Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a remarkable organization saving lives throughout the world.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) translates to Doctors without Borders. We provide medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Our teams are made up of tens of thousands of health professionals, logistic and administrative staff – bound together by our charter. Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality. We are a non-profit, self-governed, member-based organisation.
Our teams conduct independent evaluations to determine medical needs and assess what assistance to provide. Different criteria determine what we do, such as the magnitude of a given crisis. We regularly question the form, relevance and impact of our presence, taking into account what other organisations do. Rapid and effective response to emergencies is at the core of our work. If mortality rates soar in just a few weeks, the main challenge is to save as many lives as possible in as short a time.
MSF keeps pre-packaged kits so that teams can offer rapid lifesaving assistance – from surgical kits, inflatable hospitals to cholera kits. Our proximity to people in distress implies a duty to raise awareness to improve their situation. Our teams may witness violence, atrocities, and neglect in the course of their work. Témoignage – translated as bearing witness – is the act of raising awareness, either in private or in public, about what we see happening in front of us. At times, MSF may speak out publicly to bring a forgotten crisis into view, or to denounce abuses, or challenge the diversion of assistance, or to call out policies that restrict access to medical care or essential medicines. The MSF Access Campaign pushed for access to essential medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for patients in our projects and beyond, funded thanks to the prize money from the Nobel Peace Prize, which MSF was awarded in 1999.
Thousands of logisticians on the field make sure that everything runs smoothly. From maintaining the cold chain during vaccination campaigns, to servicing vehicles; from organising the provision of water and sanitation in a camp to setting up a field hospital – logistics is what makes our work possible. Our supply centres in France, Belgium and the Netherlands (plus their regional hubs) dispatch pre-packaged kits, supplies and medicines needed for treating patients and running programmes. They guarantee the safety of medical and non- medical supplies, and deliver what our teams need, wherever needed and when they need it.