Doctors without Borders in Ethiopia: Among the Afar

By Nyla Jo Jones Hubbard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1. ETHIOPIA AND DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is “an international humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than seventy countries.” Their mission statement goes on to explain, “In countries where health structures are insufficient or even nonexistent, MSF collaborates with authorities such as the Minister of Health to provide assistance. MSF works in rehabilitation of hospitals and dispensaries, in vaccination programs and water and sanitation projects. MSF also works in remote health care centers, slum areas and provides training of local personnel. All this is done with the objective of rebuilding health structures to acceptable levels.”

This paragraph condenses a world of effort and they accomplish their work with surprisingly little fanfare in the aftermath of war, famine or natural disaster. For example MSF already had 792 volunteers in place in Haiti before the recent earthquake and Haiti was featured in their literature long before it made headlines after the quake. I had heard of them specifically only in the Nobel Prize announcement. Yet, Doctors without Borders/MSF is truly worldwide. There are twentyfour member nations and offices in nineteen countries. The mission to which I was assigned belonged to MSF France but was an “English-

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