CROATIA, Slavonski Brod | MAGNA mediacal staff during the checkup of syrian refugee’s children in refugee camp. © Martin Bandzak / MAGNA
The year 2016 will go down in history as one of the tumultuous ones. The majority of lost long-lasting conflicts have failed to resolve, and what is worse - some escalated last year. Whether we are talking about Syria that is daily in the spotlight or countries that receive less attention, such as South Sudan or Democratic Republic of the Congo. The civilians who happen to live in the territory, and usually have nowhere to go, have also become the victims. They have no access to food, water or health care.....regardless the fact they were involved in this situation involuntary. MAGNA has been helping victims in crisis areas in various parts of the world since 2001. It also fights against malnutrition and the HIV epidemic. The year 2017 has arrived, and we carry on. We would like to introduce you to areas and countries that will be a priority for us this year. Most of them have long-lasting problems, and the people living there need urgent help. We are here for them and you may be too. Join us and help us save people's lives. Help us help them every month. Become MAGNA donor.
Syria: The bloodiest conflict on Earth
World's eyes are on horror in Syria. The rain of bombs falling on Syrian cities are closely monitored by camera lenses. How terrifying the explosions really are and what the destructive force really sounds like know only people there. Their hometowns are destroyed in front of them. Huge number of victims in this beleaguered country have lost everything and their future remains uncertain. The Syrian army overran Aleppo. Its inhabitants are safe for the time being. But for months they did not have access to health care, and their health is affected after days without food, medication or other help. Each month MAGNA medical teams treated 9,000 people in the besieged zone north of the city of Homs. Furthermore, we are improving the quality of healthcare services at hospitals in Talbisheh and Al Rastan through constant education of health care professionals. Besides, MAGNA provides blood banks and equips surgical and trauma departments that treat the injured. For women we ensure access to obstetric care, and we handle urgent gynecological cases as well. At the end of the year, we shipped humanitarian aid to the hospitals around Aleppo and Idleb - respiratory and anesthetic equipment, medicines, medical material, as well as tents, blankets and other humanitarian material.
Lebanon: The Sanctuary of Syrian refugees
Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon are the countries hosting the most Syrian refugees. Lebanon itself, with population of 4.5-million, has officially accepted more than a million Syrians, however the real number is even higher. The country also serves as a sanctuary for about half million Palestinians. They live mainly in refugee camps - some even for decades. Beirut does not allow building of new refugee camps for Syrians. The economically weak country has already enough internal problems and is afraid of influx of larger number of Syrians. Thus, more than a million of refugees are living in makeshift tent villages scattered around the country and in abandoned buildings without any water or electricity. These people usually live without things we consider a given: hygienic facilities, health care or collection of garbage. Therefore, MAGNA added last year Lebanon to the list of countries that need help. Specifically, regions Akkar and Bekaa is where the refugees from Syria and people from the local communities receive primary health care thanks to our operations of mobile clinics and our support at the existing health care facilities.
Cambodia: A cluster of problems
Strong economic growth on one hand and $ 1.25 per day to live on for most of population on the other. Dark and bright side of Cambodia - still one of the poorest countries in the Southeast Asia. Cambodians can't seem to escape from the vicious circle of malnutrition, high rates of HIV / AIDS and poverty. Besides that, the country is being plagued by one natural disaster after another. Harsh drought is followed by torrential rains that bring floodings. It's no surprise that Cambodia is where a substantial number of humanitarian organizations operate. One provides drinking water, another is demining former battlefields and turning them to fields, others educate children, build protection against natural disasters, provide health and nutrition services, or treat people living with HIV / AIDS... Cambodia has so many problems that when one sees them all lined up, a second thought may come to mind to turn around and leave instead of rolling up sleeves and getting to work. But the latter is exactly what Cambodia needs. Dedicated helpers who assist the country in eluding the sticky cluster of worries. And people like that come from Magna. They provide care to HIV / AIDS positive orphans and treat acute malnutrition. Magna has been active in Cambodia in the past 15 years and is the major provider of psychosocial and mental care for HIV / AIDS patients. It is achieving great results in the terms of lives saved, and that figure will certainly continue growing in 2017.
South Sudan: No childhood happiness in the youngest nation in the world
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 and during the first 6 years of it's existence hasn't experienced many good things. It's raging civil war forced about 400-thousand of citizens to escape and more than 1.8 million people who lost their homes are staying. The extremely poor country is threatened by famine. The ongoing conflict has in 4 year destroyed fields, and made the farmers run for their lives. The nation is at the edge of entering the state of genocide... It's health facilities are not in any better situation. The few remaining health care workers who are now sacrifying themselves to save others don't have access to proper medication and equipment. And that is why MAGNA is helping in South Sudan since 2013. Thirty of MAGNA workers there focus mainly at women and children. We are one of the main operators of medical assistance at the camp for displaced people in Juba, the capital, and we are in charge of immunization of children and women, vaccination against fatal diseases such as cholera at 3 temporary health centers. In the area of Jonglei, which has been hit the hardest by the conflict, we provide medical assistance designed especially to treat malaria, acute diarrhea and dehydration and pneumonia - diseases that pose the greatest threat to children.
Congo: The country impossible to imagine
More than 40% of people can not read and write. More than half of the population lives on $ 1 a day. Only 1% has an University degree. Even though the Civil War and subsequent famine ended years ago, ethnic tensions have blown up. The country has been unable to recover economically and belongs to the poorest in the world. A short report on Democratic Republic of Congo.... It continues: about half million of the nation are victims of rape. The nickname of it's capital, Kinshasa, sends shivers down the spine - "The capital of rape". Exact number of victims, among whom are women, men and children, can not be ascertained. The sexual violence in families is silent - the Constitution says that a woman should obey her husband. They have a saying in DR Congo that it is the worst place in the world for a woman to be born.
The situation is slowly changing. MAGNA has in the past eight years helped not only victims of sexual violence, which translates into medical and psychosocial support, but also took care of malnourished children and people without access to health care. In Kinshasa we operate eight clinics to help victims of sexual violence, which provides treatment, psychosocial support and legal aid. Pregnant victims receive comprehensive prenatal and obstetric care. Child malnutrition is a chronic problem in the country and for that reason is our assistance focused not only on severe cases of malnutrition, but we also try to treat even mildly malnourished children - we handle around 20,000 such cases each month.
Malnutrition: A disease that affects around 16 million children in the world
Treatment of malnutrition is not a rocket science. Thousands of people around the world deal with this problem, struggle with it and want it gone. Fortunately, they have been succeeding. To continue with their efforts, they need only one little thing ... money.
A malnourished child is treated for about 2-3 months. During this period, it receives therapeutic food. It is a simple solution. You reach for it when you crave something sweet. Or when you want to replenish & refuel after your workout. A bar that weighs just a few-grams saves millions of lives every year. On average, one child needs 135 of these bars. That costs approximately €45.
There are 15 countries where malnutrition rates are alarming - meaning more than 40% of children under five years are affected. MAGNA operates in most of them and in few more where the situation is only slightly better. In DR Congo, Cambodia, South Sudan, Syria and during the droughts and famine at the Kenya/Somalia MAGNA workers handed out millions of packages of therapeutic food and taught parents of the affected children how to use them. Thousands more of malnourished children will receive meals that save their lives again this year.
HIV / AIDS: The number of infected children is decreasing.
The year 2016 brought a break-through for the treatment of HIV / AIDS. More than 18 million people received the therapy. It is estimated that more than 36 million people world wide live now with HIV / AIDS. Magna operates in countries where the virus is widespread. The process starts with a simple blood test that determines whether the patient is infected. If it's positive, anti-retroviral therapy (ARV) follows. In addition to receiving the ARV, a supportive treatment is also important. Since people with HIV / AIDS are more susceptible to general infections, supplemental care helps protecting against them. One of the biggest challenges in the fight against HIV / AIDS is to prevent transmission from mother to child. PMTCT prevention services deal with this issue. The mother receives anti-retroviral therapy during the pregnancy - and the baby gets it immediately after birth. In the recent years, around 77% of affected women had access to this therapy. The number of pediatric patients infected with the virus has been in the past 5 years reduced by 60 thousand. MAGNA fights HIV / AIDS in many countries. Cambodia and DR Congo are an example of places where we save lives.
The worst situation is in Africa.
In addition to treatment, prevention, vaccinations and food MAGNA also provides an extremely important psychological, social and legal support to victims of sexual violence. The map annually published by the United Nations clearly shows the worst situation is in Africa. It's a common occurrence in countries that fail to boost their economic development, have an ongoing interior conflict or where the population lives below poverty line. MAGNA is fighting this problem in DR Congo and South Sudan. In addition to psycho-social assistance the victims of sexual violence are also receiving necessary medical care. It includes prophylactic treatment against HIV / AIDS, tetanus and other sexually transmitted diseases, such as hepatitis B. Patients may also get an emergency contraception. Unfortunately, doctors are playing here against the time - everything depends on when the patient gets help.
Join us and help save children's lives. Become MAGNA supporter. Let's help together every month.