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Melanie Kabura

Melanie Kabura

33, Community Leader from Burundi.

"They were beating and killing people in the street. We had to leave everything behind; we only came with the clothes we were wearing. We arrived in Nyarugusu in July 2015. Here, life is not good. We sleep on the ground. When the rain comes, it is a big problem. The roof is not strong and we are afraid of what will happen. We do not have everything we need, we want to feel safer. We cannot return to Burundi because we are afraid. I am tired of fleeing from my country. My dream is to have a job that is paid well so that I can look after my children. I want to live in a place where it is stable. But for now, there is no future for my children."


Nina Dedukh

64-year old patient receiving counselling from an MSF psychologist in Popasnaya

"When the war started, I was in Pervomaisk. My apartment and my daughter’s apartment were destroyed. We sought refuge here, in Popasnaya. Now we live 10 people in a one-room apartment. We hear shelling at night: it’s terrifying.

There is nothing crueller than when people close to you die. During this war my aunt, uncle and sister died. But when my daughter died it was horrible. She died in Pervomaisk in February. She was standing just behind the house when the shelling hit. Doctors were fighting for her life for one hour, but were unable to save her."


Amrita Ronnachit


"Treating TB has some parallels with treating cancer. The treatment can be long and arduous, with toxic medications, which have terrible side effects. Pretty much the same as chemotherapy. And sometimes, it fails and the TB comes back. When it happens, it’s hard not to wonder if there was more that we could have done.

Today I visited a patient whose treatment has failed, and his results show that the TB is coming back. He is a young 19-year-old boy who has studied to become a mechanic. He was almost at the end of his treatment, just one month to go, when he started to have some symptoms again. At first he told himself that it was just the flu – he often gets it. But last week I saw his test results – it’s not the flu. And further testing has showed that his TB, which was the multi-drug resistant form, is becoming more resistant, what we colloquially refer to as ‘pre-XDR’. XDR, or extensively drug-resistant TB, is one of the most resistant forms of TB, and is very, very hard to treat successfully.

I tell him that the regimen we have been giving him is not working, and we will need to switch to another combination of drugs. It also means we will have to start his treatment all over again, a full 20–24 month course. The months of treatment that he has had so far won’t count, and he will have to restart his daily injections again.

“Twenty months of treatment? Fifteen to 16 tablets a day, right? No, I would rather die.”

Through the surgical mask I can hear his strangled breathing. He is trying not to cry but eventually he can’t hold back the tears."

Husni Mansoor

Husni Mansoor

MSF nurse supervisor, working in Aden

“Our biggest fear is that the fighting will surround the hospital. Many times, when the clashes intensify, we go down to the basement. But this creates a different problem. Before we save ourselves, we move the patients who are in beds near the windows to a safe place. This has happened many times. We hear the sound of gunshots and shelling or airstrikes and we move all the patients to safe areas before finding a safe place for ourselves. Windows at the hospital have been broken more than once and bullets have entered, but no one has been hurt inside the hospital.”


Jabulani Simango *

21 years old, from Epworth

"When I was eleven years old, I fell seriously ill and I was taken to hospital in a wheelbarrow. I was started on ARVs but I didn’t understand why I was taking them. My parents died when I was young and my other family members didn’t have much information about HIV and AIDS … I was advised to join support groups for young people living with HIV. I then realised that I was not alone. There were many people my age who were HIV positive and from that moment onwards, I started to adhere to my treatment. MSF used to visit me at home to check if I was taking my medication consistently and in a proper way. After a while, my condition began to improve. When I showed signs of recovering, my family members began to accept me and my status. They began to realise that being HIV positive is not the end of one’s life."

* Name has been changed