Six stories from the frontline of our work - December 2020

This month our teams travelled upriver in a Colombian conflict zone, helped people find strength in Palestine, and changed lives with the power of simple HIV treatments in South Sudan. And that's just for starters.

1. Guns, cocaine and conflict: Getting healthcare to communities in rural Colombia


MSF outreach travels by canoe in a small river in Nariño, en route to a community where medical services rarely penetrate.
An MSF team travel to a community in Nariño which medical services rarely reach

This is the triple whammy that affects Afro-Colombian communities here: years of institutional neglect, seemingly endless jungle and winding rivers, and the risk of guys with guns around every bend

In the remote communities of Colombia's Pacific coast, the peace process has made few inroads. MSF's programme director in the country joins a medical team as they travel upriver to communities still in the grip of armed conflict.




Dr Ebenezer Ngwakwe at work in Old Fangak hospital
Dr Ebenezer Ngwakwe at work in Old Fangak hospital

I pledged, with my right hand on my chest, that my stay here would only bring more hope to this community

With the right medications and enough to eat, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives. But what happens when you live in a place where access to these basics is a challenge? Dr Ebenezer Ngwakwe writes...


3. The two conflicts: Lessons of loss in Palestine


The city of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, where MSF provides mental health consultations
The city of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, where MSF provides mental health consultations

There is no mental health without human rights. There are no human rights without freedom...

Psychologist Marilen shares a deeply personal story from one resilient patient, and the growth that can be found in grief


4. Reaching thousands with a click: How the Rohingya helped guide COVID-19 awareness


A screenshot from an MSF broadcast for R-vision
A screenshot from an MSF broadcast for R-vision

We should always listen to the communities we try to support. They know what the knowledge gaps are, what the needs are and how to reach their people

With COVID-19 hitting the Rohingya refugee community hard, Elko Brummelman and his team knew they needed a new strategy in Malaysia. They wanted expert advice, and they knew just who to ask.



Our principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence have been at the heart of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for nearly 50 years. But what does that look like in a conflict zone? Anthropologist Dale writes…



6. "Hope on wheels": MSF's mobile clinic in Sierra Leone


MSF mobile clinic, Bumbeh village, Kenema district. The outreach team checks patients’ medical data and vaccination cards
The mobile clinic in full swing

Two weeks later, the baby was discharged, and I saw how much his condition had improved...

In Sierra Leone, one project is taking healthcare to the people, as health promoter Seinn Seinn reports...



Want more like this? Check out our top posts of 2020 >