During the intense conflict in eastern Ukraine, over 600,000 people were displaced and 10,000 wounded. Local doctors faced an acute shortage of medical supplies. MSF donated medicines and materials to hospitals on both sides of the frontline and relief items to displaced people.
The government withdrawal of all state services from rebel-controlled areas prevented disabled and elderly people particularly from accessing healthcare. MSF expanded its medical support to include patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes. MSF psychologists ran mental health sessions and trained local medical and mental health staff to improve their skills and avoid burnout.
- A child with her mother are in a therapy session in Donetsk, Ukraine. © Julie Remy
Throughout the conflict, MSF made every effort to keep the drug-resistant TB project within the regional penitentiary system in Donetsk running and support patients to avoid treatment interruption.
In January, Islamic State (IS) abducted 13 MSF staff members. Eight Syrian colleagues were released relatively quickly, but five international staff members were held captive for up to five months. MSF withdrew its international teams and closed a field hospital and two health centres in IS-held areas.
Despite the increasing access restrictions, MSF continued to run health facilities, and conduct mobile clinics and vaccination campaigns in some northern parts of the country. It also supported over 100 medical facilities run by dedicated Syrian medical staff, situated along Syria’s borders and across six governorates. These facilities are in both government-held areas and opposition-controlled zones where it is not possible for MSF teams to be present.
Half the Syrian population is displaced either within the country or to neighbouring Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan, where MSF provided medical humanitarian assistance to refugees and the host communities.