Funding from players, which to date totals a remarkable £650,000, allows Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams around the world continue their vital work. This commitment is helping teams save countless lives in places like South Sudan, where in January and February 2016, teams saw 110,822 patients, of which 44,727 were children under 5 years old.
Dumfries nurse Michael Shek spent six months at Bentiu camp in South Sudan, where MSF runs a hospital for the thousands of people who have fled from the violence engulfing the country. He reports on how a tough job became even tougher when malaria broke out.
"When I first arrived at the camp in Bentiu, it was chaotic. There were 30,000 people living there who had fled the violence in their hometowns. Over the course of six months, this increased to 120,000 people. We were working around the clock, and at one point treating 4,000 people with malaria every week." says Michael. "I was tasked with 'firefighting' – seeing as many people in the emergency room as possible, making clinical decisions, placing IVs, doing transfusions, treating measles and malnutrition – I reckon I was seeing about 300 people a day."
Ongoing fighting displaced more than 1.5 million people in South Sudan in 2014. In Bentiu camp, where Michael was working, MSF is providing lifesaving care for the 120,000 people living there.
"MSF is the only organisation providing 24/7 care in the camp. We treated 16,000 children for malaria in just eight days – that's 16,000 children who are alive now, who might well have died. Our work there is literally keeping people alive. And we absolutely couldn't do any of it without our supporters," says Michael.
MSF has been working in the area that now constitutes South Sudan for more than 30 years, responding to conflicts, neglected diseases and filling healthcare gaps wherever needed.
In 2015, MSF committed more funds to South Sudan than any other country. Their teams ran 20 programmes in nine states, maintaining essential pre-existing projects and responding to conflict-related emergency medical needs.
MSF exists to save lives by providing medical aid where it is needed most – in armed conflicts, epidemics, famines and natural disasters. All these situations call for a rapid response with specialised medical and logistical help.
Because of the incredible support from our generous players, MSF is able to continue working in countries like South Sudan, providing vital and life-saving care for people in need.