Akin Chan surgeon
Year of joining MSF:2012
Number of Missions:7
Mission Countries:Pakistan, South Sudan, Syria

Stories from
our field workers

The only surgeon in the only hospital within the area
It is difficult for those who live in areas of conflict and poverty to get to the hospitals. Many die on the way there. So I always try my best to save every single patient who makes it to our hospitals.

Akin Chan Kin Wah has been on 7 missions with MSF. 

During one of Akin's missions to South Sudan, a young man came to the hospital. He had been at home chopping firewood, when he accidently injured his foot, leaving a 10-cm deep wound, exposing the bone. Akin noticed that the injury had been there for some time and through talking to the patient, Akin learned that the accident had happened three days prior. “Three days?!" Akin exclaimed. "How come you didn’t come here immediately?” It turns out that this young person lived far away and had left for the hospital after the accident. He had been walking for three days in acute pain, under the scorching hot sun to get there.

Akin has been on missions with MSF in Pakistan, South Sudan and Syria, and has met a lot of patients who have had to travel a long way to receive treatment. On his missions, he regularly works in hospitals that are the only medical facility in the area, and oftentimes he is the only surgeon in the hospital.

“For those who are living in conflict zones and poverty, it is difficult to get to the hospital. Many people die on the way. So I always try my best to save every patient who makes it there,” Akin said.

Since 2012, Akin has been participating in MSF operations, often for one to two months every year.

“I am motivated by each and every story I have encountered, and the opportunity to be part of their recovery process.”

In an operation in South Sudan in 2020, a young person was sent to the hospital where Akin was based. The young person had been shot in the abdomen during a tribal conflict, and he was in critical condition. “You could even see his internal organs spilling out. At first, we were genuinely afraid that he couldn’t make it.” After fixing the patients’ intestines, Akin performed an enterostomy to create an opening in his abdomen (a stoma) to allow for the passing of waste into a stoma bag. Stoma bags must be replaced frequently, and there were very few pouches left in that hospital. Akin and his colleagues thought of many ways to make stoma bags. “We tried all sorts of methods. We even used surgical gloves, plastic bags and saline bags.” Akin said. After a month and a half, the young person recovered and could finally leave the hospital.
“When I told him he could go home, he jumped to his feet and gave everyone a hug.” Akin continued.

“At first we were afraid he couldn’t make it. But seeing him recover made me feel really happy. I was just a tiny part in his recovery journey, and it was possible only because of the whole team. It may not be plausible to tell everyone to go save lives in person, but if you would like to become part of it, donating to us is also an excellent way to help us continue our work.” Akin said.


Places where MSF works

In Pakistan, access to healthcare is a challenge, particularly for women and children in isolated rural communities and urban slums. One in 11 children in the country die before their fifth birthday. MSF started working in Pakistan in 1986. Today, we are focused on caring for women and children, and patients with hepatitis C.In 2019, we assisted 33,200 births.
Since the start of the war in Syria 10 years ago, the lives of Syrian people have been under threat.12 million Syrians have been forced to flee the conflict, often multiple times, making it the biggest displacement crisis of this century. MSF has been responding to the crisis in Syria since its start from donating medical supplies, to setting up hospitals and clinics, to providing remote support to medical facilities and networks of doctors in areas that MSF could not access directly. MSF is providing support for medical, water and sanitation activities to Syrians within Northern Syria as well as in various neighbouring countries that host Syrian refugees. In 2019, we carried out 13,500 surgical interventions.
Ten years following the devastating earthquake, and five years after further damage from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Haiti’s healthcare system remains precarious. A series of disasters and outbreaks, political crises, and attention and investment from donors having gone elsewhere, have led to severe shortages of medical supplies and staff. We continue to respond to urgent needs wherever possible. In Port-au-Prince, the capital, MSF teams treat trauma and burns victims. In 2019, we conducted 27,800 outpatient consultations.