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2017: A year in pictures
Take a look back at the best and worst moments from our work around the world this year
MSF's Pictures of the Year collection looks back on a year of providing medical care in extreme conditions and places across the globe.
Through the lens of our photojournalists, we remember and pay tribute to those who have struggled, those who have persevered and those who have perished.
From war and civil strife to diseases, epidemics and natural disasters, our staff have been on the frontline of saving lives during 2017.
Our talented and dedicated photographers have been there every step of the way to bear witness to the stories of the past year (between October 2016 and December 2017), capturing the work of our teams and the ongoing battle to save those in peril across the world.
1 | BOL, CHAD – DOMINIC NAHR
November 2016 – A young woman, from a camp for internally displaced people in Yakoua town, is carried after travelling more than 30km on a horse and cart to reach the MSF mobile clinic near Bol, Chad.
2 | LEER, SOUTH SUDAN – SIEGFRIED MODOLA
March 2017 – James, an MSF community area supervisor, organises his bedding for the night close to an MSF outdoor support clinic in Gier, Leer County, South Sudan.
3 | AWEIL, SOUTH SUDAN – PETER BAUZA
August 2017 – Doctors examine seven-month-old Bless, at the MSF hospital in Aweil, South Sudan. Bakhita (R), who is an MSF midwife in the same hospital, brought her son in suspecting he has malaria.
4 | LEER, SOUTH SUDAN – SIEGFRIED MODOLA
March 2017 – Community health promoter, Gatbel, tests a child for malaria at an outdoor support clinic in Thaker, Leer County, South Sudan.
5 | DIFFA, NIGER – JUAN CARLOS TOMASI/MSF
February 2017 – A woman attending an MSF pre-natal clinic in Diffa, Niger, stares back at her reflection in a handheld mirror.
6 | NAIROBI, KENYA – FREDRIK LERNERYD
August 2017 – Staff at the MSF clinic in Eastlands, Nairobi, provide care for survivors of sexual and gender based violence. The 24-hour clinic sees more than 200 patients monthly due to MSF expanding its catchment area with an ambulance service, a call centre, and through a community awareness and mobilisation project.
TB patient Elizabeth speaks about what it takes to overcome TB in Kenya.
7 | BOL, CHAD – SARA CRETA/MSF
February 2017 – Dr Henryk Mazurek, MSF gynaecologist-obstetrician at the Bol regional hospital, conducts an ultrasound on a patient who is about to deliver twins, prior to obstetric surgery.
8 | NGALA, NIGERIA – SYLVAIN CHERKAOUI/COSMOS
July 2017 – Toudjani Boulama, 18, was treated by MSF for the wound he received to his face after he was shot by a member of Boko Haram in Cameroon.
Toudjani and some 45,000 other refugees currently live in a camp for internally displaced people in Ngala, Borno state, Nigeria. Many people have fled there from neighbouring Cameroon due to the ongoing violence from Boko Haram and military operations in the area.
9 | BANKI, NIGERIA – SYLVAIN CHERKAOUI/COSMOS
July 2017 – A security convoy prepares to leave the internally displaced persons camp in Banki, in the northeast of Nigeria. The camp was established by the Nigerian authorities after the town was retaken from Boko Haram in September 2015.
Due to Boko Haram groups remaining in the area, it is not safe for refugees to leave. MSF provides medical care, sanitation, food distribution and a mobile medical team provides preventive malaria treatment for children during the rainy season.
10 | CHIRADZULU, MALAWI – LUCA SOLA
July 2017 – Debora Njala, 18, lies on her bed in Chiradzulu. Deborah contracted HIV from her mother during pregnancy. Despite also testing positive for tuberculosis she is adamant: "With proper medication I will achieve my dreams and the future is bright."
11 | SOKOTO, NIGERIA – FABRICE CATERINI/INEDIZ REPORTAGES
April 2017 – Zahardien Musa, a 14-year-old meningitis patients from Sokoto, rests on his bed with his father at the Muhammed Murtala Specialist Hospital.
12 | IPPY, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – COLIN DELFOSSE/OUT OF FOCUS
March 2017 – A doctor looks over a patient in the MSF-supported Baptist Medical Centre in Ippy, Central African Republic.
13 | NSANJE, MALAWI – LUCA SOLA
14 | MWESO, DRC – GWEN DUBOURTHOUMIEU
February 2017 – Dawn breaks over the camp for internally displaced people in Mweso, North Kivu state, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The camp, established in 2007, is located about 120 kilometres from North Kivu’s capital Goma.
15 | KATANA, DRC – MARTA SOSZYNSKA/MSF
October 2017 – MSF nurses examine a child in the cholera treatment centre in Katana, Democratic Republic of Congo.
16 | BUKAMA, DRC – GWENN DUBOURTHOUMIEU
February 2017 – A severely malnourished child stands as MSF staff measure his height at an MSF-supported health centre in Bukama, Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
17 | KALEMIE, DRC – LENA MUCHA
May 2017 – Men displaced by intercommunal fighting in the province of Tanganyika build a shelter in the Mukuku camp in Kalemie, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Some 433,700 people have been displaced since July 2016. Many live in informal settlements and camps with limited access to healthcare, and face alarming shortages of food, water and shelter.
18 | NEAR TRIPOLI, LIBYA – GUILLAUME BINET/MYOP
March 2017 – Crowded together with little more than a blanket and the clothes they wear, women detainees are held at the Sorman detention centre, some 60km west of Tripoli, Libya.
Detained by Libyan authorities for travelling through the country in the attempt to reach the coast and board a smuggler's boat to Europe, the women face weeks, if not months, of uncertainty whilst held in horrific conditions.
19 | TRIPOLI, LIBYA – GUILLAUME BINET/MYOP
March 2017 – Men detained in Janzour detention centre, on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya. Detainees spend days and months in Libyan detention centres, without any idea when they will be released.
Libya is a lawless state fragmented by conflicts, and both a destination and a place of transit for hundreds of thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants.
In migrant detention centres, they face arbitrary detention for prolonged periods of time in unsanitary and inhumane conditions. There is no way to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, virtually no access to the outside world, habitual ill-treatment, and a lack of access to medical care.
In 2017, Uganda accepted more refugees than the whole of Europe granted asylum to in 2016. With more than one million South Sudanese refugees settled in the north of Uganda, the country is now the largest refugee hosting country in Africa. In this video, find out how we helped provide water to people living in Palorinya refugee camp.
20 | COMO, ITALY – GIUSEPPE LA ROSA/MSF
November 2016 – Since his arrival in Cagliari, 'M' began his long journey through Europe, taking him from Sardinia to Milan, passing through Ventimiglia and Como.
He witnessed the death of his friend and travelling companion who lost his life in a tragic accident while the two men attempted to cross into France. M was sent back, first from France and then Switzerland. He now waits, stuck on the Italian side of the border, in Como.
21 | ATHENS, GREECE – TANYA HABJOUQA / NOOR IMAGES
June 2017 – Sally, 29, from Nasiriyah in Iraq, fled beatings and violence in Iraq after divorcing her husband. She reached Greece by boat from Turkey, alongside other refugees, and now lives in Athens where she is learning Greek and receiving counselling from MSF.
22 | MEDITERRANEAN SEA – KEVIN MCELVANEY
December 2016 – Rescuers from SOS Mediterranee, with whom MSF partners on board the search and rescue ship Aquarius, distribute lifejackets in heavy seas and pouring rain to refugees adrift on a small inflatable boat in the Mediterranean Sea.
23 | MEDITERRANEAN SEA – KEVIN MCELVANEY
December 2016 – Young men hold on tight as a speedboat transfers them from their wooden boat to the MSF/SOS search and rescue vessel, Aquarius, in the rough seas of the Mediterranean, off the northern coast of Libya.
Step aboard MSF's search and rescue vessel Aquarius to hear the sounds of a rescue on the Mediterranean.
24 | MEDITERRANEAN SEA – ALBERT MASIAS
March 2017 – A wooden boat with 412 people on board, mainly from Asian countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, is rescued at night by the MSF search and rescue ship, Vos Prudence and other vessels, in the Mediterranean Sea.
25 | MEDITERRANEAN SEA – ANDREW MCCONNELL/PANOS
26 | THERMOPYLAE, GREECE – TANYA HABJOUQA/ NOOR IMAGES
June 2017 – A young boy sits in a corridor of an abandoned spa resort in Thermopylae, Greece.
The resort buildings are being used to house refugees where MSF is providing mental healthcare to those that find themselves trapped there by EU refugee policy preventing them from continuing their journey through Europe.
27 | LESVOS, GREECE – GIUSEPPE LA ROSA/MSF
March 2017 – Karon, 31, sits with his wife and their twin girls in a refugee shelter on the Greek island of Lesvos. The family arrived in August 2016 but have since been blocked by Greek authorities from leaving the island to continue their journey to the mainland.
“What I have seen in Iraq, I do not want my children to see it again. This is why we left our country, where everything is paralysed, everything stopped, there is no life… My true dream is that my children will live in a beautiful country, without war, without bloodshed, without any of this. This is the only thing I wish for.”
28 | BELGRADE, SERBIA – PAUL HANSEN/DAGENS NYHETER
January 2017 – A man washes outdoors using a plastic bottle at a disused warehouse complex in Belgrade, Serbia.
Many hundreds of refugees making their way across Europe have sought shelter from the freezing temperatures of the Serbian winter, as their journeys are thwarted by stricter border controls.
This year was a disastrous one for refugees and migrants making the crossing from North Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean. More than 3,000 people died or went missing making the crossing.
While this is fewer than the number of those who perished last year, fewer actually made the crossing in 2017. Proportionally, this was the deadliest year since 2014 for people seeking a new life in Europe via the Mediterranean.
29 | BOLOSSE, HAITI – JEANTY JUNIOR AUGUSTIN
January 2017 – Residents of Bolosse, in the Haitian mountains, watch the arrival by helicopter of an MSF relief package of medical aid and building materials. MSF is conducting relief distributions in some of the most remote areas of the country following the devastation by Hurricane Matthew.
30 | TENOSIQUE, MEXICO – MARTA SOSZYNSKA/MSF
March 2017 – A woman rests with her granddaughter during an MSF support session for women in a shelter for migrants in Tenosique, Mexico. According to an MSF survey, nearly one-third of women migrating through Mexico suffer sexual abuse.
Dr Javid Abdelmoneim speaks about a letter he received while working in Haiti that changed his life.
31 | BUENAVENTURA, COLOMBIA – MARTA SOSZYNSKA/MSF
December 2016 – Francisca, 77, looks at a picture of her son who died six years ago in the Brisas del Mar district of Buenaventura, Colombia. She has been living in the neighbourhood for 32 years.
Buenaventura is situated on the Colombian Pacific coast. It has gained notoriety as a city with the highest crime rates in the country, where a large part of the population is exposed daily to acts of violence, including killings, shootings, extortion, kidnappings and sexual abuse.
32 | CHOLOMA, HONDURAS – CHRISTINA SIMONS/MSF
September 2017 – Cinthya, 18, receives a hug from an MSF nurse at the Choloma clinic for medical and mental healthcare, after suffering domestic violence. She is two months' pregnant. MSF is supporting a mother and child clinic in Choloma, a rapidly expanding industrial area now the third most populous city in Honduras and notorious for its high level of violence.
Despite the end of the conflict between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in 2016, MSF psychologists were still hard at work in 2017 to overcome the mental consequences. This is the story of one of our patients.
33 | ANJUMAN PARA, BANGLADESH – MOISES SAMAN/MAGNUM PHOTOS
October 2017 – Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, awaiting permission from Bangladeshi border guards to continue their journey to the refugee camps near Cox's Bazar, seek shelter from the monsoon rains in a rice field on the Bangladeshi side of the border with Myanmar.
34 | ANJUMAN PARA, BANGLADESH – MOISES SAMAN/MAGNUM PHOTOS
October 2017 – Rohingya refugees from Myanmar gather on the Bangladeshi side of the Naf River waiting for permission to continue their journey to the refugee camps near Cox's Bazar.
35 | TEKNAF, BANGLADESH – ANTONIO FACCILONGO
September 2017 – A local Bangladeshi boy watches the Rohingya refugees arriving under torrential rain at a border crossing on the Naf river, near Teknaf, after fleeing Myanmar.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine State in Myanmar following an escalation in violence in August.
36 | KUTUPALONG, BANGLADESH – ANTONIO FACCILONGO
September 2017 – A Rohingya woman comforts her two sons in their tent in the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The family recently fled Myanmar joining hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled across the border during episodes of violence in previous years, moving into makeshift settlements without adequate access to shelter, food, clean water or proper sanitation.
37 | OSH, KYRGYZSTAN – MAXIME FOSSAT
July 2017 – Gulzat, 17, receives a visit from the MSF medical team at home. Gulzat suffered tuberculosis meningitis two years ago and despite medical treatment she did not fully recover.
She is paralysed and entirely dependent on her relatives for day to day care. MSF supports Gulzat as a palliative care patient, helping to provide drugs and finance a variety of her medical costs.
38 | PNI RO LUK, CAMBODIA – TIM DIRVEN
January 2017 – Saom Koem (R) lives with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Pni Ro Luk, during the planting and harvest seasons.
Two years ago Saom Koem contracted malaria but was treated. This year his whole family took part in the project for proactive voluntary screening for malaria.
39 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES – HANNAH REYES MORALES
September 2017 – Elyes (L) and Diana fix each other's hair before posing for a portrait in their tenement home near Smokey Mountain, Manila.
Both girls have received vaccinations from the Likhaan clinic, which provides free healthcare for low income communities. For many members of low income communities in Manila, procuring basics such as food, shelter, and clothing takes priority over their healthcare needs.
40 | PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – TODD BROWN
April 2017 – Din Savorn, a 50-year-old former policeman from Phnom Penh, was overwhelmed with relief when he found he was finally cured of hepatitis C.
After living with the disease for nearly 20 years, Din was one of the first people to be treated with a new and more effective treatment for hepatitis C, offered for free by the MSF clinic in Phnom Penh.
Saliha is a patient at MSF’s women’s health clinic in Kamrangirchar, a densely populated slum in the south of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. She has survived abuse first from her father and then from her husband. She is, in some ways, typical of the women who come to the clinic. “Before, I had no courage to help other women because I was afraid of my husband,” says Saliha. “But now, I have overcome all of my fears and anxieties.”
41 | HUTH, YEMEN – FLORIAN SERIEX/MSF
April 2017 – Besam brings her seven-month-old son to the health centre for a check up after he exhibited a high fever and was vomiting. The child is malnourished but according to the doctor, such cases happen very often. "Mothers stop breastfeeding and replace their milk with a powdered one, but the water isn’t clean and the children get very sick."
42 | ROJAVA, SYRIA – CHRIS HUBY/AGENCE LE PICTORIUM
July 2017 – Two men embrace each other, tears in their eyes, during a funeral in Tal Abyad for local men who had fought and been killed in the fight for Raqqa.
Dr Nina Rajani recounts treating people fleeing the so-called Islamic State in Iraq.
43| ROJAVA, SYRIA – CHRIS HUBY /AGENCE LE PICTORIUM
July 2017 – Ismael sits at the graveside of his friend, Hout, who was killed two days earlier by an Islamic State group sniper in the battle for Raqqa. A camp located in Ain Issa, 55 km north of Raqqa, shelters around 8,000 people who have been displaced by the war.
MSF teams manage the water supply, and are providing primary healthcare and stabilising wounded patients before referring the most severe cases to Kobane hospital.
44 | AIN ISSA, SYRIA – AGNES VARRAINE-LECA
September 2017 – Members of the civil council of Raqqa organise identity cards and passports handed in by those newly arrived at the Ain Issa camp for displaced people in northern Syria.
Civilian areas in and around Raqqa have been routinely bombed and deprived of assistance. Access to food and healthcare remains extremely poor, especially in areas undergoing prolonged siege.
45 | HAMMAM AL-ALIL, IRAQ – ALICE MARTINS
A brother and sister are united at the MSF field trauma centre, south of Mosul in Iraq. The siblings have not seen each other for over two years due to the conflict, and met again by chance in this field hospital after the woman’s daughter was brought in to be treated for minor injuries.
During the heaviest fighting in the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul in early 2017, Arnaud Badinier was given two weeks to create a mobile surgical unit housed in a series of five trailers. This is what he and his team came up with:
With thanks to the photographers featured here. Follow them on Instagram to see more of our work from the frontline. In order of appearance: @dominicnahr • @siegfriedmodolaphoto • @peterbauza • @jcarlostomasi • @fredriklerneryd • @sara.creta • @sylavin • @luca_sola_photo • @fabcaterini • @colindelfosse • @lena_mucha • @_g_binet_ • @habjouqa • @kevinmcelvaney • @albertmasias • @andrewmcconnellphoto • @paul_hansen64 • @jjeantyaugustin • @christinasimons • @moisessaman • @faccilongo_antonio • @_maximefossat_ • @hannahreyesmorales • @toddbrownfoto • @flosrx • @chris_huby • @agnesvarraineleca • @martinsalicea