Doctors Without Borders


Doctors Without Borders
French Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

World's largest independent international medical relief agency.

It was established by a group of French physicians in 1971. It aids victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters and helps others whose lack of health care is due to geographic remoteness or ethnic or political marginalization. Teams provide primary health care, perform surgery, vaccinate children, rehabilitate hospitals, operate emergency nutrition and sanitation programs, and train local medical staff. Operating independently of governments, the organization depends on volunteer health professionals (more than 2,000 annually) and private donations. It received the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.

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French  Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) 

      international humanitarian (human rights) group dedicated to providing medical care to victims of political violence or natural disasters, as well as to those who lack access to such treatment. The group was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize for Peace.

      Doctors Without Borders was founded in 1971 by 10 French physicians who were dissatisfied with the neutrality of the Red Cross (Red Cross and Red Crescent). The doctors believed they had the right to intervene wherever they saw a need for their assistance, rather than waiting for an invitation from the government, and they also felt they had a duty to speak out about injustice, even though it might offend the host government. In 1972 Doctors Without Borders conducted its first major relief effort, helping victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. Other significant missions were undertaken to care for victims of fighting in Lebanon (1976), Afghanistan (1979), and the Russian republic of Chechnya (1995). Doctors Without Borders has continued to work to relieve famine, offer medical care to casualties of war, and deal with the problem of refugees in many countries throughout the world. In 2003 Doctors Without Borders was a founding partner in the organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), which works to create medicines for such diseases as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

      Doctors Without Borders works in more than 70 countries. Headquartered in Brussels, the organization has offices in some 20 countries. In addition to providing medical assistance, Doctors Without Borders has a reputation as a highly politicized group, particularly skillful in achieving publicity for its efforts. Its vocal opposition to perceived injustice led to its expulsion from several countries.

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Universalium. 2010.

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