All the warning lights are flashing red this year: drought, the high prices of grains and fertilisers exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, reduced imports and speculation, numerous armed conflicts, a record number of refugees to be fed, disengagement of institutional donors,… With the exception of locusts, all the determinants of severe food scarcity are there, from Afghanistan to the Sahel, including Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. To the point of threatening all of the progress that was made in treating undernutrition after the 2005 crisis in Niger, which was the starting point for global advances in managing malnutrition in places where it is commonplace. It is time for a general mobilisation to limit the scale of the coming catastrophe. Interview with Jean-Hervé Bradol by Elba Rahmouni.
Based on the example of the hospital in Moïssala, Chad, the two authors reflect on the management of pain in children at Médecins Sans Frontières. This article was first published on March 25th 2022 in the journal Alternatives Humanitaires.
In a country with a solid medical infrastructure and faced with a large-scale international mobilisation, what is the place of MSF in Ukraine and beyond? "We are not currently in the front line of emergency care provision," write Thierry Allafort Duverger and Michael Neuman, who see our work in limited areas, particularly with those "left behind," and in the longer term.
The film Empire of Silence, directed by Thierry Michel, examines the massacres committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1996 to the present. In this blog, Marc Le Pape introduces the film’s structure, some of the principal witnesses to the mass executions and some of the military and political actors responsible for them, and Congolese reactions to their impunity.
This article was first released in the 18th volume of the Humanitarian Alternatives magazine. Designed to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in a Kenyan district, a Médecins Sans Frontières project successfully exceeded the “90-90-90” target set by UNAIDS. A look back on the results that the authors of this article - Pierre Mendiharat, Deputy director of operations at MSF France and Léon Salumu Luzinga, Program manager at MSF France, interviewed by Elba Rahmouni - believe are encouraging but by no means a guarantee that the epidemic will be over by 2030.
In his book, La Traversée. Une odyssée au cœur de l’Afrique, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry challenges the reality of Hutu Rwandan refugees’ hunt and massacre facing the advancement of the Rwandan Patriotic Army and their Congolese allies in 1996-97. This systematic exercise of denying reality – especially the denial of the Mapping Report written by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1143 pages, published in June 2009) – but also this denial of Human Rights Advocacy groups’ investigations, and those of journalists’ witnesses present in DRC at the time – does not spare MSF’s teams who came to help these refugees in 1996-97. However, as a front-line witness of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, MSF was also one of the organizations noticing the intense violence perpetrated by the new Rwandan political regime in Zaire / DRC back in 1996 and 1997, mostly against a population constituted at three-quarters of women and children.
“Humanitarianism in the Modern World. The moral economy of famine relief” published by Cambridge University Press, is an open access book written by a team of three people, whose aim is to provide a history of contemporary humanitarianism through the prism of famines. Norbert Götz, Georgina Brewis and Steffen Werther are treading on fertile ground, as the number of publications on the history of humanitarianism has multiplied in recent years. However, the contribution they present here is rich and original.
We can all agree that the emergence of Covid-19 vaccine is “an absolutely astonishing development”, but vaccines are unlikely to completely halt the spread of the virus, let alone eradicate it. Yet even without achieving herd immunity, the ability to vaccinate vulnerable people seems to be reducing hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19.
The “disappeared” of Congo-Zaire, 1996-1997. The question of the massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo03/30/2021
There is a new book out by Patrick de Saint-Exupéry entitled La traversée. Une odyssée au cœur de l’Afrique [The crossing. An odyssey in the heart of Africa]. What odyssey? Crossing the Congo (Zaire, later the Democratic Republic of Congo) from Rwanda. The author describes his encounters, the beers he had here and there, the bumpy rides on the back of a motorcycle (to Kisangani), a trip down the Congo River, flying over the dense forest on his way to Mbandaka.
Within four months of the first notification of Ebola cases in August 2018, the Nord Kivu (and Ituri) Ebola epidemic had become the second-largest on record. Notwithstanding a rapid and massive mobilisation of resources, the outbreak continued beyond the most pessimistic predictions and the case fatality rate (the proportion of people with the infection who die from it) remained static at 66%. Despite numerous lesson-learning exercises following the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014–2016, and despite the development of new vaccines and treatments, after 3,444 cases and 2,264 deaths it is difficult to claim that outcomes are better this time around.
This article was published in Mouvements magazine on March 24, 2021. In the early spring of 2020, the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) launched a mission in nursing homes in the Ile-de-France region, which had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. After considering the implementation of night-time palliative care, the organization finally decided to provide daytime support to the nursing homes in difficulty. Once the crisis was over in the summer, the MSF teams started offering mental health support to nursing home staff. A look back at this experience on September 28, 2020 with four members of the mission, Olivia Gayraud (project coordinator), Jean-Hervé Bradol (M.D. and CRASH1 member), Marie Thomas (psychologist) and Michaël Neuman (CRASH coordinator).
This article was first published in Issue 2, Volume 2 of The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.
How can a medical humanitarian organisation deliver emergency assistance in Syria when there is nowhere in the country where civilians, the wounded and their families, medical personnel and aid workers are not targeted? Not in the areas controlled by the government, nor in those held by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the different rebel groups. So what action could be taken, and how? Remotely or on site? At the very least, we had to decipher the diverging political and military agendas, and then adapt, persist or sometimes just give up. In this article, I will present the full range of methods used to acquire knowledge and obtain information as well as the various networks used to carry out this venture. I will also show how Médecins Sans Frontières’ operations became a balancing act, punctuated by episodes of adapting to the various difficulties encountered.