doctors without borders

Nyandwi Velelia lives in Tanzania’s Nduta refugee camp. She has just given birth to triplets at the camp’s MSF-run maternity ward, where almost 490 babies were born last month. Nyandwi and her new baby boys are all healthy. 

Challenges lie ahead for these precious guys- their new home is a tent that leaks when it rains, and their cradle will be a simple mat on the floor. 

Nyandwi is one of 89,000 people now living in Nduta camp - where overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions are contributing to a spike in diseases such as malaria.

Photo: Eleanor Weber-Ballard

In 2011, 39 year old Prisca enrolled as a patient in the MSF HIV/AIDS project in Zimbabwe. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2008 and became pregnant by her second husband in 2010, whom she had met at the project. She named her daughter, Shamiso and gave birth in January of 2011. In Shona, one of the widest spoken languages in Zimbabwe, Shamiso means ‘miracle’. And a miracle she was. When tested, Shamiso’s tests came back with a result that truly shocked Prisca – HIV negative. Because of that, Prisca even thought of having a second child with her husband.

Now Shamiso is 5 years old and is a fully healthy and functioning child, even attending school. 

“I had not known about MSF’s HIV program before I went and got tested but when I tested positive, I followed all the instructions I was given, but I still thought my child would be HIV positive. I had lost all hope but I got assistance and through that, I was able to give birth to an HIV negative child.”

These are the dramatic photos coming out of the Mediterranean.

Despite winter weather and rough seas, migrants and refugees are continuing to attempt the perilous crossing from Libya to mainland Europe.

Photographer Kevin McElvaney documented a few night rescues. It’s January and almost everyday our search and rescue ship assists a new boat.

A crew member from the jointly operated MSF - SOS Mediterranee vessel MV Aquarius collects life jackets from a small wooden boat after a successful rescue operation.

In 2016, Doctors Without Borders teams on board of Dignity, Bourbon Argos and Aquarius (in partnership with SOS Mediterranee) have directly rescued 21,603 people and assisted 8969, a total of 30,572 in more than 200 different operations.

May 2017 bring #safepassage and a place to call home for those fleeing war, violence and despair.
Doctors Without Borders Staffers Were Shot While Fleeing Hospital Bombed By U.S.
That revelation and more were in the Doctors Without Borders internal report on the Kunduz Attack, released Thursday. More than 30 staff and patients were killed during the U.S. airstrikes.
By Jessica Simeone

Doctors Without Borders staff made several distress calls to both U.S. and Afghan officials while the facility was being bombed. The initial call was placed at 2:19 a.m. By 2:52 a.m. a reply from Resolute Support was received, saying, “I’m sorry to hear that, I still do not know what happened.” The hospital staff sent another message, insisting the strikes stop and were told “I’ll do my best, praying for you all.”

Badly injured staff members fled the building including one nurse who was “covered head to toe in debris and blood with his left arm hanging from a small piece of tissue…” and another who was bleeding out of his left eye. That’s when staff say that gunfire hit them, most likely coming from a plane.

In Belgrade, about 2,000 people, mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria, are currently sleeping in abandoned buildings in the city center, while temperatures plummet far below freezing.

We are witnessing the most cruel and inhumane consequences of European policies, which are being used to deter and victimize those who are only seeking safety and protection in Europe

since we’re on the topic, imo médicins sans frontièrs/doctors without borders is really one of the best charities to donate to; they send medical staff to disaster zones all over the world (ranging from wars to natural disasters), or just any place that needs help. they provide emergency and also basic healthcare services. they also have an approach that focuses on training local medical staff, rather than just passing donations to other contractors who then take further cuts (coughARCcough). they have also been speaking up about things like the profiteering in the pharmaceutical industry. i’ve been donating to them for a while & my family doc has volunteered with them a number of times. they’ve also been sending me newsletters showing the latest work they’re doing and how to help. they’re a good charity to donate to if you’re able to spare some money. 


Thanks to your support in 2016, we were able to bring care to remote areas, respond to disasters, fight diseases, and treat the vulnerable.

We’re ready for what comes next in 2017.

Dr. Ilaria Moneta, Italian pediatrician currently on a MSF mission in the Central African Republic

“One of the patients who touched me the most is an 18 months old boy who was suffering from pneumonia and severe malnutrition.

He was very weak when he was admitted, but improved significantly during his 10 days stay with us. You know, it’s not good for small children to stay that long in a hospital. But this little boy recovered remarkably, and towards the end of his stay he was so much better, always giving me a big smile when I would come, grabbing my hand, wanting to engage.

But yesterday he came back for his follow up appointment, and he worried me. He lost a lot of weight in a week – that’s not good for a such a young child. I could see right away that he was not well: he didn’t recognize me anymore, he was sad, he was like another person. I wanted to hospitalize him again to keep an eye on him, but we couldn’t. They live in town, so at least they don’t have to travel far to come to us. They didn’t come back today, so he must be doing OK. I hope so.

The reality of pneumonia can be very scary and dangerous. Each year, it takes the lives of nearly one million kids. There’s a vaccine to prevent it, but it’s too expensive for many countries to afford. That’s why we need #Pfizer and #GSK to drop the price to $5/child for all developing countries and humanitarian organizations. #AskPharma

ISTANBUL — Airstrikes on rebel-held areas in the Syrian city of Aleppo destroyed a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders, the aid group said Thursday, killing at least 14 patients and staff in the latest attacks that have all but unraveled a cease-fire accord.

A separate airstrike killed as many as 20 people, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, amid mounting worries among international relief coordinators and diplomats that Syria’s conflict could be moving onto dangerous new ground with Aleppo as a pivot point.

Voluntourism sucks

All it does is line the pockets of poverty profiteers (and, in some cases, human traffickers), give privileged people warm fuzzies for their western savior complex, and give kids abandonment issues. If you want to help, on your next vacation, donate the money you would have spent on your voluntourism trip donating to a reputable charity or buying things from a startup business in a developing area and stay home. Like, literally, you would be doing 1000% more good staying home and binge-watching something on Netflix after making a five-second donation of whatever your travel budget was to a reputable charity than you would going on a voluntourism trip.

Why? Because the kids whom you’ll meet and bond with will suffer intense abandonment issues when you leave.

Why? Because chances are you’re not a construction expert, and that wall you built will end up falling (or being torn) down the second you leave.

Why? Because kids need healthcare, protection and education, not single-serving friends bearing hand-made bracelets.

Why? Because there have literally been human traffickers who have stolen kids from their homes to serve as orphans for voluntourism enterprises.

Why? Because two weeks of untrained, touristy labor is not going to do much in the long run.

Why? Because it reinforces a lot of damaging stereotypes, including the “Poor, starving, diseased Africa” ones and the White/Western Savior ones. 

Seriously, if you want to do good for people who need it, sponsor a kid so they can have school supplies and transport, give to organizations like Project Nurture, that connect agricultural businesses in Kenya and Uganda to mainstream markets. Use the money you’d have spent for air travel, lodging, travel supplies, and “connections” on donating to The Girl Project, Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health, or YES Liberia instead. Do at-home volunteer work (until you’ve undergone proper training and can pay for insurance, vaccinations, transports, etc, at your own expense. Taking care of unskilled volunteers in other countries is often a drain on a lot of charities’ resources). Just do anything but voluntourism, please.

Our staff was lucky to get a beautiful smile from Raghad! 

She’s at the ambulatory therapeutic feeding center in the MSF Mother and Child Hospital in Al Houban, Taiz, for the fourth time. Her dad, Khaled, who works in a metal workshop, brings her in once every week, to get therapeutic food for her for the next week. Months ago, mom fell sick, too weak to breastfeed her, and was hospitalized at a private hospital. Raghad’s aunt have been taking care of her, feeding her some rice and artificial baby milk - but milk is hard to find now, and it’s very expensive. 

Here in Taiz, most of the health facilities have been forced to close, and it is the people that suffer, unable to get the medical care they so desperately need. The food prices have soared and unemployment is high. Many children suffer from malnutrition.