OFF THE CUFF is a participative blog run by the Crash. Its purpose is to expose the diversity of experiences and opinions that exist among humanitarian aid practitioners. Online comments as well as direct contributions are more than welcome.
Views expressed on this blog are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Médecins Sans Frontières
The Swiss editor Georg just published in open access a collection of articles edited by Sébastien Farré, Jean-François Fayet and Bertrand Taithe. This book is devoted to the emergence of humanitarian exhibitions either within wider events or in their own right, as an attempt to focus attention and make sense of the aid humanitarians provided. The book argues that this exhibition process was central to the narration of the humanitarian project. It did not simply represent humanitarian work, it helped shape its essential identity and sense of purpose. Entail the development of new ways of thinking about needs and emergencies.
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.
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.
MSF releases in English, French and in Arabic the “MSF Speaking Out: Srebrenica” podcast based on the original MSF Speaking Out Case Study (SOCS) “MSF in Srebrenica, 1993 – 2003”.
The comic book "Le Grand Voyage d'Alice" was drawn by Gaspard Talmasse and published by La boîte à bulles on November 17th. The preface of this comic book was written by Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, former president of MSF and director of studies at the Reflection center of MSF (MSF-Crash). The book won the MSF prize at the Carnet de voyages Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, held from November 19th to the 21st.
“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.
Myfanwy James is a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine & DPhil (PhD) graduate from the University of Oxford. In this video, she presents her thesis entitled: “Instruments of Identity: Médecins Sans Frontières and Humanitarian Negotiations for Access in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC)”.
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.
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.