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MSF Officials Discuss Organization’s Withdrawal From Somalia

In the PLOS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Unni Karunakara, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) international president from June 2010 through September 2013, and Jean-Christophe Dollé, MSF representative to Somalia since June 2013, “describe the challenges faced by Médecins Sans Frontières’ TB program as the organization withdrew from Somalia in response to increasing violence,” according to the blog introduction. “When MSF closed operations in Somalia, MSF doctors and nurses were treating more than 300 TB patients, including 14 MDR-TB patients,” they write, discussing the contingency plans that were implemented to ensure patients continued to receive treatment. “Our hospitals and aid programs were the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of Somalis,” they write, adding, “But there are limits to what our organization can accept in terms of risks for our staff and compromise of our humanitarian principles” (10/23).