Every Lunar New Year, we receive countless blessings from our friends and loved ones. However, even as we celebrate at this time of year by enjoying lavish portions of dishes symbolising good fortune, wealth, unity, and happiness, an overwhelming number of vulnerable people continue to suffer due to armed conflict and emergencies.
Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) field workers are providing medical assistance to patients who need our help the most. Vincent Li, a Doctors Without Borders field worker, spent his Chinese New Year on a mission in Nigeria.
Vincent was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. In late 2017, he joined Doctors Without Borders on a mission to assist in the building of a new hospital in response to the high medical demand in the Fori area, Maiduguri. Vincent was responsible for designing and laying out the power system for the hospital.
All Doctors Without Borders staff working there shouldered important responsibilities and everyone hoped that the hospital will open on quickly and be able to start taking in people in need. Therefore, everyone works hard, sometimes more than 10 hours and without rest on Sundays. We were all striving towards one goal, which was to be operational as soon as possible.Vincent Li
As soon as the hospital opened its doors, more than 20 patients lined up outside waiting for treatment. Two severely malnourished twin brothers and their mother were the first patients admitted to the hospital.
When Vincent was in Maiduguri, it was around Chinese New Years celebration. On Chinese New Year's Eve, he helped his colleague from China cook eight dishes and celebrated with colleagues from other cultures.
Vincent (right) celebrated Chinese New Year with colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures when he was in Nigeria. Nigeria, 2017. © Vincent Li
Vincent celebrated Chinese New Year with colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures when he was in Nigeria. Nigeria, 2017. © Vincent Li
Vincent assisted his colleague from China to cook eight dishes and celebrated Chinese New Year with colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures when he was in Nigeria.
Everyone also wore red-colored clothing, which was considered auspicious during the festival. Some colleagues also used bed sheets as the dragon prop and put on a dragon dance to add to the fun. This was an unforgettable memory for Vincent.
Vincent is not the only one to have celebrated the Chinese New Year celebration while on field, watch as Lucy Lau shares how she celebrated Chinese New Year while on mission in Philippines, in 2014.
Malnutrition is a chronic and multi-faceted concern in Borno State, Nigeria, driven by the cumulative impact of displacement, insecurity, poverty, lack of access to healthcare and other factors. It is historically most acute between late June and early September during the ‘lean season’ – the period between the planting of crops and the harvest period. The added stressors of low immunisation, lack of access to clean water, hygiene and healthcare, too often combine with chronic food insecurity to produce devastating effects for children.
In mid-last year, Doctors Without Borders raised an alarm about the situation in Maiduguri, Borno State, where our inpatient malnutrition center is overwhelmed with a high number of patients – 2,199 children were admitted from January to June, a 50% increase from the previous year.
Awa Mohammad (2) was admitted in the District Hospital of Magaria, that is supported by Doctors Without Borders in paediatrics and malnutrition, with malaria and dermatological issues as well. “We live in Nigeria in a village named Baure about 50 km away from Magaria. We are farmers and produce our own food, but as the local food is not very rich on nutrients it is sometimes hard to keep a balanced diet that keeps us healthy,” says her mother Ismahan Ismael. “I was very happy that we got accepted into the hospital without any problem even though we come from Nigeria. Where we live, we don’t have this kind of health service.”
Please support us today so that we can continue providing medical care where the need is greatest. An ang pow of RM 68 (538 THB) can purchase 1 week of therapeutic food for 3 malnourished children.