Doctors Without Borders

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**History and Establishment**:
– Founded in 1971 by French doctors and journalists after witnessing suffering in Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War.
– MSF’s principles of neutrality and willingness to work in conflict zones were established early on.
– Merged two groups to form MSF in 1971, focusing on survivors’ rights.
– First missions included providing aid in Nicaragua, Lebanon, and refugee camps in Thailand.
– Shifted towards providing medical aid regardless of political or religious boundaries.

**Operations and Recognition**:
– Operates in 70 countries with over 35,000 personnel, mainly local medical professionals.
– Provides medical care for diseases like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and COVID-19.
– Receives about 90% of funding from private donors.
– Recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for providing medical care during crises.
– Has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
– Governance structure includes six operational centers and the International Council for policy coordination.

**Impact and Activities**:
– Missions extend to various African countries, focusing on conflict zones and endemic diseases.
– Emphasizes accessibility to medical care across national boundaries.
– Quick emergency response is a hallmark of MSF’s operations.
– Advocates for increased research on HIV/AIDS treatments and denounces neglect of healthcare.
– Involved in various crises and conflicts globally, from Rwanda to Chechnya to Kosovo.

**Regional Focus – Africa**:
– Provides healthcare, food, and water in African countries, focusing on HIV/AIDS education and treatment.
– Offers services like nutritional support, reproductive healthcare, and surgery in Sudan.
– Addresses prevalent diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, and measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
– Provides relief during conflicts and epidemics in countries like Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Burundi.

**Regional Focus – Asia, Middle East, and North Africa**:
– Provides medical assistance in post-conflict regions like Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
– Offers mental health services, counseling, and surgical support in conflict zones like Libya.
– Conducts search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, assisting thousands of migrants.
– MSF’s presence in regions like Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Libya showcases its commitment to providing healthcare in diverse and challenging environments.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; pronounced [medsɛ̃ sɑ̃ fʁɔ̃tjɛʁ] ), also known as Doctors Without Borders, is a charity that provides humanitarian medical care. It is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) of French origin known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases. The organisation provides care for diabetes, drug-resistant infections, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, tropical and neglected diseases, tuberculosis, vaccines and COVID-19. In 2019, the charity was active in 70 countries with over 35,000 personnel; mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers, and administrators. Private donors provide about 90% of the organisation's funding, while corporate donations provide the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$1.63 billion.

Médecins Sans Frontières
Founded22 December 1971; 52 years ago (1971-12-22)
Founded atParis
TypeInternational non-governmental organisation
FocusHumanitarian aid
  • Global: Centres:
    • Amsterdam (OCA)
    • Barcelona-Athens (OCBA)
    • Brussels (OCB)
    • Paris (OCP)
    • Geneva (OCG)
    • West and Central Africa (WaCA)
Area served
International President
Christos Christou
Main organ
International General Assembly
Revenue (2020)
€1.9 billion
Introduction of Médecins Sans Frontières

MSF was founded in 1971, in the aftermath of the Biafran famine of the Nigerian Civil War, by a small group of French doctors and journalists who sought to expand accessibility to medical care across national boundaries and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. MSF's principles and operational guidelines are highlighted in its Charter, the Chantilly Principles, and the later La Mancha Agreement. Governance is addressed in Section 2 of the Rules portion of this final document. MSF has an associative, rather chaotic structure[according to whom?], where operational decisions are made, independently, by the six operational centres (Amsterdam, Barcelona-Athens, Brussels, Geneva, Paris and West and Central Africa – with Headquarter office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast). Common policies on core issues are coordinated by the International Council, in which each of the 24 sections (national offices) is represented. The International Council meets in Geneva, Switzerland, where the International Office, which coordinates international activities common to the operational centres, is based.

MSF has general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It received the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its members' continued efforts to provide medical care in acute crises, as well as raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters. James Orbinski, who was the president of the organisation at the time, accepted the prize on behalf of MSF. Prior to this, MSF also received the 1996 Seoul Peace Prize. Christos Christou succeeded Joanne Liu as international president in June 2019.

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