We are Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
We help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation. We offer assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality.
A worldwide movement
MSF was founded in Paris, France in 1971. Our principles are described in our founding charter. We are a non-profit, self-governed organisation. Today, MSF is a worldwide movement of 23 associations, bound together as MSF International, based in Switzerland. Thousands of health professionals, logistical and administrative staff – most of whom are hired locally – work on programmes in some 70 countries worldwide.
Our work is based on humanitarian principles. We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. MSF operates independently. We conduct our own evaluations on the ground to determine people’s needs. More than 90 per cent of our overall funding comes from millions of private sources, not governments. MSF is neutral. We do not take sides in armed conflicts, we provide care on the basis of need, and we push for independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.
Bearing witness and speaking out
Our medical teams often witness violence and neglect in the course of their work, largely in regions that receive scant international attention. At times, we may speak out publicly in an effort to bring a forgotten crisis to public attention, to alert the public to abuses occurring beyond the headlines, to criticise the inadequacies of the aid system, or to challenge the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interests.
Quality medical care
We reject the idea that poor people deserve third-rate medical care and strive to provide high-quality care to patients. In 1999, when MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the organisation announced the money would go towards raising awareness of and fighting against neglected diseases. Through the Access Campaign, and in partnership with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, this work has helped lower the price of HIV/AIDS treatment and stimulated research and development for medicines to treat malaria and neglected diseases like sleeping sickness and kala azar.
Why do we have a blog site?
"We are not sure that words can always save lives, but we know that silence can certainly kill," Dr James Orbinski, then MSF International President, collecting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.
A key principle of our organisation is speaking out about what we see - bearing witness or, ‘témoignage’. Our teams working around the world are key to this, as are our patients’ voices.
In most of the places where we work, our staff are free to write about their daily lives and the lifesaving work they carry out.
Occasionally, security constraints mean this isn’t possible in order to protect the safety of our staff and patients. However, we are continuously reviewing these situations.
Patients always give their consent to feature in our staff blogs and their names are often changed to protect anonymity.
All blog posts are the writers’ personal views and not necessarily those of MSF.