Sharpening the Focus on the Top 10 Humanitarian Crises


With the Obama administration igniting fervor for hope and change, perhaps the world will take heed of the decade-strong work that has been generating from the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Since 1998, MSF has been producing a “Top Ten” list of the worst humanitarian and medical emergencies in the world. According to their website, the compilation was inspired when a devastating famine in southern Sudan went largely unreported in U.S. media. Drawing on MSF’s emergency medical work the top ten list seeks to generate greater awareness of the magnitude and severity of crises that may or may not be reflected in media accounts.

Massive forced civilian displacements, violence, and unmet medical needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, and Pakistan, along with neglected medical emergencies in Myanmar and Zimbabwe are some of the worst humanitarian and medical emergencies in the world. The report underscores major difficulties in bringing assistance to people affected by conflict.

Also included on the list is the lack of global attention to the growing prevalence of HIV-tuberculosis co-infection and the critical need for increased global efforts to prevent and treat childhood malnutrition – the underlying cause of death for up to five million children per year.

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