DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS/MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF)
Remarks at the concert by
Dr. John Lawrence, President, MSF-USA
"MSF has massively scaled up operations in Cox's Bazar district in direct response to the influx of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar fleeing a campaign of targeted violence that began on August 25, 2017.
By May 2018, there were more than 713,000 new arrivals at makeshift camps in Bangladesh. They join hundreds of thousands of other Rohingya who had fled earlier waves of violence and persecution in Myanmar. This is among the largest and fastest-growing refugee emergencies in decades, according to the United Nations.
The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority who have lived in Myanmar for hundreds of years. Denied citizenship by Myanmar’s government, they are stateless and face particular challenges obtaining access to health care and other basic rights.
In December 2017, MSF released the results of mortality surveys documenting the shocking scope of recent violence against the Rohingya community in Myanmar. Teams in Bangladesh are treating survivors for bullet, blast, and stab wounds and injuries related to sexual violence.
Staff are responding to a range of illnesses directly related to poor living conditions in the makeshift settlements, including respiratory tract infections, diarrheal diseases, and infant malnutrition. MSF is vaccinating children and pregnant women in its facilities to support the Bangladeshi government’s initiative to expand routine vaccination in the camps. Other activities include water and sanitation efforts and mental health care services."
Dr. John Lawrence, a native of Illinois, was appointed president of the board of directors of MSF-USA in June 2016. He previously served as vice president of the board. Dr. Lawrence attended Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School, then completed a family practice internship and worked as a general medical officer in Tuba City, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He then returned to residency and completed training in general surgery at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York, and in pediatric surgery at St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia. For the past 20 years, he has been a practicing pediatric surgeon, primarily in academic settings, and he is currently a staff pediatric surgeon at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Owing in part to a longstanding interest in global health, Dr. Lawrence has completed ten surgical missions with MSF since 2009 and is currently working toward an MPH degree through the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Lawrence has served MSF as a surgeon in the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia.