What is Doctors Without Borders?

We provide lifesaving medical care where it is needed most.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization. Our work is guided by principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence. We provide lifesaving medical care where it is needed most.

Our medical teams work with people affected by conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. MSF also provides access to primary healthcare in areas where there is none. We treat people irrespective of their ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs or political views.

MSF was founded in Paris in 1971 by a group of doctors and journalists. They were motivated by the idea of providing medical care wherever there is a humanitarian crisis, and at the same time to raise global awareness by actively bearing witness and sharing stories. Today, MSF is an international movement with more than 47,000 people working in over 70 countries.

In 1999, MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its pioneering humanitarian efforts. The prize money was used to create the Access campaign, which advocates for more affordable and accessible medicines for all, regardless of their socio-economic situation or location in the world.

Our guiding principles

Every day, our actions are guided by medical ethics and our principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence.

Patients first

We are committed to providing the best possible care for all our patients. In accordance with medical ethics, we believe that patients have the right to confidentiality and to make autonomous decisions based on all the necessary information.

We are impartial

We provide free medical care based on need. We treat people irrespective of their political affiliation, origin, ethnicity or gender. Those in most serious or immediate danger are prioritized.

We are independent

Since 90% of our finances stem from the generosity of individual donors giving small amounts, we are able to make fast decisions free of any outside restrictions or influence.

We are neutral

We never take sides in a conflict nor allow the demands of governments or warring parties to dictate our actions. Our commitment to neutrality enables us to truly be where we are needed most.

We bear witness

According to the principle of bearing witness, or témoignage, we act as witnesses to the suffering we see and speak out about it. This is part of our mission to advocate for basic human rights, life and health all around the world.

We are accountable and transparent

We take responsibility and report our actions in order to be accountable to our patients and donors. Debating and evaluating our work is part of our process and helps us to improve. Our finances and decisions are handled with transparency.
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