March 10, 2014

As plans progress for the voluntary return of hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees from Kenya to their home country,[1] Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has once again urged that this process is not carried out at the cost of the aid already being provided to people who remain in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps.

Surgeon Gary Myers is working in the hospital in Eldoret, Kenya as part of a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team in the country. Together with hospital staff, MSF is providing emergency medical care in Eldoret following the violence that rocked parts of the country after elections in December 2007. Here Dr. Myers talks about the surgical support he is giving to a capable hospital staff that was overwhelmed by the sheer number of wounded people needing care.

Tensions are high in the Rift Valley, in western Kenya, and in Nairobi. Over the last month, post-election violence has spiked as demonstrations flare in towns and villages. Some people have been wounded, while others have sought to flee. Because the situation is very unstable and changing quickly, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has set up a flexible system for treating the wounded that relies on mobile medical teams.

Since the morning of November 28, Médecins Sans Frontières teams have been carrying out non-food items distributions with helicopter transport to bring assistance to isolated populations due to the recent floods that have affected the region over the last few weeks. After two days of air assessment over the region most affected by the recent heavy rains, MSF teams managed to identify six villages situated northwest of Dadaab, a small town surrounded by refugee camps that accommodate up to 140,000 mostly Somali refugees.

Eight additional Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) international staff have arrived in Kenya to help assess and respond to the needs created by the violence and insecurity that has rocked the country since elections on Dec. 27, 2007. As well as continuing to provide HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) care in projects in Nairobi and western Kenya, MSF is helping thousands of people who have been displaced during the violence of the last few days.

Over the past two days, 34 wounded have been treated in Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) medical health posts in Nairobi's Mathare and Kibera slums. Among these patients, eight suffered from bullet wounds. Several wounded have been referred to hospitals.

As protests continue throughout Kenya, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are responding to the additional needs created by the violence of recent weeks. In Nairobi, where MSF has provided HIV/AIDS and TB care in the slums for more than 10 years, medical teams have set up extra clinics and first aid posts in order to assist any people wounded during the protests. MSF teams in Busia and Homa Bay are continuing to provide HIV/AIDS care and are assisting displaced people. In other parts of western Kenya, MSF emergency teams that arrived in the country to help deal with the increased needs continue to provide assistance to the thousands of people who have been affected by the violence. One of the main challenges will now be to continue to respond to indirect consequences of violence on the most vulnerable displaced people, who will probably remain displaced for months.

In response to the violence which has hit Nairobi in the last few days, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided care to wounded people in health centres located in Mathare and Kibera slums as well as in referral hospitals. Filipe Ribeiro and Rémi Carrier run MSF activities in Mathare and Kibera respectively. Here they talk about the last few days of violence in Nairobi.

On top of the violence that has been raging in the post-elections crisis in Kenya, there is an issue of great concern for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): HIV and tuberculosis (TB) patients who have failed to show up for their appointments and collect their life-saving medicines.

As violent clashes flared in parts of Kenya over the weekend of Jan. 26 and 27, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams were on hand to provide much needed support in Nakuru and Naivasha district hospitals. In Nakuru MSF teams helped treat 157 wounded patients in two days. In Naivasha, 30 people were cared for. MSF teams have been working in and around Nakuru, a city located in the Rift Valley, since early December 2007, when people started being displaced in the run up to the national election.