Peru 2007 © David Levene
Slideshow: When MSF Responds
Every year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in nearly 60 countries around the world. MSF provides assistance when catastrophic events — such as armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters — overwhelm local health systems. MSF also assists people who face discrimination or neglect from their local health systems or when populations are otherwise excluded from health care.
On any given day, close to 27,000 doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts, administrators, and other qualified professionals can be found providing medical care in international teams made up of local MSF aid workers and their colleagues from around the world.
In 2006, MSF medical teams gave more than 9 million outpatient consultations; hospitalized almost half a million patients; delivered 99,000 babies; treated 1.8 million people for malaria; treated 150,000 malnourished children; provided 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS with antiretroviral therapy; vaccinated 1.8 million people against meningitis; and conducted 64,000 surgeries.
When MSF Responds
At its core, the purpose of humanitarian action is to save the lives and ease the suffering of people caught in acute crises, thereby restoring their ability to rebuild their lives and communities.
In each country where MSF works, one or more of the following crises is occurring: armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters.
Kenya 2008 © Brendan Bannon
More than half of MSF''s programs are for people affected by armed conflict or internal instability.
MSF provides medical care to people who are caught in war zones and who may be injured by gunshot, knife, or machete wounds, bombings, or sexual violence. The organization provides surgical care in 25 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Nigeria, Chechnya, and in northern Iraq, Iran, and Jordan for Iraqi civilians.
MSF provides medical care to refugees and internally displaced people who have fled to camps and other temporary shelters. Today in places like Chad, Colombia, Somalia, and Sudan, MSF is running vaccination campaigns and water-and-sanitation projects, providing basic medical care through clinics and mobile clinics, building or rehabilitating hospitals, treating malnutrition and infectious diseases, and providing mental health support. Field teams also provide shelter and basic supplies such as blankets, plastic sheeting, or cooking pots when people have been uprooted from their homes and have nothing to help them survive