Doctors Without Borders - reaching out to survivors of xenophobic violence

International non-profit organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been providing medical care for people who have been marginalised in South Africa for nearly 20 years, focusing on HIV and tuberculosis support in clinics including Khayelitsha in Cape Town and Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal.

It's now launched the awareness campaign #ActionsSpeak to "provoke South Africans to consider humanitarian values" and boost donations.

Cape Talk's Africa Melane speaks to head of communications for Southern Africa, Borrie la Grange, about MSF's history in the country.

In 1999 roughly a 1000 people a day were dying because of Aids and there was no treatment provided by the state. We recognised the huge need and that's how we came to be working in Khayelitsha where we established a clinic where we started treating people with anti-retroviral drugs.

Borrie la Grange, Head of communications - Doctors Without Borders Southern Africa

A lot of the work we did was to understand how to support people through life-long ARV treatment.

Borrie la Grange, Head of communications - Doctors Without Borders Southern Africa

MSF is associated with providing medical aid in conflict zones and la Grange points out that conflict leads to displacement of people which has a bearing on South Africa.

The organisation has been responding to the trauma experienced by foreign nationals subjected to xenophobic violence.

We provide people with access to medical care, but also psychological support. Sometimes they witness incredibly traumatic things - I'm thinking of the recent flare-up here outside Johannesburg in Katlehong, where people were killed and their relatives saw them brutally killed and we were able to provide some of those survivors with psychological support and to help them make sense of what has happened to them and find a way forward.

Borrie la Grange, Head of communications - Doctors Without Borders Southern Africa

Find out more about MSF's latest awareness campaign here.

Click on the link below to listen to the conversation with la Grange:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Doctors Without Borders - reaching out to survivors of xenophobic violence


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