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Continued from Previous……
To understand the scope, range, and impact of MSF activities, it may be relevant to see the broad segments they are working on.
CHILD CARE PROJECTS
MSF runs Thalassemia treatment center at Elias Haraoui hospital in Zahle, Lebanon. It is the only center in the country which is providing support to children suffering from this genetic disorder. Thalassemia major patients need two or three blood transfusions a month. The first challenge is to arrange safe blood in regular supply. Secondly, due to heavy breakdown of red cells, thalassemic children suffer from iron overload which in turn is damaging to heart, lungs, and kidneys. This center is currently providing treatment to 96 patients because of limitation of funds. They say that the thalassemia drugs are very high-priced.
Lebanon economy has been in free fall for the last several months due mainly to political crisis. Their currency has lost 90% value, fuel shortage is threatening stoppage of water supply pumps. If it happens, majority of population shall lose access to clean water. Fuel shortage is also causing severe hurdles in commuting and transporting of people and goods.
Lebanon woes have been compounded by the influx of Syrian refugees who were forced to flee their homeland due to heavy fighting between ISIS and government forces. The casualties have been mounting and many Syrians have arrived in neighboring Lebanon to protect their lives.
Childcare projects for neonates, infants and children are being run in various afflicted areas in many parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. MSF observes Pediatric Days to focus attention on this segment. April 15 & 16, 2021 were observed as Pediatric Days in this year.
Children diseases include various bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, malaria, dengue, malnutrition, war-related injuries and so on. Children need special attention due to their delicate nature and their dependence on adults for care.
Childcare is part of a range of medical activities covering COVID in recent times, Cholera, Ebola, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis E, HIV/AIDS, Kala Azar, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Malnutrition, Measles, Meningitis, Mental Health, neglected diseases like noma, chagas, cutaneous leishmaniasis, non-communicable diseases like COPD, Cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes, Sleeping Sickness, Snakebite, Trauma and Vaccination.
Another segment that has grown rapidly over the last years is the humanitarian crises erupting in various parts of the world. These are caused by wars, clashes, natural disasters, political conflicts and so on.
During the last four decades, many wars have been waged by state and non-state actors. In 1979, revolution in Iran and Soviet invasion in Afghanistan forced huge displacement of people who were not party to any of the warring parties. They were simply ‘collateral damage’. Iran revolution was followed by Iran-Iraq war lingering on for ten years, and resistance supported by US and Allies kept the war raging in Afghanistan, till the time the Soviets were forced to abandon their quest. Taliban took over to the chagrin of their sponsors and supporters. They were attacked after 9/11 and the so-called ‘war-on-terror’ continued for twenty years, and the future is still uncertain.
1990 saw invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the beginning of Gulf war and continuing trouble in the region. It continued till Saddam was captured and hanged. The ‘people-awakening’ led to regime changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya, Yemen, and Sudan. The world in our part of the world continues to be in huge turmoil.
Apparently, all parties to conflicts claim their righteousness and that they are fighting for the good cause. If everyone is good, then who are the bad guys? If everyone is good, why millions of innocent people are suffering? The lords on both sides look fresh and good and stress-free even after killing and maiming thousands. This reminds me of the great strife suffered by the Cambodian people during the rule of Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. In four short years, Khmer Rouge caused the death of almost as many million people through forced displacements, torture, and executions. The Head of Khmer Rouge was a guy named Pol Pot. He fled after being overthrown and was not captured. Many years later, Times magazine did a cover story on him. They had his picture on the cover page and the caption said, “Pol Pot Dies Peacefully’. This is the level of callousness, which is present among all warring factions, whether they claim to believe in God or not.
Organizations such as MSF are rendering invaluable services in many areas. We shall review more in the next blog.
To be Continued……Disclaimer. Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images which does not show anyone’s copyright claim. However, if any such claim is presented, we shall remove the image with suitable regrets.