MSF worldwide work highlight (19/8-8/9)
Sep 10, 2013
With the start of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations taking place in Brunei in August, MSF warned that the negotiators were moving towards finalizing a deal that in fact would restrict access to affordable medicines and constrain governments’ ability to protect the health of their citizens. MSF urged countries to stand firm and reject harmful rules that jeopardize access to medicines.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
MSF completed a five month project in August to combat sleeping sickness in the DRC, during which more than 16,000 people were screened for the disease. The results show a low prevalence of the disease in the Bili area, in northern Orientale region, where no parasitological cases were found in those screened. To fill the health care gap in the region, an emergency room was opened in the Bili Hospital during MSF’s presence in the region.
Since the escalation of political violence in Egypt in late June, MSF’s team in Cairo has been in close and regular contact with the main public and private healthcare facilities throughout Cairo and other affected areas of the country. The team has provided medical supplies and equipment to health facilities on both sides of the clashes.
More than 42,300 Syrian refugees crossed the border into Iraqi Kurdistan since the Peshkabour border crossing reopened on 15 August. MSF teams have set up health posts on both sides of the border, providing medical consultations and distributing water to refugees waiting to be transferred to transit camps.
Violent sectarian clashes between residents of two of Lebanon’s most deprived districts in Tripoli are leaving ordinary people caught in the crossfire as they struggle to access healthcare and get on with their daily lives. MSF teams are providing medical services to people on both sides of the frontline.
Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) is presenting at an alarming rate in Myanmar, with an estimated 8,900 people newly infected every year. Yet only a fraction of patients receive treatment. Rapid scale-up of DR-TB care is urgently needed country-wide. Thus MSF, together with the Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation, co-hosted a symposium on August 22-23 in Yangon to explore new ways to accelerate DR-TB care country-wide: ‘Turning the tide on TB: Tackling DR-TB and TB/HIV co-infection in Myanmar’.
As the rainy season arrives, MSF teams in Niger have just completed an initial round of seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in mid-August, a new preventive method against malaria. The method aims at children aged between three months and five years, who receive three doses per month over the four months of the rainy season. So far, more than 184,000 children in the different districts have received initial doses of the medicine.
After 2 years of intensive treatment for extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), MSF patient Phumeza Tisile has been cured in late August, becoming the first South African patient cured of XDR-TB. The treatment programme in Khayelitsha provides XDR-TB patients with individually tailored combinations of new more effective available drugs to improve on the current standard regimen for XDR-TB.
Three hospitals in Syria's Damascus governorate that are supported by MSF have reported that they received approximately 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours on the morning of Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Of those patients, 355 reportedly died. MSF is not directly present in those hospitals, but has been providing them with drugs, medical equipment and technical support.
MSF stated that scientific confirmation of the toxic agent was required and therefore an independent investigation was needed. MSF also stated that in its role as a medical humanitarian organisation, it was not in a position to determine responsibility for the event.
MSF provided urgently needed medical care and water and sanitation in western Uganda, following an influx of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing insecurity in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, in mid-July. Medical care is provided both to refugees and locals, reaching a total catchment population of 50,000 people.