New Year babies: The first MSF newborns of 2023
In conflict and crisis zones, there are still moments of happiness and humanity. Nowhere is that clearer than on a maternity ward.
While people around the world celebrated the arrival of 2023, expert doctors and midwives from Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) were helping hopeful mothers welcome new life.
From maternity wards at six hospitals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, meet just some of the first babies born into our care in 2023.
On the first day of 2023, ‘Baby Kamara’ was born in the MSF Mother and Child Hospital in Hangha, Sierra Leone, weighing 2.73 kg.
Most Sierra Leoneans do not usually name their babies immediately after they are born, choosing to wait until a few days later. However, the proud mother decided to call her new arrival Baby Kamara for now.
When asked about her dreams for her child, Kamara’s mother said: “My hope for this new year is to see my baby grow with good health."
Life-saving medical care, thanks to your support
The generosity of people like you means expert MSF teams save lives in more than 90 countries worldwide. In conflict zones, natural disasters and epidemics, we go where we are needed greatest.
At MSF’s Nablus Hospital in Iraq, it was double joy on New Year’s Day.
At 01:13 in the morning, Elain (on the right) entered the world weighing 2.64 kg. Then, just three minutes later her sister Selain followed weighing 2.59 kg.
Not only were the twins’ mother and grandmother happy, but the entire MSF maternity unit celebrated their safe arrival. Their mother, Rahyba, said: “I wish that they'll have a successful future and work in medicine or in the education system in our town.”
In 2022, the maternity team at Nablus welcomed more than 10,000 newborns.
In Yemen, at just four minutes after midnight on 1 January, Ensgaam was born.
He was delivered at MSF’s Mother and Child Hospital in Taiz, weighing 3 kg. His parents had one wish: “That he grows up happy and strong.”
Within a short while, Ensgaam was happy enough for a small cuddle with some of the MSF staff who helped deliver him and even the hospital director.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
In the DRC, the first baby of 2023 at the MSF-supported Salamabila Hospital was born at 11:00 on New Year’s Day.
Little Beko Akida arrived weighing 3.3 kg.
His parents' first hope for their child is that he grows up to become a doctor.
At Afghanistan's Boost Hospital in Lashkar Gah – one of MSF’s largest medical projects – a baby was born just as the clock ticked into a new year at exactly 00:01.
The parents and medical team celebrated as healthy baby boy Rayes (below left) opened his eyes and became the first newborn delivered by staff in 2023.
Not long after, at Khost Maternity Hospital which is home to our largest maternity ward worldwide, baby Asma (above right) arrived at 00:07.
The little girl’s parents had travelled for over an hour to reach hospital, finally arriving at 23:20 on New Year’s Eve.
Asma’s mother was very happy to receive care from the MSF team and was congratulated by the midwives for having her first child, weighing 2.8 kg.
MSF and maternal health
Many women across the world give birth without medical assistance. This massively increases the risk of complications or death. Ninety-four percent of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, however, the majority are preventable with appropriate care.
Our healthcare teams work together with pregnant women to provide delivery services, emergency obstetric care and post-delivery consultations.