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Manuel Costelo

Manuel Costelo

47 years old, in an MSF cholera treatment centre in Tete city. Two of his five children are in the centre with him.

"During the night my children started showing signs of illness, so I brought them here right away, I didn’t trust the other healthcare centres. In my village many people have heard of this problem and in my family we have all been affected: me, my wife, and our children; three of them have already been discharged, and I’m here to watch over the other two. MSF saved all of our lives. I’m sure we’re using clean water at home; we take it only from the public pump. So I don’t know why we’re getting cholera. It just can’t be because of a lack of hygiene. We’re careful, but still, we’re getting sick. Without MSF, we’d be all dead."

Mozambique

Ma Moe Moe Khaing

in Kachin state

“When we found out that my husband was HIV positive and started treatment with MSF, I got tested as well. I was two months pregnant at the time and I was also positive. My husband was very sick, he could not even walk straight and I was really scared and even thought about ending the pregnancy. But we decided to leave it up to faith and accept whatever baby we were given. We took our ARVs regularly following the doctor’s instructions. After I had given birth, I was still afraid that I might have passed on the virus, but when after 12 months all HIV tests were negative we were unbelievably happy. Our little girl is healthy and is now attending kindergarten.”

Myanmar
Foureza Noura

Foureza Noura

30 years old, has come with her son to Dan Issa, Maradi region, where MSF supports an outpatient feeding centre.

"I came from my village in Nigeria with my two-year-old son. He has a fever and is not eating. We made a deal with a driver to drive us the two hours to get here. Several women in my village advised me to come to the MSF health centre because in Nigeria medical care costs a lot and is poor quality. The MSF nurses told me that my son Bassirou had malaria and was malnourished. I received medication and nutritional paste. We were told to come back in a week to be sure my child had recovered.”

Niger
Thembisa

Thembisa

24 years old, from Khayelitsha

"Coming from the clinic that day in 2008, I felt like everyone could tell I was HIV positive. I didn't know whether or not to cry. Not everyone in Khayelitsha has a problem with people with HIV. But some people are judgmental, of course, and will not want to speak to you or date you because they don't even understand how people get HIV. I want people to know my status, because hiding it doesn’t help. I volunteered to be on the mural because the youth don’t have much courage like I do. I'm hoping the mural will help young girls to not feel alone once they've found out about their status and that they build courage from my bravery. When they see that it's a young woman in the mural, they can find hope that they can still live for many years."

South Africa

MSF Doctor

Testimony of a medical practitioner who acts as a hospital director, human resource manager, surgeon and senior doctor in an MSF-supported hospital near Damascus.

“August was the worst we’ve seen [here] medically. Hundreds of injured are coming in. Sometimes we have to go two or three days without sleeping. This month is incomparable to before. It is the worst I’ve seen. We are trying our best. We are trying to save lives and that’s what is keeping us going. We cannot do anything about the siege, it is what it is, and we are just struggling to survive. Of course, I have to hang on to hope. There is always hope.

There is much fear and depression in our community. You see it everywhere. Whenever there is a shelling or the sound of a plane, everyone desperately rushes home or to a shelter. The sound of a plane in the sky is terrifying. It is hard to explain how the situation is on the ground. You have to see it with your own eyes to understand, and even then it is unbelievable. We have seen huge numbers of injured over the past month; in these circumstances anyone who isn’t injured or dead can count themselves lucky.

Medically, we’ve had to become used to the situation, so we do things like rationing of medicine. Rationing has become an important part of our work. We have no choice, so we try to make do with what we have. There are too many patients, too many stories. But one patient shows the madness of this crisis – a child – who I will never forget until I die: he had injuries all over his face, his arms, his legs, and yet he was laughing! Just laughing and laughing. Children usually are afraid of our injections and needles, but he was not. He just laughed, laughed at everything.”

Syria