Another Friday with people around the world impacted by conflict and natural disasters. Another post about an organization doing something to help. Today we focus on Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as MSF.
Founded in 1971 by a group of doctors and journalists in France, MSF provides “independent, impartial medical humanitarian assistance to the people who need it most.”
What started as a group of a few hundred volunteers 50 years ago has grown into an international movement of more than 63,000 staff providing over 10 million medical consultations in more than 70 countries and territories every year. This short video gives a great overview of their work as told by the people who do it.
MSF provides care where the needs for their expertise are greatest regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or politics. Nearly 25% of their projects are dedicated to assisting people living in conflict. In the current Israel-Gaza war, MSF offered support to Israeli hospitals treating large numbers of casualties following attacks by Hamas militants. They are also treating people at the MSF-supported Al-Awda hospital in Gaza. You can find the latest updates at this link.
MSF aid workers respond to natural disasters like the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan and Morocco. Because they have a worldwide network, they are often the first group to deploy rapid, lifesaving medical care. This network can also be activated during an outbreak of infectious disease. MSF will set up temporary facilities to treat patients, run mass vaccination campaigns and improve water and sanitation services to help prevent the spread of disease.
Finally, MSF teams work with refugees and internally displaced people to conduct rapid needs assessments and provide services such as vaccination; primary care and mental health counseling; nutrition support; and clean water and sanitation. Because MSF is financially independent they are able to reach communities in need without restriction and directly provide high quality medical care.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the state of the world and unsure of how you can help, supporting an organization like Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is one way to make an impact. You can get involved by fundraising, joining a college chapter of MSF or volunteering. You can also make a donation and spread the word on social media. Like the MSF Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel follow them on Instagram @doctorswithoutborders.