From the Ground Up: Building a Drug-Resistant TB Program in Uganda
Uganda is one of the world’s 22 high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB). Despite having a national treatment program for drug-sensitive TB, there has been an emergence of drug-resistant strains of the disease, which are presenting a new and urgent threat to people’s health. So far in Uganda, 226 cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) have been confirmed, spread across 40 districts, but the true figure is likely to be much higher.
The best way to stop the disease from spreading is to start patients on treatment early. Aware of the urgency of the problem, the Ugandan government is taking steps to start treating DR-TB. Funding for DR-TB drugs is on its way, the drug order has been placed, and the government is planning a 40-bed ward for DR-TB patients in Mulago hospital in Kampala.
MSF firmly believes that a feasible model of care already exists in the Ugandan context. Since 2009, MSF has been running a community-based and comprehensive TB treatment program in Kitgum, in northern Uganda, hand in hand with the Ministry of Health.
Photo: Uganda 2011 © Andrea Stultiens
MDR-TB patient Oyella Mercy’s family in Kitgum
Chad: “Prevention is the Important Issue”
In December 2011, Doctors Without Borders nurse Marja Scholten coordinated a vaccination campaign in the African country of Chad. Along with a team of 300 people, she ensured that nearly 110,000 people were vaccinated against meningitis.
Meningitis, which causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain, is responsible for many deaths every year. The disease is particularly prevalent in the so-called “meningitis belt,” an area in sub-Saharan Africa that includes Chad. This year we were working with the new vaccine MenAfriVac, which provides protection for far longer than other vaccines: ten years as opposed to the two or three years offered by other vaccines.
This was the first time we were involved in a preventative campaign—normally we start to vaccinate once a disease has already broken out, but with meningitis A prevention is the important issue. Training was planned involving all the heads of the health centers in the area.
Photo: Chad 2012 © Marja Scholten
An MSF staff member uses the new MenAfriVac vaccine to vaccinate a young girl against mengingitis A.
A 20-year-old woman who’d lived in the north but returned to the south ahead of independence cares for her malnourished baby at Aweil Hospital in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.
MSF treated hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan, which officially became the world’s newest nation in July. But the hopes of its people were tempered by poverty, displacement, and vast medical needs, all of which are exacerbated by widespread insecurity on both sides of the border with Sudan.
Photo: South Sudan © Q. Sakamaki/Redux
In the Starved for Attention film “Why Do We Have To Wait For A Crisis?” photojournalist Lynsey Addario documents the food crisis in Somalia and northeastern Kenya. All children have the same nutritional needs to grow and thrive. It shouldn’t take a war or famine to occur before vulnerable children have access to a healthy diet.
Photo: © Lynsey Addario/VII
MSF directs more resources to its projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo than anywhere else, and employs a field staff of more than 2,000. MSF has been operating in the Kivu area of Eastern Congo for nearly 20 years. In the Starved for Attention film “The Malnutrition That Shouldn’t Be,” photojournalist Franco Pagetti reveals the daily struggle to survive in North Kivu’s forbidding bush and teeming, fetid displaced persons camps, where food is scarce and the people are on edge, ready to run at a moment’s notice.
This is one of 195 million stories of malnutrition. Sign the petition to help us rewrite the story.
Photo: Democratic Republic of Congo 2009 © Franco Pagetti/VII
Mbandaka, DR Congo (Robin Meldrum, 2011)
“The plastic sheeting fence surrounding MSF’s CTC in Mbandaka has slits at regular intervals to slot it being blown down in strong gusts of wind. But these slits let curious passers-by look in to see what goes on inside the CTC. A cholera epidemic has spread more than 1,000km from Kisangani down the Congo river to the outskirts of Kinshasa.”
I strongly urge you to check out the MSF photoblog if you haven’t already.
MSF condemned an agreement between Italy and the Libyan National Transition Council that would repatriate immigrants fleeing the ongoing war in Libya. Learn more.
Photo: Italy 2011 © Jorge Dirkx
MSF Launches Access to Essential Medicines Campaign
With millions of people dying every year from treatable infectious diseases, MSF starts an international effort to push for increased access to medicines for the world’s poor.
MSF Awarded Nobel Peace Prize
MSF is honored for its “pioneering humanitarian work on several continents.”
Photo: Georgia 2003 © Simon Lourie
Civil War in Somalia
MSF runs surgical programs in war-stricken Mogadishu and aids refugees in neighboring countries.
Kurdish Refugees Flee Northern Iraq
In its largest emergency response to date, MSF provides care in Turkey, Iran, and Jordan to Kurds driven from their homes by the advancing Iraqi army.
War in Bosnia
MSF runs medical and mental health programs in the region and provides assistance in the UN’s supposed “protected zones” of Gorazde and Srebrenica.
Photo: Somalia 1992 © John Reardon
Starved for Attention
Help us get 100,000 signatures by the end of the day on our petition to change food aid policy for malnourished children around the world. We’re at 99,775 now, so close to our goal!
Sign the petition and reblog to rewrite the story of malnutrition for 195 million children.
Photo: Burkina Faso, 2009 © Jessica Dimmock/VII Network
Today, international donors expect doctors to tell patients to come back for treatment when they’re at death’s door. This is bad medicine. As a doctor, I’d much rather give a patient pills today and send her home, than delay treatment and see her in six months at the hospital with complicated tuberculosis.Dr. Eric Goemaere, Medical Coordinator for MSF in South Africa in the MSF special report Ten Stories That Mattered in Access to Medicines in 2010 (via doctorswithoutborders)
Foods we would never give our own children are being sent overseas as food aid to the most vulnerable children in malnutrition hotspots in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. This double standard must stop.Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF International Council President in the MSF special report Ten Stories That Mattered in Access to Medicines in 2010 (via doctorswithoutborders)
MSF staff treat a child with symptoms of cholera at the 50-bed cholera treatment center in Sarthe, in the west of Port-au-Prince (there is also a 150-bed cholera treatment unit at Sarthe). The cholera outbreak in Haiti continues to grow; the total death toll surpassed 1,000 this week, according to the government.
© Ron Haviv/VII
Responding to the widespread and massive needs for cholera treatment in Haiti is a daunting task. MSF continues to treat high numbers of patients in the Artibonite region, where the outbreak originated. (via doctorswithoutborders)