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October 24, 2014

Following a high level meeting on access and funding for Ebola vaccines convened yesterday by World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has urged that plans to get forthcoming Ebola vaccines and treatments to frontline workers must be rapidly implemented. Significant investment and incentives are needed now to accelerate these steps.

Following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck China’s southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday, 2.28pm local time, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will today dispatch its first medical teams to one of the worst hit areas. According to state media, China’s most devastating earthquake in 30 years left nearly 10,000 dead and scores more are feared dead or injured.

Two days after a powerful earthquake hit Sichuan Province in southwestern China, the confirmed death toll nears 15,000 and thousands of people remain trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, according to provincial authorities.

MSF teams working in China’s quake-hit areas

A week after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake killed a reported 32,000 and left up to 4.8 million people homeless in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has now provided over 210 tonnes of relief supplies as well as medical assistance to the survivors. Reinforced by an enormous outpouring of material and financial support by private citizens and local communities throughout China, as well as offers of additional aid from abroad, the Chinese government’s response to the disaster has so far been swift and massive.

The Chinese government is now estimating that over 5 million have been left homeless by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of the country’s Sichuan province 12 days ago. A total of 34 MSF team members are now in the affected region and have been carrying out assessments, providing surgical and basic medical care, as well as mental health services, and donating tents and medicines to the relief effort. The local, regional, and national response has been enormous, but some of the needs, especially in the area of shelter, remain.

Interview with Tony Marchant, outgoing emergency coordinator in Chengdu, Sichuan Province  What are the main needs of the people in Sichuan today? Following extensive assessments in the affected region, MSF teams have found that the response in terms of food, water, sanitation and hygiene is largely adequate in most places. Over 5 million have been left homeless by the quake, so the need for shelter is tremendous.

The medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is shocked by the judgment rendered by Switzerland's highest judicial body, the Federal Tribunal. Following four years of proceedings, and in spite of two previous rulings in favour of MSF, the Federal Tribunal partly ruled in favour of the Dutch state by ruling that the financial burden should be shared between the two parties. This decision sets a grave precedent for independent humanitarian action in zones of conflict.

The Executive Board of UNITAID, the international health financing agency, will meet Dec. 14-15 in Geneva to decide on the future direction of the Patent Pool for AIDS medicines. International medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is concerned that a number of pharmaceutical companies are seeking to exclude developing countries categorized as ‘middle-income’ from benefiting from medicines made under licence from the Pool.  If these companies are successful, people living with HIV/AIDS will be made to pay the price.

In a decisive step to improve access to medicines in the developing world, the Executive Board of UNITAID, the international health financing agency, has given the green light for a patent pool for HIV/AIDS medicines to open for business. “Although these are early days, the patent pool could become a mechanism that systematically offers licenses to generic manufacturers, reducing prices and facilitating the combination of drugs from different makers into fixed-dose or one pill combinations,” said Dr.

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