the Phoenix, the search and rescue vessel in the Mediterranean run jointly by @MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) and @MSF. I joined a few days ago, in a mid-sea midnight transfer. Before I go to bed, I go up on the darkened foredeck and remember how it looked yesterday, packed with people crammed together on their blankets after having been rescued. I wonder how and where they are now, what the future holds for them, these 415 people from 20 different countries, among them Syrians, Eritreans, Somalis and Iraqis? They disembarked this morning in Taranto, Italy, their hopes high, thinking the worst was over. But what problems still lie ahead of them as they seek refuge from their war-torn, repressive, or poverty-stricken countries? more…

Helen Bygrave: Simple but elusive—why are we still talking about HIV drug delivery?

20 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

msflogoAs the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference takes place in Vancouver, Canada (July 19-22), Helen Bygrave of MSF discusses her frustrations with the lack of implementation of simple, programmatic strategies for improving HIV care.

My main memory of the last IAS conference that I attended, held in Vienna in 2010, was a resounding standing ovation for a presentation (including this video) by one of my colleagues working in Mozambique. In a situation where antiretroviral therapy (ART) had not been extensively decentralised, and where drug supply limitations meant people had to attend a clinic every month to pick up their drugs, a simple idea had transformed the way that patients received their HIV care. In short, people living near each other had got together and agreed to take it in turns to pick up each other’s drugs. This resulted in less time spent at the clinic and lower transport costs for patients and an immediate reduction in workload for clinic staff. more…

Áine Markham: Dismantling gains in global health?

13 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

aineThis month signals a critical moment for the future of global health financing as high-level political representatives meet in Addis Ababa for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to discuss how the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be funded. Current trends in stagnating spending on aid and a finance-driven rhetoric risk abandoning the achievements of recent decades. more…

MSF Scientific Day 2015: A conference without borders

6 May, 15 | by BMJ

msf_scientific_dayAt the time of writing, the west Africa Ebola epidemic at last appears to be under control, and, as the response is scaled down, there is more capacity within Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to begin to appraise the evidence collected, technological approaches trialled, and lessons learned. Much of the analysis is yet to come—the work that will be presented at the 2015 MSF Scientific Day on 7 and 8 May is an early snapshot across some of the most important areas of uncertainty in the response. more…

Grania Brigden: Time for a jumpstart—accelerating access to new and promising DR-TB drugs

23 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

Conflict effect on population. Donetsk region, Ukraine JAN 2015World TB Day is an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in beating this ancient disease. At first glance, the news looks good: two new drugs—the first in decades—have been registered for hard-to-treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and the global rate of new cases of MDR-TB has remained stable at 3.5%.

However, appearances can be deceptive. While the global rate of MDR-TB is stable, on closer examination the data are not complete; many parts of the world are dealing with a serious and growing MDR-TB crisis. In some countries, including Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, up to 35% of people diagnosed with TB for the first time already have MDR-TB, and more than 70% of patients previously treated for TB now have MDR-TB. more…

Christmas Appeal: Hitting the ground running—surgical transfer in South Sudan

20 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Lanice JonesI arrived in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on 2 January for two whirlwind days of being briefed on my new role as medical specialist in Yida refugee camp, which is at the northern edge of South Sudan. On Sunday, my rest day before flying north, I was asked to help arrange care for a young boy who was arriving by MSF plane from a project not far from my own.

Lanice Jones, MSF medical specialist © Lanice Jones/MSF more…

Christmas Appeal: The 12 days of constructing an Ebola management centre

12 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunday: As soon as you touch down in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Ebola hits you—or the awareness of it. Health forms to fill in, chlorine handwashes before you even enter the terminal building, zapped with a temperature gun before you step outside.

Public health messages and precautions continue throughout the city: big posters announcing that “Ebola is Real so ABC: Avoid Body Contact!” dominate the main thoroughfares. Chlorine handwashes are at the entrance to restaurants and supermarkets—but even so, I’m careful not to touch the doors with my hand. Even as medics, we have never been so clean, so hygiene aware. And we’re all getting acclimatised to the no touch policy: no touching even among the team, no handshaking when you meet someone. Instead, a crossed arm against your chest. more…

Christmas Appeal 2014: A silent hunger

23 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

Nikola MortonI have been in Pakistan for six months, two thirds of the way through my nine month mission. Before working in Pakistan, I had spent some time working in the north of Australia with the Aboriginal community. In the Northern Territory of Australia, there is a big issue with malnutrition in the Aboriginal population, especially in the remote communities. Having worked there for some time, I thought it would prepare me for working here . . . but it does not even compare. more…

Christmas Appeal 2014: Gibson Chijaka—I cannot hold back my joy

19 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

Gibson_Chijaka_grandmotherMy name is Gibson Chijaka, and for the last two years I have endured dozens of nauseating tablets every day. Today, I am so happy and cannot hold back my joy; I am cured of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Me with my grandmother, Margaret Kadzere, October 2014. © Stambuli Kim/MSF more…

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