SOME EXAMPLES OF OUR WORK IN 2014
Helping victims of conflict: the Syrian crisis
The Syrian conflict has resulted in more than 140,000 deaths and caused 2.2 million people to flee the country in three years. The number of Syrians displaced within the country is constantly increasing and is currently estimated to exceed 4.25 million: exhausted civilians have to endure unacceptable living conditions. The health system has been completely destroyed in some parts of the country and access to healthcare is becoming increasingly difficult.
Since 2013, MSF has been present in the predominantly Kurdish province of Al-Hasakah, in the north-east of Syria. Our teams are supporting several clinics and hospitals in the region, with a special focus on mother and child healthcare. MSF has also set up a health post near the Iraqi border to provide basic medical care and distribute essential supplies and water to refugees. MSF has also supported the local health authorities with a polio vaccination campaign.
For more than two years, MSF teams have also been working in neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon and Iraq, to assist Syrian refugees and other vulnerable groups. Housing, food and healthcare needs are increasing from one year to the next and the humanitarian response is far from sufficient.
Fighting malnutrition: Chad
Chad is one of the world’s poorest countries. Women and children are the first to be affected by poverty, insecurity and a lack of access to healthcare. Maternal and child mortality rates are extremely high. MSF has tackled numerous measles epidemics as well as malaria outbreaks there.
In a context of recurring food insecurity, part of Chad's population becomes very vulnerable during the lean period, before the first harvests of the year. According to a report on the district of Massakory, in the west of the country, 47% of the children covered by preventive screening in 2013 were found to be suffering from malnutrition.
Since 2010, MSF has been providing medical aid to the population of Massakory, especially to children. At the district hospital, the MSF teams deal with paediatric emergencies as well as malnutrition. MSF also supports the region's health centres to improve the treatment of common diseases and malnutrition in children aged under five years.
As children weakened by malnutrition are most vulnerable to disease, MSF organises vaccination campaigns to fight epidemics and improve coverage. Its teams have also run a campaign to prevent diarrhoea, one of the main causes of mortality among young children.
Recognising and caring for victims of violence
In a climate of political, economic and social instability, Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world, murders being one of the main causes of death in the country. According to a survey conducted by MSF in 2010, nearly 59% of homeless people under eighteen years of age said they had been the victims of physical violence during the preceding year, while 45% said they had been subjected to sexual violence. It should be noted that the country has only two public hospitals serving people without social security cover.
MSF has been working since early 2011 in the most deprived and violent districts of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, to facilitate access to medical care and psychosocial services for victims of violence. MSF outreach teams go onto the streets to meet the most vulnerable groups in order to help and organise transfers to health centres wherever necessary. MSF also supports the main hospitals and runs training courses. Its strategy is based on the Ministry of Health taking ownership of and integrating these activities into its healthcare facilities, i.e. the treatment of victims of violence by MoH staff (previously trained by MSF). Building local capacity and working to ensure the smooth takeover of these activities by the Ministry of Health is central to this strategy.