In 2012, medical and non-medical professionals from the Asian region continuously dedicated their time, energy and expertise to provide medical assistance in different settings, from emergency response to refugee crisis in South Sudan, conflict in Syria, to stable long term projects like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis treatment in India and Myanmar.
A total of 153 mission departures were carried out by MSF-Hong Kong. Among them, 38 were first missioners and 31 were deployed in the capacity of coordinating or medical team leader positions. 50 new professionals were also recruited from the region during the year.
Collaboration with the surgical societies in the Asian region continued with the 4th Surgical Round Table conference being organised in Singapore. The 5th annual surgical training was also successfully held in Hong Kong with participants from all over the world.
To support MSF emergency interventions in the region, MSF-Hong Kong’s Emergency Response Support Unit carried out assessments following the natural disasters in Indonesia and the Philippines, one of which helped to establish an MSF emergency response to Typhoon Bopha in Mindanao. The unit also supported the Myanmar mission through an emergency assessment training.
The generous donors of MSF-Hong Kong remained steadfast in their commitment to the provision of vital medical humanitarian relief, donating almost HK$248 million to MSF in 2012.
This compassion was greatly needed by our medical teams in South Sudan over the summer. More than 170,000 refugees had made the harrowing journey from Sudan into South Sudan to escape the escalating conflict and food insecurity in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan States. The refugees’ basic needs were immense across different camps. With the generous and rapid response of our donors, MSF was able to launch one of its biggest emergency programmes of 2012, and reduce the mortality rate in one of the MSF hospitals from 25% to 2% in one month.
In May, MSF-Hong Kong launched its first ever Direct Response TV (DRTV) campaign to recruit new monthly donors, and the results from the trials proved that it is a cost-effective and efficient channel for MSF to find new, committed supporters. Long-term support such as regular giving or making a bequest to MSF is absolutely vital in guaranteeing MSF’s ability to continue saving lives in the future.
The public also supported MSF through different events. The annual MSF Day campaign provides a platform for the public to volunteer for MSF by giving a day’s income or more. Renowned film actress Ms. SHU Qi was the Honorary Campaign Leader and the whole effort raised over HKD4.4million, making it the most successful one to date.
The 11th MSF Orienteering Competition which was held on 11 March in Tai Lam Country Park, Tuen Mun continues to be the largest orienteering competition in Hong Kong. Nearly HKD4.1 millions was raised by 2,800 participants and their sponsors to support MSF’s worldwide relief work. Both numbers broke the event record.
The Urban Survivors Photo Exhibition was also launched in Hong Kong. It took the visitors on a virtual journey through five slums in different countries, to look into the daily struggles of slum habitants, the humanitarian issues they face, and how MSF addresses their medical needs.
As part of our continuing outreach to new supporters, with different social media, we registered on Instagram and Tuding to feature photos from the front line for smartphone users both in Hong Kong and mainland China. MSF-Hong Kong also started to extend its engagement with the public in neighbouring countries to increase MSF visibility in the Southeast Asian region. Active communications with national media and registration of an MSF Twitter account dedicated for Southeast Asia were carried out.
To help build up knowledge of China’s health-related aid to Africa and Asia, and enhance mutual understanding of MSF and China on medical, humanitarian issues, MSF-Hong Kong and its Beijing representative facilitated the field teams to exchange views with Chinese embassy officials in Myanmar, Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Bart JANSSENS, MSF Director of Operations was invited to attend the Third International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Collaboration held in Beijing. MSF representatives in Beijing and for ASEAN countries also attended the International Conference on Emergency Management organised in Beijing.
In addition, MSF introduced “MSF Day” in mainland China. It appealed the general public to spread MSF messages through Weibo to raise the awareness of humanitarian crises. This online campaign successfully attracted more than 16,000 online participants. MSF organised “MSF Photo Exhibition: Humanitarian Aid Without Borders”, as well as documentary screenings and talks, in Beijing and Guangzhou. The Simplified Chinese edition of the book “Working with MSF: Reflections and Observations” – a collection of memoirs by 31 MSF front-line workers - was published in mainland China amid much acclaim.
MSF continued its exchanges with the medical community, too. As part of the celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of Peking University Health Science Center, Dr. Unni KARUNAKARA, International President of MSF gave a special guest lecture on the theme “Medical Innovation in Humanitarian Work”. Experience sharing sessions by MSF field workers were organised in universities in Beijing and Guangzhou. MSF also reached out to surgeons at the Seventh International Congress of the Chinese Orthopaedic Association.
With the public’s recognition of humanitarian aid, MSF documentary The Positive Ladies Soccer Club won the Best Charity Documentary in the “2012 Walker Film Festival”, organised by the Travel Channel. MSF was also awarded by huanqiu.com in the “World of Wonderforum”.