“2019 was notable for being the 20th anniversary of MSF having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Twenty years on from the awarding of this prize, the words of the speech given before the Nobel Committee by Dr James Orbinski still resonate: ‘Our staff and volunteers work with people whose dignity is being violated on a daily basis. Our volunteers are wholeheartedly committed to making this world a little easier to bear. What they do can be summed up like this: they are individuals who go to other individuals at a time when they are having the worst problems. A dressing, a suture, a vaccine... And in the countries where we work, the possibility of reporting on what we see.’ In 2019, the MSF teams continued working tirelessly with the aim of helping the most vulnerable people,” says Dr Guy Berchem, President of MSF Luxembourg.
The MSF teams worked in 72 countries during 2019, with a workforce of around 65,000 people, 80% of them recruited locally, to provide medical and humanitarian aid in crisis situations: particularly in the wake of conflict-related violence – in Yemen, where, after five years of war, the civilian population has no way out of the situation; where people are excluded from healthcare – in Libya, where the suffering of migrants held in detention centres continues to worsen; where there are massive displacements of people – in the Americas, where thousands of Central Americans are trapped by iniquitous migratory policies; and natural disasters – in Mozambique in the wake of two cyclones that ravaged the country.
Yemen: providing healthcare amid armed conflict
The war that has been ravaging Yemen for five years seems to have no end. The Yemeni people are still dying from avoidable diseases, due to the collapse of the economy and a healthcare system in ruins. Our teams are battling to come to their aid in insecure conditions and with limited access.
Mozambique: responding to natural disasters
Two tropical cyclones (Idai and Kenneth) struck the country between March and April 2019, with devastating consequences for a country already faced with major health challenges. Around 80% of the city of Beira was damaged or destroyed after the passage of the first cyclone. MSF launched a large-scale intervention to provide medical care, carry out water supply and sanitation operations, rebuild damaged healthcare facilities and help local authorities contain a cholera epidemic, particularly via vaccination campaigns.
Libya and the Americas: bringing aid to migrants and asylum seekers
Immigration and asylum policies are contributing to the increasing vulnerability of the migrant population. For example, thousands of Central Americans are trapped: they have fled the violence in their own countries (El Salvador, the Honduras and/or Guatemala) and are forced to survive in increasingly precarious and dangerous conditions that are often life‑threatening, during their journey to the United States on the biggest migratory route in the world. The same applies to the migrants trapped in Libya in an increasingly violent situation. All these people become targets on the migratory routes, which are becoming more and more dangerous. The chaos that has reigned in Libya since 2014 has provided fertile ground for a war economy based on predation and illicit activities, such as trafficking in oil, arms and people.
The MSF teams bring healthcare to extremely vulnerable people, including those suffering from serious mental disorders. Difficult journeys, prolonged displacement and inadequate living conditions are all potential causes of mental disorders.
MSF Luxembourg operations
In 2019, MSF Luxembourg remained at the heart of innovation, largely thanks to its Luxembourg-based operational research unit, LuxOR. This unit enables MSF to improve the effectiveness of its programmes, evaluate the feasibility of new strategies and/or interventions, and advocate changes in healthcare practices and policies.
In 2019, LuxOR contributed to the publication of 77 articles in prominent scientific journals, covering 13 topics, and supported more than 65 research projects. For the purpose of honing the skills of medical personnel, the unit also supported six training programmes devoted to operational research that attracted 42 participants in Kenya and Luxembourg.
The support of our donors
Thanks to the generosity of the people of Luxembourg, the MSF teams can continue working without interruption. In 2019, Luxembourg donors supported MSF’s operations to the tune of €7.3 million. “We thank them for the generosity they have shown, which allows us to maintain our independence and continue to care for those people in greatest need,” said Dr Guy Berchem.
He concluded by saying, “In 2020, we will continue to take action to offer the best possible healthcare to vulnerable people, to support healthcare systems that are precarious or affected by war, amid the risk of the spread of Covid-19 and in order to ensure the continuity of medical aid in general in over 70 countries.”
MSF Luxembourg Activity Report 2019
The MSF teams intervened in 72 countries during 2019 to remedy serious problems of healthcare access for vulnerable people.