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Quakes and disasters: How to help

Interview: How relief agencies respond to emergencies and long-term problems.

TB is an important channel. There needs to be medical progress on how to treat TB. The drugs for TB are 50 years old. There needs to be new research but the drug companies are not so interested. We are still fighting this on a daily basis.

What is the most effective way to deal with long-term health problems? Is the international donor community up to the challenges?

I think donors are generous and I am always surprised the way they get interested and contribute. People are generous by nature and they give a lot.

We have to fight to get the attention through the media so people see the important issues around the world. We must bring the problems up to many different platforms. This is how MSF sustains solidarity and support from the donor community. Many of our ongoing projects are not on the top 10 of world emergencies, but they deserve continued support because they are long-term problems.

MSF has a balance, about half of our resources go to the disasters that create immediate health emergencies. And about half goes to the long-term health problems.

It is difficult. We cannot solve all the problems as quickly as we would like. But it is rewarding work and we are grateful that there are so many generous people to help us in this work.


Marie-Noelle Rodrigue is currently the deputy director of operations for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Prior to assuming this position, she was the director of the emergency desk for MSF, where she has coordinated the organization's aid operations in Gaza, Pakistan, Nigeria, Haiti, Nigeria, Uganda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Guatemala. In these capacities she has had overall responsibility for MSF’s surgical, sexual violence, primary care, and mental health programs assisting civilians caught in violence in Uganda, Nigeria, and Haiti, and for HIV/AIDS treatment programs in all four countries.

A nurse with a wealth of experience working in conflict, Ms. Rodrigue has MSF experience in conflict zones including assignments in Rwanda, Kosovo, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Iraq, and Nepal. She graduated from nursing school in Lyon, France, in 1991 and worked in intensive care there before joining MSF in 1996.