Fieldset
Ten powerful stories from our staff in 2021

Throughout the year our teams have been working to get medical care to people caught up in humanitarian emergencies. Here are their accounts of what they've seen, in their own words...

Breaking down the wall: Trauma surgery in Haiti

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An MSF surgical team at Tabarre trauma hospital in Haiti prepare to treat a patient
An MSF surgical team at Tabarre trauma hospital in Haiti prepare to treat a patient

There was nothing else we could have done. No one is at fault except whoever pulled the trigger.

Haitians have lived through multiple crises in 2021, including a major earthquake. In the capital city, Port-au-Prince, MSF teams provide specialist care to trauma and burns victims. Surgeon Francesco Virdis shared his very human experience after an intense assignment there.

FRANCESCO'S STORY >

 

Central African Republic: After the rumours, the bombs

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An MSF health promoter addresses the people taking refuge in the hospital
An MSF health promoter addresses the people taking refuge in the hospital

I do not yet realise that what I can hear are detonations and machine guns, but my body understands...

In the early days of 2021, rumours were spreading fast in the Central African town of Bangassou: an attack was imminent. Anthropogist Dale was part of MSF team working there at the time, and shared this account.

DALE'S STORY >

 

The hymn: A young life in the balance in the ICU

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A painting in Aweil’s market created to promote giving blood donations during malaria season
A painting in Aweil’s market created to promote giving blood donations during malaria season

He is no longer breathing on his own… Deng’s life is literally in our hands

After years of conflict, many people in South Sudan face difficulties accessing essentials like food and medical care. In the remote town of Aweil, the odds were against a critically ill child and the team fighting to save him. Paediatrician Madeleine shared the story...

MADELEINE'S STORY >

 

"Born under attack to be buried under attack, a life without rest in Gaza"

Every day I went to work and left my family at home, knowing that any time there could be a strike...

In May 2021, Gaza was enveloped in a new wave of violence. As the bombs fell, doctors Mohammed Abu Mughaisib and Natalie Thurtle were coordinating medical activities in the territory. They reflect on their very different experiences…

MOHAMMED & NATALIE'S STORY >

 

“I congratulate you on your courage”: Helping survivors of sexual violence overcome stigma

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Garden at Tongolo centre, Bangui

I reassured the survivor that her suffering was real and that I valued her courage

Counsellor Gwladys explains the significant impact of stigma, and how she and her team at MSF's Tongolo project in the Central African Republic are helping survivors rebuild their lives.

GWLADYS' POST >

 

Malnutrition in Madagascar: Life, death and drums

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A local health centre, or 'CSB' in Madagascar

How many children die like this for lack of affordable community care?

This year the worst drought to hit the region in 30 years led to a food crisis in Madagascar.  Nurse Benjamin Le Dudal shared the experience of one mobile clinic team as they worked to get therapeutic foods and basic medical care to families hit hard by the emergency.

BENJAMIN'S POST >

 

COVID-19 in India: “We’re working to protect our community”

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An MSF health promoter handing out supplies in Mumbai

We’re all part of this community and are really motivated to help as much as we can

As India faced a surge in COVID-19 cases that overwhelmed hospitals and healthcare staff, MSF launched an emergency response to help tackle the spread in hard-hit Mumbai. Health promoter Santosh explained the scale of the work...

SANTOSH'S STORY >

 

“I could see the joy on their faces”: Life-saving care in northern Nigeria

When I came to the office on Monday morning, the man with his wife and child were the first people I found standing at the gate...

Mohammed Dikko Abdullahi works for MSF in his hometown of Maiduguri, a city of relative security in a region which has faced over a decade of violence. He shares the story of a young family and the medical care that saves lives.

DIKKO'S STORY >

 

"She’s looking at me… she’s alive”: The extremely premature baby who fought all expectations

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Patients outside the main entrance of the MSF hospital in Lankien, South Sudan
Patients outside the main entrance of the MSF hospital in Lankien, South Sudan

And, surely, this was a great miracle. A baby born at 26 weeks, weighing just 780 grams, somehow surviving

MSF midwife Priscilla tells the powerful story of one of her tiniest and most vulnerable patients, born prematurely at a remote maternity unit in South Sudan.

PRISCILLA'S STORY >

 

Afghanistan: “There was still a chance to save her…”

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A member of staff is silhouetted in the door of Boost Hospital

If MSF wasn’t here, that poor lady would have lost her life

This year, Afghanistan has been through armed conflict, a change in government, spiralling prices and the collapse of the health system. MSF teams remained at work throughout, providing vital medical care. Dr Ajmal shares the story of a life in the balance...