Medicins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, is an organization that sends medical professionals into war and disaster zones to provide victims with medical attention. Currently, the group has a major operation underway in Pakistan, where thousands of people have been displaced by devastating floods.
Sylvie Bachmann, a nurse from Switzerland who has volunteered with Doctors Without Borders for two years, took reporters around a camp the group had set up near the border between Sindh and Balochistan provinces in Pakistan. Patients travel, usually on foot, from miles around to get care at the camp. Health educators show Pakistanis how to treat and prevent minor illnesses, while doctors and nurses man stations where they dress wounds and dole out medication. Bachmann says most of the cases she sees are skin diseases, upper respiratory tract infections and some cases of malaria.
Back in the Pakistani city of Sukkur, where Doctors Without Borders has set up a larger feeding clinic and treatment facility, many babies and young children suffer from malnourishment. Doctors use a special high-calorie food called plumpy'nut to get them proper nutrition, but for babies who can't eat solid food yet, it's more of a challenge. They must be monitored around the clock, and recovery is very slow.
Note: The first seven minutes of this video looks at Doctors Without Borders' work in a remote camp for flood victims; the rest is a tour of a nutrition clinic the group runs in the city of Sukkur.
"And this little one, she is doing quite well right now. It's a four-and-a-half-months baby who had a failure to thrive actually since she's born, typical for many of the babies we get and young children." - Dr. Erik Hochheimer, Medecins Sans Frontieres
"Whatever we had is gone. All we could save is our children, nothing else. I have lost my parents, brother. I have no idea where they are." - Zareena Gulam Muhammad, flood victim
"We want to train them, that they know how is MSF working, how we do it in Europe, so they can learn it, and, when we leave, MSF if leaving, then they can continue with the same work. We want to give them the knowledge to do it in a proper way." - Sylvie Bachmann, MSF nurse
1. Where is Pakistan?
2. What is a natural disaster?
3. What needs do people have in the immediate aftermath of a disaster?
1. Why do groups like Doctors Without Borders educate local medical professionals? What might happen after the aid groups leave the country?
2. Why are so many underweight babies are born in Pakistan, compared to the U.S.? What factors affect this?
3. When natural disasters occur in the U.S., how do people who have lost everything get what they need? How does the infrastructure in the U.S. help them get that care, and based on what you saw in the video, how does the lack of infrastructure in Pakistan make it difficult for victims to get help?