MSF began working in the former Soviet Union in December 1988 - carrying out emergency relief work in the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia. In the early 90s, violent conflicts broke out in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The organization started basic health-care programs for the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in the republics of Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Today MSF runs both emergency and longer-term programs in nine CIS countries, where it often closely collaborates with local and national authorities as well as other humanitarian organizations.
Many of its current activities have evolved from past programs in the CIS, and thus are the result of accumulated expertise. Founded in 1971, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent, international medical relief organisation. Every year more than 2,000 volunteer doctors, nurses, and other professionals join MSF. These volunteers work hand in hand with some 10,000 national staff in over 80 countries worldwide. Together, they provide medical and humanitarian assistance to the victims of armed conflicts, epidemics, and other natural or man-made disasters.
MSF operates on the principles of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. In addition, MSF has a mandate to speak out and to advocate on issues where medical assistance is not enough to save lives. To maintain its independence, more than half of the organisation's funding comes from private donors. Other funding is provided by various international organisations and governmental institutions.