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International Activity Report 2019

Feature articles

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The features on this page examine three of the challenging contexts in which MSF staff worked in 2019. We also look back at the milestones that have marked the Access Campaign's 20-year history.

The Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Why did game-changing tools not work to their full effect? 

In August 2018, the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared an Ebola outbreak, which turned out to be the largest the country had ever known. The epidemic spread through communities in North Kivu and Ituri provinces that were already severely affected by decades of armed conflict.  

This time, it seemed that we were better prepared to respond than in previous Ebola outbreaks; we had new ‘game-changers’ – tools that could potentially bring the outbreak to a quick end. MSF International Medical Secretary Dr Mercedes Tatay examines why, despite the proven efficacy of these new tools, two out of three people with Ebola died and the virus continued to spread.  

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MSF supports the Ebola Transit Center in Bunia
Haibata and her granddaughter in Barsalogho IDP camp

The Sahel: Civilians trapped in a deadly spiral of violence

A complex security crisis has been developing across the Sahel since 2012, due to the emergence and proliferation of armed groups across the region. Beginning in northern Mali and then spreading to its central regions, the crisis has gradually engulfed northern Burkina Faso and western Niger and is threatening the stability of all the other neighbouring countries.

Côme Niyongabo, MSF’s Deputy Head of Programmes for the Sahel, explains the complex context in which civilians bear the brunt of the spiralling violence.

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Less than human: How Europe’s policies harm refugees, migrants and asylum seekers

People leave their homes for many reasons. Some are fleeing war, others persecution or extreme hardship. Whatever the reason, they usually share a common objective, which is to secure a safe and dignified future. Across the world, MSF teams see people struggling to survive harrowing journeys and the harmful and inhumane policies put in place by governments trying to keep out refugees, migrants and asylum seekers at all costs. 

MSF Operational Communications Advisor Victoria Russell looks at the grim situation of migrants and refugees in the Balkans, France, Greece and Libya. 

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Thousands of migrants trapped ahead of Bosnian winter.
Protesters demonstrate outside Supreme Court in Pretoria, South Africa Monday March 5, 2001

Access Campaign: 20 Years of Advocacy in Action

MSF medical teams have long faced challenges in obtaining effective and affordable treatments for people in our care. In the late 1990s, as frustration mounted over people dying from treatable diseases, we began to document the problem, joining with patient groups to speak out forcefully and demand action.

In 1999, we publicly launched the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, now the Access Campaign, to tackle the policies, and the legal and political barriers that prevent people from accessing treatment. Michelle French, the Access Campaign’s former Senior Communications Manager, takes us through the milestones that have marked the Campaign’s 20-year history.

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