Duncan Mclean

International aid in the Covid era: the need for transparency

The scale and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the large number of deaths it has caused, have created a toxic mix of rumour and innuendo – further complicating aid operations that already face significant obstacles in delivering vital humanitarian assistance. At a time when medical personnel have been both applauded and subjected to hostility as potential vectors of the virus, aid staff face real security risks – risks that their organisations are obliged to take seriously.

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Medical care in armed conflict: Perpetrator discourse in historical perspective

Although the Geneva Conventions have been successively revised since 1864, norms regarding the protection of medical care have been frequently disregarded. Despite current claims of international humanitarian law in crisis, comparing historic levels of violations with contemporary incidents is quantitatively challenging. Reviewing past reactions and justifications used by perpetrators of attacks on medical care can, however, be revealing.

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Plagues of Prejudice

En décembre 1899, des médecins d'Honolulu attribuent deux décès à la peste bubonique et un journal local annonce dûment que le "fléau de l'Orient" est arrivé. En quelques mois, un premier décès dû à la peste est signalé sur le continent américain, le Sino-Américain Chick Gin (Wing Chung Ging ou Wong Chut King selon la translittération) ayant succombé à la maladie à San Francisco. La cause du décès est basée sur un symptôme classique de la peste, à savoir un gonflement autour de l'aine, mais est contestée malgré une analyse bactériologique rudimentaire.

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Le théâtre d’ombres des kidnappings: L’affaire Arjan Erkel

Vécue comme inhérente à l’aventure humanitaire, l’exposition au danger tend aujourd’hui à être encadrée par des normes, des procédures, des indicateurs développés par des professionnels de la gestion des risques.

Cette évolution suscite de nombreuses interrogations, y compris à MSF. L’insécurité est-elle réellement en augmentation comme le prétendent les spécialistes?

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The Politics behind the Ebola Crisis

West Africa is still paying the price for its poor response to the Ebola epidemic. Where an early response could have prevented the worst, failures on all levels allowed Ebola to spread, exposing a deep rift between the population and political class of the countries affected. Unless all actors learn from the crisis, a similar disaster may be just a matter of time.

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