Médecins Sans FrontièresMédecins Sans Frontières
; also known as Doctors Without Borders
in the United States) is a nonprofit private organization created in 1971
by a small group of French
doctors. The organisation was founded in the belief that all people have the right to medical care and that their need is more important than national borders. MSF accepts the risks of injury or death from providing medical care to people in war zones: the founders refused a Red Cross
order to leave an area for their own safety. Carlo Urbani
was formerly the group's President
; he died of severe acute respiratory syndrome
in March 2003
MSF provides medical care in case of emergency and for the treatment of endemic diseases, such as malaria. MSF is active in more than 80 countries worldwide, particularly in poor or third-world nations, and those in a state of war. MSF has frequently protested to the United Nations against atrocities on behalf of communities that lack official representations, such as the people of Chechnya and Kosovo.
MSF consists of both volunteer and permanently employed staff and is funded by contributions from the general public, nonprofit organizations, corporations and governments.
MSF has received much recognition and a number of awards for its work, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.