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|Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without
Borders or MSF) delivers emergency aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics,
and natural and man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care
due to social or geographical isolation.
MSF was founded in 1971 by a small group of French doctors who believed that all people have the right to medical care and that the needs of these people supersede respect for national borders. It was the first non-governmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and publicly bear witness to the plight of the populations they served.
A private, nonprofit organization, MSF is at the forefront of emergency health care as well as care for populations suffering from endemic diseases and neglect. MSF provides primary health care, performs surgery, rehabilitates hospitals and clinics, runs nutrition and sanitation programs, trains local medical personnel, and provides mental health care. Through longer-term programs, MSF treats chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, sleeping sickness, and AIDS; assists with the medical and psychological problems of marginalized populations including street children and ethnic minorities; and brings health care to remote, isolated areas where resources and training are limited.
MSF unites direct medical care with a commitment to bearing witness and speaking out against the underlying causes of suffering. Its volunteers protest violations of humanitarian law on behalf of populations who have no voice, and bring the concerns of their patients to public forums, such as the United Nations, governments, and the media. In a wide range of circumstances, MSF volunteers have spoken out against atrocities they have witnessed--from Chechnya, to Angola, to Kosovo.
MSF is an international network with sections in 18 countries. Each
year, more than 2,000 volunteer doctors, nurses, other medical professionals,
logistics experts, water/sanitation engineers, and administrators join
15,000 locally hired staff to provide medical aid in more than 80 countries.