Humanitärer Hilfe

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Choices at the time of the climate emergency

Knowing about the discussions in progress at Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as the actions it intends to implement to adapt to climate change, provides precious insight. Though they speak in their own names, the five authors – from the Swiss and Canadian sections – say a lot about the ongoing debates within the movement, about the actions taken and about the possibilities for procrastination. Lessons that apply to the entire humanitarian community.

 

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Volunteers and responsibility for risk-taking: Changing interpretations of the Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières

The Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the guiding document for all of the organization's members, states in the final paragraph that volunteers "understand the risks and dangers of the missions they carry out". Through a review of the different periods in the history of MSF, this article analyzes the changing interpretations that the organization's successive leaders have given to this reference to the acceptance of risk by individuals.

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Counterterrorism policies and practices: health and values at stake

Distrust and suspicion that public health programmes are being used to advance foreign interests have contributed to the increase in murders and violent attacks on vaccination workers. There have been setbacks to polio eradication efforts and other public health objectives. Counterterrorism policies and practices can have unintended health impacts, especially where health programmes are co-opted or undermined, in countries where health systems are strained and population health indicators are poor.
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Reconstruction of the health sector in Haiti: a missed opportunity?

The impact of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was devastating for a country whose history was already marked by poverty, natural disasters, environmental degradation and political instability. An outbreak of cholera several months later further hampered reconstruction efforts. At the same time, this presented an opportunity to rebuild and develop the country, including an already extremely fragile and inequitable health system.
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Working in a prison in Myanmar: Médecins Sans Frontières’ experience working in Insein prison

Working in a prison for a humanitarian organisation is not easy, particularly because of the specific characteristics of such places. Médecins Sans Frontières’ experience working in Insein prison illustrates the difficulties of achieving objectives both in terms of results (long term provision of appropriate and full medical care to patients) and working conditions (minimal manipulation, indiscriminate access to patients, etc.).

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“From the American People”: the US Farm Bill and the reform of emergency food aid

On Nov 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. Winds of up to 235 km/h cut through the province of Eastern Samar as the storm progressed westwards and further towards the centre of the island archipelago. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, a myriad of humanitarian stakeholders scrambled to provide basic services including health care, shelter, and food to the affected population.

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Humanitarian work in prisons: the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières

Humanitarian action by NGOs in detention centres is quite rare and poorly documented. Despite the fact that prisoners are among those who have the least access to quality health care services, MSF has never chosen to make detention centres one of its strategic priorities. The inherent difficulties linked to this operational context explain the limited number of projects the organisation has developed and managed in prisons.
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