"Even with the disease, many would be up and about, smiling in the evening after their surgery, often making us wonder if it was the same patient who we had operated on that morning."
Noma is an overlooked but dangerous disease that can leave often young patients severely disfigured – their faces changed forever by a gangrenous infection. Hafiz, a surgeon from India, shares his experience providing life-changing reconstructive surgery in Nigeria.
"With a fierce sun beating down and the weight of heavy backpacks, things began to get uncomfortable. Little did we know that things would get worse."
Our teams will always go the extra mile to reach patients, but it's not often through a vast and murky swamp. Melissa, a nurse from the UK, takes us on her epic and exhausting journey to a remote clinic in South Sudan.
"We have to believe in humanity and compassion and safeguard this space. Because it is within this space that we can end unnecessary suffering."
What can years of both living and working in conflict zones teach a person? One staff member writes this anonymous but deeply personal reflection on the impact of war and the lessons that inspired their path towards humanitarianism.
"Someone crouches down to unearth something essential that is invisible to my eyes: tired hands dig out family portraits, a T-shirt, someone’s favourite mirror. Memories of a life buried by the rain."
"Nothing symbolises the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique more than the trees," writes Brazilian doctor Ana in this poetic blog. She shares the humbling and, at times, heartbreaking stories of those who survived the devastation of this massive natural disaster.
"The baby’s heartbeat slowly begins picking up; it attempts to breathe independently – it might just make it!"
Logistician Dan is a trained first responder, but when he asks midwife Luise to teach him a few new skills, he's plunged into a life-threatening emergency where both a mother and baby face slim odds of survival. Told from two different perspectives, this action-packed story takes us inside the maternity ward in Leer, South Sudan.
"The first time our sweet patient started clapping and singing with the staff at feeding time, I knew that we were here for a reason."
In Sierra Leone, just hours after the doors to a brand new hospital open, US nurse Amanda receives a call. The first-ever patient has arrived in the emergency room– a 15-month-old girl suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Over the next few days, as more and more patients arrive, the team works hard to bring a smile to the face of their "first little lady".
"Men and boys pass me quickly, deftly negotiating the steep, bamboo-sided hill steps barefoot, while balancing eight-foot bamboo poles on their shoulders, seemingly with ease in the 40-degree heat."
How do you care for people's mental health when the situation around them is so unstable? British mental health officer Alison Fogg shares this beautifully written blog post, detailing her experience of treating Rohingya people inside the world's largest refugee camp.
"Like her mother, her body was adorned with the markings and jewellery of her tribe. She was beautiful."
A critically ill young girl is brought into a remote MSF health centre. She's unconscious and struggling to breathe. To save her, British doctor Sarah Wookey and her team need two things: dedication and luck.
"We will not stop treating her, we will not withdraw support."
In remote Old Fangak, a woman is in desperate need of medical treatment. But with no surgical facilities nearby and the runway out of action, the team's options are limited and time is running out. Australian doctor Tom shares this incredibly tense story of determination and hope.
"I told her we were twins and that we both looked beautiful – then she laughed, revealing a dazzling smile. I knew at that moment we had made a connection."
"The tsunami of emotions that washed over me, I cannot even begin to describe," writes US midwife Kristine Lauria in this powerful and personal blog. Working in a place where mental illness is poorly understood, she meets a new mum in need of psychological support and human connection.
"In Magaria, time can quickly become our enemy, so we must act swiftly."
Every year, food shortages and the rainy season trigger a spike of malnutrition and malaria in Niger, with a dramatic impact on children. At Magaria District Hospital, it's a race against the clock for doctor Viviane and her team as they try to save the life of a severely malnourished young girl...