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Ambia Khatun

39-year-old post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) patient, Solimpur village, Trishal subdistrict of Mymensingh.

“I work at home and my husband has a job at a Chinese restaurant in Dhaka. In this village there have been plenty of cases of kala azar. In our family two out of three members contracted the disease. Kala azar hit me five years ago. I got frequent fevers; I became very weak and even lost my appetite. I went to doctors in Mymensingh but they failed to identify kala azar. Finally in Trishal subdistrict they treated me with tablets for one month. After that I felt good, but one and a half years later I developed PKDL. I consulted doctors in Trishal again, but the medicines didn't help. MSF tested me and referred me to their clinic in Fulbaria. With the treatment my lesions have almost disappeared. I think it is crucial to get cured of PKDL. I know that the kala azar virus was in my lesions. Luckily I got rid of it.”

Bangladesh

Oleg

26, a bricklayer from Minsk, he was diagnosed with TB and put on treatment in 2012, but he didn’t get better.

In August 2015, he was admitted to the MSF programme and started on a new treatment regimen which includes a new and promising TB drug, bedaquiline. Oleg tolerates the treatment well and reports that his appetite has improved, and he’s feeling much better now. He appreciates the support Igor, an MSF counsellor, is providing to the patients: “I can share my problems and concerns with him. It helps to go through this long treatment course.” Oleg misses his wife and two-year-old daughter and wants to return home cured. He has advice for other TB patients: “You should by all means take the treatment. There’s nothing worse than the disease.”

Belarus
Benjamin Black

Benjamin Black

Obstetrician / Gynaecologist

"The patient had been sent to us from a health centre across the border (a river) in Congo. I started trying to piece the story together. This was her first pregnancy and she had apparently been in labour for four days already; the membranes had also ruptured four days earlier and now all that was draining was thick green meconium-stained fluid (where the baby has passed a motion in the womb). She had come to us by boat, car and foot at full term and in a ridiculously prolonged labour. No wonder she looked terrible.

I went on to auto-pilot, and as I continued gathering information I started placing an intravenous cannula. I was already planning our trip to the operating theatre. I started a fast-running drip and asked the midwife to get some intravenous antibiotics started.

I methodically started feeling her abdomen, the baby was head down but still quite high ...

During my time in CAR over 17 per cent of women needing surgery during labour were for ruptured uterus – one of the most serious and life-threatening obstetric complications – all had had a previous caesarean section. Whilst we are fortunate enough to be set up to perform emergency caesarean sections, I cannot guarantee that the same would be true for this women in her future pregnancies, particularly given the wider social, economic and political context.

The birthrate is very high, there is poor access to family planning and poor infrastructure. If she has a caesarean what would be her risk of complication or death in her next six to 10 pregnancies, assuming the time for transfer remained the same?"

To learn more about Benjamin’s decision and how the mother returned home with a healthy baby, visit the MSF blog.

Central African Republic
Hadza El-Hagizegri

Hadza El-Hagizegri

Hadza is a refugee living in Dar es Salam camp, Baga Sola. She fled her village near Baga, Nigeria, after an ISWAP attack in January when she was five months pregnant.

"I took a boat with my family. It took four days to cross the lake and reach Chad. I delivered my seventh child two days ago under the tent in the refugee camp with the help of other refugee women. Now I am scared for the future because we have not had food for five days. For the moment I can deal with this situation with the help of other refugees. But if more food is not distributed in the camp we will go back to Nigeria, even though ISWAP is still a threat."

Chad

Camilo *

30 year old man from Buenaventura

"Ten years ago my life was quiet but as the violence intensified the only way to continue living and to protect my family was by joining an illegal armed group. I became one of the most respected guys in the area. In a fight with another group I was beaten and suffered paralysis to the left side of my body … I learned about MSF and have been undergoing psychological therapy for two months already. I am learning how to live with my disability."

* Name has been changed
Colombia