On Monday 19 September, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) launches ‘MSF Delivers’, a new campaign highlighting the work MSF does delivering babies in humanitarian emergencies across the world.
The campaign focuses on the authentic experiences of midwife Samantha Perkins, 29, from Kettering, who has spent nine months working with MSF in a war-torn part of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sam was based in North Kivu, where she supervised a busy maternity ward providing obstetrical and neonatal care to the women and babies in Masisi. Sam and her team delivered 3451 babies last year, more than the Royal Free hospital in London. Almost all of the pregnancies will have been classified as high risk – were it not for the work of Sam and her team, many of these women, and their babies, would have died.
She has a personal story to tell too – Sam and her partner met through MSF but spent their previous missions apart before being sent together to the DRC. Having delivered thousands of babies in the UK and in Africa, Sam is now expecting her first child – conceived in the Congo.
“There’s something very powerful for me about being a midwife. If you can look a woman in the eyes, if you can touch a woman and hold a woman she knows that you care, and it doesn’t matter to me if she’s an African woman or an English woman, I’m a woman and you’re a woman and I will be by your side until your baby is born.
“I’ve worked with MSF for 3 years and every day I feel very proud to put my MSF T-shirt on because I really believe in what the organisation stands for. Wherever we are in the world as MSF we make a difference.”
The campaign was conceived by MSF as an opportunity to highlight the vital hands-on medical work being done by British volunteers working for the international charity.
Supporting the campaign are a series of breathtaking 2D and 3D images taken by duckrabbit, the award-winning digital and broadcast production company, who spent ten days out in the Democratic Republic of Congo documenting Sam’s work.
“We wanted to show what we do as authentically as possible,” explains MSF’s head of communications Polly Markandya. “We’re widely known for our war surgery work, but wanted to give the public a chance to glimpse what I think of as the ‘everyday extraordinary’, that special interaction between patients and MSF medics that takes place in thousands of clinics and hospitals every day. So instead of writing a script or a storyboard, we simply sent a photographer and radio producer out to follow Sam for 10 days and created the campaign from the real stories they came back with.”
The campaign is being launched at the Royal Society of Medicine on Monday 19 September in the evening. 2D and 3D photofilms of Sam’s work will be screened, and Sam will be present and available for interview. Refreshments will be served. Media are welcome to attend.
There will also be a public exhibition of the 3D photofilms at Spitalfields Market in London from 22-27 September.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency medical aid in more than 60 countries to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters or exclusion from healthcare. Over 80% of our donations go directly to the field.
Last year 235 British people worked abroad as volunteers with MSF. MSF sends out around 3000-4000 volunteers to the field annually.