Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Health

Core to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s approach to assistance is sending international staff into foreign contexts to work with, and usually direct, locally recruited national staff. Outsiders bring experience, leadership and technical skills, and are in a better position to ‘witness’ intolerable situations and speak out about them. International staff are also better able to resist local pressures for resource diversion, giving MSF greater confidence that donor money is being spent appropriately. For many within and outside MSF, this model is the only responsible option because the compromises assumed to be inherent in a remotely managed programme are unacceptable. MSF-Operational…
Koenraad Van Brabant in conversation with Hakim N. Feerasta, Resident Representative, the Aga Khan Development Network, Tajikistan Koenraad Van Brabant The Aga Khan is recognised as the spiritual head (imam) of the Ismaeli community, and the majority of Ismaelis in Tajikistan live in the eastern region of Gorno-Badakshan. Are you working specifically with the Ismaelis? Hakim N. Feerasta Well, there are an estimated 25m Ismaelis all over the world. Tajikistan is one of the countries where Ismaelis live. But the Aga Khan Development Network is a secular organisation; it does not work only for the Ismaeli community. We operate within…
Koenraad Van Brabant, outgoing HPN Coordinator, interviews Christina ter Braak, MSF-Holland, Uzbekistan Koenraad Van Brabant Christina, how does a young woman from Holland end up working in Uzbekistan? Christina ter Braak My first six-month stay in Uzbekistan was in 1996, teaching Dutch and English at Tashkent University. After my Bachelor’s degree, I did a Master’s in development studies. For my thesis – on unemployment in Uzbekistan – I spent another three months there doing research; every single person I spoke to had an opinion on the subject. Subsequently, I applied for a job in the Tashkent office of Human Rights Watch (HRW), and was invited for recruitment tests in New York. But the reply…
From Iran to western China, Central Asia is suffering its worst drought in decades. One of the states hardest-hit has been Afghanistan; poor and conflict-ridden, it is also the least able to cope Afghanistan is in its third year of severe drought, compounding the effects of conflict and international isolation. Precarious security conditions and problems of access make needs difficult to assess, but it is clear that the food crisis in much of the country has become acute. Millions of Afghans have little or no access to food, and require international humanitarian food aid. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands more have been forced from their homes, congregating in camps in Afghanistan or across…
The Middle East is an atypical context for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The increasing complexity of humanitarian action, particularly the blurring of the lines between humanitarian and military actors and the increasing use of humanitarian language to justify wars, have made it even more difficult for MSF to negotiate independent operational space. This is especially so in some countries in the Middle East. Moreover, we are unaccustomed to working in middle-income countries where addressing non-communicable diseases is the priority. Although MSF is used to responding to acute crises, the Middle East suffers mostly from the chronic consequences of conflict. In…
An estimated 17% of Lebanon’s population suffers from mental health problems, yet almost 90% have no access to treatment. On the surface, Lebanon has made significant strides since the 2006 war, and is today a major financial and cultural centre in the Middle East. Economic growth for 2011 is forecast at 6%, a record 2 million tourists visited the country last year and Lebanon received $8.2 billion in remittances in 2010 from Lebanese nationals living abroad. At the same time, however, the country is gripped by political crises, threatening its financial and social fabric, and poverty levels in some parts…
The Middle East is an atypical context for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The increasing complexity of humanitarian action, particularly the blurring of the lines between humanitarian and military actors and the increasing use of humanitarian language to justify wars, have made it even more difficult for MSF to negotiate independent operational space. This is especially so in some countries in the Middle East. Moreover, we are unaccustomed to working in middle-income countries where addressing non-communicable diseases is the priority. Although MSF is used to responding to acute crises, the Middle East suffers mostly from the chronic consequences of conflict.In Iraq,…
The special feature of this issue of Humanitarian Exchange focuses on humanitarian action in the Middle East.
Over the last few years there has been a growing recognition that working in partnership can improve humanitarian outcomes. A range of partnership models have been deployed, including North–South cooperation, and partnerships among international NGOs, between them and national and local NGOs and with host and local governments, as well as directly with local communities. This article outlines MERCY Malaysia’s experience of working in partnership in Malaysia, Myanmar and Gaza. Malaysia While Malaysia has not been hit by a major natural disaster, annual seasonal floods affect different parts of the country at slightly different times of the year. MERCY Malaysia…
On 10 January 2010 Oxfam GB’s global humanitarian team spent the day reviewing our current approaches to humanitarian response in urban areas. We concluded that the most significant challenge we could possibly face would be a major earthquake in a densely populated urban area. We felt we needed to boost our capacity and understanding of what sort of assistance might be needed in preparation for such an event. Less than 48 hours later the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, eventually leaving up to 220,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless. Within hours Oxfam’s team in Haiti was responding despite massive personal loss, and…
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