Fieldset
Five compelling blogs from Doctors Without Borders - April 2020

Since the arrival of COVID-19, life in many countries has been transformed. While we miss being able to hold, comfort and celebrate with each other, one thing that hasn't changed is our staff's determination to deliver medical aid where it's needed most

* Some of these stories were written before social distancing measures were implemented *

1. Crossing the swamp to keep my promise

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An MSF mobile medical team crosses a makeshift bridge in DRC
An MSF mobile medical team crosses a makeshift bridge in DRC

Then the hurting feet, the nights in the tent, the heat and everything else becomes insignificant. We vaccinate to save lives.

Through swamps and virtually impassable forests, paediatric nurse Vera rides with a motorbike-mounted medical team – racing to vaccinate children during a deadly measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

VERA'S STORY >


2. Surprise twins: How working for MSF makes me feel connected to humanity

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The surprise twins delivered in Mamfe, Cameroon
The surprise twins delivered in Mamfe, Cameroon

I was an outsider, and yet I felt like I belonged to that moment with them

After a non-stop night on a maternity ward in the remote town of Mamfe, southwest Cameroon, US midwife Kirsti reflects on the unique moments she shares with her colleagues and patients.

KRISTI'S STORY >


3. "All stations, ready for rescue": My solemn oath to people seeking safety

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Survivors on board the Ocean Viking warm up with emergency foil blankets
Survivors on board the Ocean Viking warm up with emergency foil blankets

Amidst this unfolding and urgent organisation of chaos, I noticed a little girl. Wrapped in a foil emergency blanket, she stood still and statuesque..."

It's a cold January evening and the Ocean Viking crew is preparing for a rescue – their fourth in a row with no rest. Writing in vivid detail, communications specialist Hannah takes us on board for a dramatic night at sea. Sadly, our search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean have since ended.

HANNAH'S STORY >


4. A ‘devil’s choice’: Balancing childhood immunisation with preparing for COVID-19

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Barbara has worked as a nurse with MSF for over 11 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.
Barbara has worked as a nurse with MSF for over 11 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

Vaccines save lives. And I don’t say that because a modelling study told me so, but because I have seen it again and again

Italian nurse Barbara shares how the spread of COVID-19 has the potential to disrupt life-saving vaccination campaigns around the world – such as those being delivered by Vera and her mobile medical team in DRC – causing a worrying "double burden" for healthcare systems that could cost young lives.

BARBARA'S STORY >


5. “I want to help your country’s hospitals”: How COVID-19 should change our view of aid

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An MSF staff member examines a young patient with a head injury at a hospital in Ulang, South Sudan
An MSF staff member examines a young patient with a head injury at a hospital in Ulang, South Sudan

Understanding aid as a transactional process is fundamentally flawed. We should not help others to even up an exchange, but because of the intrinsic value of other human beings.

Logistician Dan comes to terms with the impact of COVID-19 in the UK and Europe, reflecting on how the pandemic might change society’s view of international humanitarian aid.

DAN'S STORY >