Taking action in an emergency
For Doctors of the World, an emergency is above all the disruption of access to care. Our response is put together on the basis of an assessment made by our teams of the consequences of the crisis for the population, in close connection with partners from civil society or the healthcare ministries in the countries in question. Our aim: to re-establish access to healthcare when the system has been weakened by a catastrophe. Our strength: genuine expertise in primary healthcare and in sexual and reproductive health to care for the most vulnerable populations.
If already present in the country, the organisation takes support from its teams working on long-term projects. This allows us to reduce the time needed to provide help and to act more quickly and effectively. Then, in conjunction with the authorities, Doctors of the World decides whether or not to remain on the ground, once the media storm surrounding the emergency has died down, to work on reconstruction programmes.
Last spring, Nepal was shaken by violent earthquakes which killed more than 8,000 people and injured over 22,000 others. Estimates put the level of infrastructure damage at 60% and around 8 million people were impacted. Most homes were completely destroyed or seriously damaged, hospitals are swamped and the medical needs immense.
Doctors of the World intends to strengthen supplies of people and equipment to provide first aid and, in the longer term, to help rebuild the healthcare system and guarantee access to water, hygiene and sanitation.
Since the start of 2014, fighting in the north and west of Iraq has forced over three million Iraqis from their homes. Nearly half of them have sought refuge in Kurdistan and the neighbouring regions.
Doctors of the World is working in the camps and communities of displaced persons in the Dohuk region, in Iraqi Kurdistan. On 10 different sites, medical teams are offering basic healthcare via fixed and mobile clinics to these extremely vulnerable communities. In addition, in partnership with a Turkish NGO, a clinic is providing help for Yazidi refugees on the other side of the Turkish border, in a camp in the town of Sirnak.
Since the start of the fighting, the Syrian authorities have used healthcare as a weapon of war. Nearly 70% of the healthcare infrastructure has been destroyed or are too damaged to function. The rate of medical coverage has fallen dramatically and now stands at only 45%. Certain diseases such as tuberculosis have reappeared. Over 7,000 cases of measles have been recorded. Large numbers of cases of leishmaniosis, diarrhoea and typhoid are also being reported in the north of the country.
Our response to this crisis is based on a regional approach: we are active within Syria in order to provide primary healthcare and supplies of water and hygiene kits for internally displaced persons in the north of the country, and to provide material equipment and medicines to networks of Syrian doctors. But we are also present alongside Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, in refugee camps, health facilities and mobile units, both for primary healthcare, post-operative rehabilitation and mental health.
Since the coup d’état in 2013, religious tensions between Christians and Muslims have been exacerbated, weakening cohesion and undermining the fabric of society in the Central African Republic. These tensions have led to a massive exodus of Muslims to neighbouring countries, notably to Chad and Cameroon. Today, the sovereignty of the country is threatened by social and territorial divides. In addition, access to healthcare is made difficult by the high cost of care, insecurity, a shortage of qualified medical staff and a lack of transportation means.
Malaria, malnutrition, high levels of mortality amongst infants and new mothers, violence linked to gender and high rates of HIV infection are scourges which Doctors of the World intends to fight by providing free healthcare to the communities affected by the crisis, in Bangui and Begoua.
Present in Yemen between 2004 and 2012, in particular to guarantee displaced persons access to healthcare, Doctors of the World has established numerous links with local partners. With healthcare needs growing, few NGOs are able to work in the country as fighting intensifies.
Most hospitals are overwhelmed and running short of medical supplies.
Doctors of the World has therefore chosen to support public facilities in Aden as well as a Yemeni organisation of volunteer medical professionals, by providing medical and surgical supplies.