Doctors-without-borders

This statement by Bayer CEO sums up everything that is wrong with the multinational pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies are singularly focused on profit and so aggressively push for patents and high drug prices. Diseases that don’t promise a profit are neglected, and patients who can’t afford to pay are cut out of the picture. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Read our response:http://ow.ly/sS4Uc

If you're worried about Ebola...
  • Don’t waste time reblogging those alarmist and hysterical posts about how dumb the US is for taking in the two US Ebola patients. They’re full of misinformation, and frankly, selfish. First of all, those two are healthcare workers who caught the virus- not careless tourists. Secondly, if you are in the US or have the fortune to live in a developed country, you are not the ones in trouble. The people in West Africa are the ones in trouble. They- and the doctors voluntarily risking their lives- have to face Ebola with just a fraction of the medicines, technology, life support machines and without the UV decontamination tubes, airlocks and chemical showers available in the US. 
  • Yes, do practice good hygiene and be vigilant. I mean I think it’s natural that everyone feels unnerved. Ebola isn’t a laughing matter at all. But let’s get some perspective. Why get hysterical about being doomed because the two American Ebola patients are going to be escorted back in a specially-modified quarantine plane to a hospital that has a CDC-approved high-tech isolation ward specifically designed to contain pathogens like Ebola? The US is a thousand times better matched for Ebola compared to the overburdened doctors in the epicentre of the outbreak- and taking two patients off their hands will be a great help. 

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors Without Borders) is a non-profit organisation of doctors and healthcare workers from all over the world who have operated in conflict zones and poor countries to provide basic and emergency medical services since 1971. Their main website is here.

Right now, they are one of the major charities on the frontlines of the ongoing Ebola outbreak. MSF’s work is incredibly important because this is the first time Ebola has shown up in West Africa- most previous outbreaks all began in Central Africa. Hence, governments and hospitals in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea (the three countries affected), which already don’t have an advanced healthcare system, simply do not have the expertise to deal with this on their own.

Don’t spend your energy worrying about the US Ebola patients infecting people here. Spend your energy worrying about the people there and do what you can to help by donating or spreading information. Because what the US has and the doctors in West Africa have is like night and day. 

Ebola is considered a Bio Safety Level-4  (BSL-4) pathogen- the most dangerous rank for extremely lethal diseases with no cure or vaccine. This is what any US CDC scientist handling a BSL-4 pathogen wears. See the coiled tube that looks like a telephone cord? That’s a separate oxygen supply so they don’t even breathe the same air as the room. 

(x)(x)

These are MSF healthcare workers tending to Ebola patients. You can see they have done their best with what they had to ensure the surfaces can be cleaned, but the protection they have is nowhere as good as those CDC doctors, and they are dealing with the virus not in vials or containment cabinets- but EVERYWHERE, with patients sweating, bleeding and vomiting profusely. Unlike in US hospitals, there’s no air-conditioning in most of these places, so just imagine how hot these suits get in a tropical climate. The doctors lose litres of water wearing them and need water breaks just to ensure they’re properly rehydrated. In most places, they don’t have enough suits or any BSL-4 decontamination showers so they’ve had to burn the badly contaminated suits, and put some of the other stuff like gloves and boots in the sun and hope it kills the virus so they can be reused. 

This is a room in the Emory Hospital isolation ward, where the sick Americans will be sent

This is the makeshift Ebola treatment ward MSF has had to set up in the capital of Guinea. Yes, there are hospitals in the affected African countries- but the level of decontamination and quarantine technology they have is NOWHERE near the Bio Safety Level-4 standard facilities Emory Hospital or the CDC has. (Not many countries around the world even have such facilities.) In rural areas- where it’s believed the outbreaks began, they don’t even have access to proper healthcare or a consistent supply of clean running water- otherwise- the virus is actually killed easily by disinfectants or UV ray decontamination. 

See the difference? If Ebola spreads around the world, it’s probably not going to be via the already carefully watched and strictly quarantined US Ebola patients, but because the doctors battling it in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea aren’t able to stamp out the outbreak. It’ll more likely spread through an unsuspecting tourist or businessman on a perfectly legitimate passport getting on a commercial flight to another continent- if everyone doesn’t help to put it out at its source. So, spare a thought for those really in the line of fire and help them however you can.

Again, please consider DONATING to Doctors Without Borders here (UK site) or here (US site). The site doesn’t really matter as you can donate no matter what country you’re from- the form is easy to fill up. Even if it’s a small amount, that donation is gonna buy another pair of gloves or boots or a protective suit. 

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Ebola Is A Deadly Virus — But Doctors Say It Can Be Beaten

Saidu Kanneh was given a hero’s welcome last week when he walked into a community meeting about Ebola in a tiny village of mud huts in the Kissi Kama region of Sierra Leone. Kanneh was diagnosed with Ebola early in July, was treated for 12 days in a Doctors Without Borders hospital and overcame the disease.

"God has made me as an example to survive and then get into the community to talk to my people," says Kanneh, who’s about 40 years old and runs a health clinic near the border with Guinea and Liberia. In treating Ebola cases, he too caught the disease — he thinks he may have been infected from contact with the bodily fluids that transmit the disease, perhaps because of a gap between his rubber gloves and his shirt sleeve.

Kanneh’s message is that not every patient dies.

And there are signs of hope: changes taking place that could be key to stopping the West African outbreak that began in March and has so far seen 1,032 cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with more than 600 deaths.

"There is no cure but that does not mean we can’t treat it with success," says Tim Jagatic,a Canadian physician at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kailahun where Kanneh was treated — a series of tents set up in a field.

He says the human body can figure out how to combat it: “This is just a virus. It’s a virus like influenza. When we have influenza we know we stay home, take our fluids and let our bodies do the rest. That’s the same thing that we are doing here.

Continue reading.

Top: Sylvester Jusu, a Red Cross volunteer, wears a suit and goggles to protect himself from contracting Ebola.

Bottom left: The burial team waits outside the house of someone who may have died of Ebola.

Bottom right: The team is sprayed with disinfectant after removing the body.

Photos by Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Got ‘Em Coach: This play changed my life as a kid. As an adult, however, I can’t help but think about how Kevin Mitchell, despite making the catch, really dropped the proverbial ball. How so?

If you make a full speed, running, barehanded catch, you must eat the baseball. This is a great baseball play, right? Well, imagine how incredible it’d be if Mitchell made this play, and then ate the baseball.

Follow along at http://gotemcoach.com and @GotEm_Coach.

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Please help us in our drive to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. Every dollar helps and goes directly to providing vaccinations, lifesaving surgical procedures, or even just clean water for someone who may not otherwise have access to medical care. Please consider donating whatever you can. Contributions from one dollar and above make you eligible to win a variety of raffle prizes.

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Filipinos are losing patience with the slow relief effort, increasingly angry with their president, Benigno S. Aquino III, a popular figure who has until now navigated multiple crises during his three years in office…Although planes have begun arriving with badly needed supplies, much of the aid remains undistributed because of impassable roads, a dearth of working vehicles and inadequate access to fuel. “The situation is catastrophic; it’s total chaos,” Dr. Natasha Reyes, the Philippines emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement.

more.

What if the medicines that could save your life cost a hundred times what you earn in a year?

Many people in developing countries can’t get hold of the treatment they need to stay alive and healthy.That’s why Médecins Sans Frontières launched the MSF Access Campaign in 1999 to find ways of ensuring that medicines could be made available for all our patients and others in developing countries.

Our mission is to increase access to – and the development of – affordable, practical and effective drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests for diseases that affect people in places where we work.

Ebola- how to (really) help

On tumblr, we’ve seen a lot of panic, conspiracy theories, shouts about racism and unfairness, particularly regarding the two Americans getting the serum.

Anyway, one such post has almost 10,000 notes. And that’s a massive waste of time.

Why? If those 9, 641 people had ALL also donated one dollar each to aid organisations, that would have bought a pretty big shipment of gloves, goggles, buckets of chlorine and all the other basic, tried and tested protective equipment the doctors there need to do their work. Yes, I’m calling out this post. Even though I know quite a number of people reblogging it have actually been trying to explain that this isn’t like drug companies withholding proven HIV antiretrovirals by charging astronomical prices, I feel it summarises the way sometimes people here get angry but don’t channel it in a manner that helps. 

  • It’s understandable why you’re frightened, scared or angry behind the keyboard- this disease is indeed horrible- but that ALONE doesn’t help anybody there. And it’s important the outbreak is stopped at its source, or it will most definitely become everybody’s problem. 

What we can do from far away is to donate to the international aid organisations on the frontlines trying to control the epidemic. I’m not under any illusion that this is equivalent to the sacrifices made and risks taken by the healthcare professionals actually face to face with the virus. But it helps.

  • It’s important to donate because although there is no licensed drug or vaccine for Ebola, I CANNOT emphasise more that the situation is NOT completely hopeless. Although this strain, Zaire ebolavirus, normally has a mortality rate of 90%, so far, around 40% of African patients in this outbreak have managed to survive. And it seems that higher survival rates are due to early medical intervention. This basically consists of supportive care like keeping patients hydrated with IVs, giving them antibiotics to fight off any other infections, and trying to ensure they don’t bleed to death. All that helps to keep patients alive long enough for their bodies to manufacture the antibodies that eventually kill the virus.

(x) This lady is Sia Bintou Kamano- she was infected with Ebola, and after 10 days fighting the virus in an MSF clinic, she has just been told by the doctor and nurse that her latest blood tests have shown that the virus has been beaten- and that she can now go home.

So- here get cracking. Donate to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), aka Doctors Without Borders, which is one of main organisations providing critical Ebola emergency care, and which is still operating there (a few others have pulled out). I have donated, and I assure you the form is very easy and fast to fill up. You can go directly to the donation page, or go to this page below, where you can learn more about what MSF is doing in West Africa

I have linked to the UK website, because it seems to have a direct donation form that is collecting funds specifically for the Ebola epidemic, unlike the US website. It looks like this- you can type in any amount too: 

I understand a lot of people on tumblr don’t speak English as a first language, so if you want to read about MSF in a language you’re more familiar with you can click here to go to MSF’s main international website- the front page has a drop down list that allows you to choose your country: 

If you really cannot spare any cash, then encourage others to donate. MSF is an amazingly dedicated aid organisation that is really worth supporting- it is also operating in conflict zones around the world. MSF doctors are also in Gaza:

I know I have mentioned MSF before on my previous posts, and I’m doing so again because they are a great international aid organisation I have followed for years ever since I first read about them. Doctors from all over the world, not just developed countries, volunteer with them. 

And finally- quite often, I have seen posts that seem to sometimes characterise the situation as just poor Africans that need to be saved by Western doctors and medicine- as passive victims. And I want to emphasise that although there has been a lot of panic amongst locals especially in the rural areas where people are poor and not well-educated, this not the entire story.

  •  In this present Ebola outbreak, for example, a lot of MSF staff are West Africans themselves- they are all putting themselves at risk to do their part, from fellow doctors, nurses to the sanitation teams that hose down treatment rooms. I am posting these pictures below because as much as I want people to be motivated by the severity of the situation- I want to also show that it’s encouraging how people there are not going down without a fight. All the more, they deserve our support. Can you imagine? These people may be shunned by their own communities who know they go in and deal with Ebola patients everyday. So that’s real courage and sacrifice. 

(x) Cokie van der Velde, a sanitation specialist who volunteered with MSF in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. She and the two men with her are part of a team responsible for cleaning the isolation wards and moving the bodies of victims. It’s a dangerous job because they come in contact with a lot of infected bodily fluids. 

(x) People preparing to enter an isolation ward at an MSF clinic

(x)

(x) Monia Sayah, an MSF nurse, explains to hospital staff in Guinea how the Ebola virus is transmitted and what they can do to protect themselves and their patients.

(x) A dressing assistant helps an MSF worker put on protective gear- ensuring that suits are worn correctly is extremely important because they will be exposed to highly infectious bodily fluids. 

So, please, please support them or tell others to do so- they are really trying their best and your donation and your voice- will make a difference. 

Donation links: [Ebola Emergency Appeal] [General Donations to support MSF’s other work]

Photo:Ain el-Helweh in Saida is the largest camp hosting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Lebanon 2013 © Aurelie Lachant/MSF.

From Damascus to Ain el-Helweh: Palestinians in Syria Flee to Lebanon

“I’m deeply sad inside, but I need to appear strong in front of my family,” says a man called Mahmood while sitting in the narrow room he now shares with his wife and six-year-old son in the Ain el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon. Until almost two months ago, he’d been living in another camp for Palestinians, this one in Damascus, but the conflict in Syria had made it impossible to stay.

“It’s very difficult,” he says. “Seven of my relatives were killed by the bombings and shootings in Syria. We saw their mutilated bodies. I buried them myself and buried my neighbors too. My son disappeared. One month later, my brother disappeared. I’m sure they got killed and this is causing me a lot of sadness.”

Doctors Without Borders Pulls Out Of Somalia Due To ‘Extreme Violence’

The aid group Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday that it’s closing all operations in Somalia after 22 years because of the increase in violent attacks and abuse against its staff.

"This is the most difficult announcement that I’ve had to make as MSF president," Dr. Unni Karunakara said at a press conference from Kenya. “Respect for humanitarian principles no longer exists in Somalia today.”

Over the past 22 years, the nonprofit has provided basic and emergency health care to millions in the country through chronic wars and famines.

"Armed groups and civilians are increasingly supporting, tolerating and condoning the killing, assaulting and abuse of humanitarian aid workers," Karunakara said. "We have reached our limits."

Sixteen people working for the group have been killed in the last 22 years. Dozens have been attacked.

Two members of the group were brutally killed in Mogadishu in December 2011. A few months earlier, two aid workers were violently kidnapped from a refugee camp across the border in Kenya. The women were held hostage for nearly two years until their release in July.

Doctors Without Borders was the only group providing any type of health care in many parts of Somalia, Karunakara said. Now hundreds of thousands of people will be left with no services at all. “This is the sad fact and reality in Somalia today,” he said.

For instance, the group operated the only pediatric clinic in Mogadishu and provided the only place in some cities for women to get C-sections.

In 2012 alone, the group has delivered more 7,000 babies, treated more than 30,000 malnourished kids and vaccinated 60,000.

Continue reading.

In the photograph, a nurse prepares medications at an MSF clinic in Dadaab refugee camp, across the Somali border in Kenya (Internews Network/Flickr.com)

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The Greatest Baseball Movie GIFS Of All-Time - Field Of Dreams

Remember when your Dad used to smoke cigarettes in his garage and look out at the lawn when it rained? Or maybe you caught him washing a dish and watched him stop and look out the window into the middle distance? What was he doing? He’s thinking about this movie. 

This film stars Kevin Costner, baseball, and sunsets. I’m in full favor of starting a petition to have the entertainment industry stop calling it ‘The Magic Hour’ and to start calling it ‘Field Of Dreams Time.’ Has any movie ever captured the earth’s rotation in relation to our life-giving sun better than this one? And this is a movie with Timothy Busfield. There’s already a lot of red in it. 

Evan Kaufman is a writer/comedian living in New York City. He does improv and watches a lot of movies. 

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With your support, we’ve reached our goal of raising $4,000 to support Doctors Without Borders and now hustle towards $5,000. Your continued support will ensure that Doctors Without Borders can continue to provide immunizations, medical aid, and clean water in over 60 countries around the world. Your donation, even as little as one dollar, enters you for a variety of great raffle prizes. Please donate now

From the series MSF in 2013:

“At one point, we operated for 40 hours with only one two-hour break. Then we slept for three hours, and operated for another 12 hours after that.”
—Dr. John de Csepel, Doctors Without Borders trauma surgeon in Syria
An MSF surgeon operates on a patient in an inflatable operating theatre set up inside a converted chicken farm in Syria. Photo © Robin Meldrum/MSF

youtube

Starved for Attention: Rewriting the Story of Child Malnutrition from Doctors without Borders

Learn more here.

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Hit Hard By Ebola, Liberia Now Has A Third Treatment Center

The Ebola outbreak has been spreading through Liberia with alarming speed — more than 780 cases, with 100 identified over a recent two-day period. Yet for weeks there have been only two places in the country where patients could get medical care, one in the country’s rural north and one in the capital, Monrovia.

Doctors Without Borders has now opened a third facility.

The new center sits in the middle of a vast, muddy field on the outskirts of Monrovia. Orange mesh fencing surrounds long white tents. The facility has only been open for an hour and already about a dozen men, women and children are waiting outside. They had arrived hours earlier, dispersed when it began raining heavily and then returned.

"I’ve been trying to find them for the last hour or two but thankfully they’ve come back and we’ll screen them," says Brett Adamson, the coordinator of the center. Like everyone here, he’s soaking wet. He looks over at the people in line and says there’s a good possibility many of them have Ebola.

"These are patients that have been to the existing facility and [there was] no space," Adamson says. "They’ve essentially been turned away, and they’ve been waiting for us to open."

Continue reading.

Top Photo: A man sits on a bed that will be part a new Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, run by Doctors Without Borders.

Bottom Photo: A nurse dons protective gear before entering the new Ebola treatment facility in Monrovia.