What we do
We treat patients suffering from a wide array of illnesses and health needs. Here you will find some of the main needs we see and what we do about them.
Discover the main crises we work in, the consequences faced by affected people and challenges in delivering care.
Access to medicines
Unaffordable, unavailable, not adapted - people around the world face these challenges in accessing lifesaving medicines.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing phenomenon in contemporary medicine and has emerged as one of the pre-eminent public health concerns of the 21st century.
Attacks on medical care
Attacks against medical facilities and health workers, whether deliberate or indiscriminate, are part of generalised violence and atrocities committed against civilians in armed conflict. They deprive populations of health services, often when they need them the most.
Central American Migration
An estimated 500,000 people a year flee violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, heading north through Mexico to find safety. The levels of violence in the region are comparable to that of war zones MSF has worked in for decades.
Around the world, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams are working to protect the health of children.
Although easy to prevent and treat, cholera affects up to 4 million people worldwide per year, resulting in up to 140,000 deaths.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, most of which are harmless for humans. However, two types can cause severe lung infections. MSF is currently responding to a worldwide coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic
Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) update on the coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic.
Cyclone Idai & Southern Africa flooding
A weather system that produced heavy rains flooded parts of Malawi in early March 2019, before developing into Cyclone Idai which struck Mozambique and Zimbabwe on 14-16 March 2019, causing widespread flooding and damage.
DRC Ebola outbreaks
Between March 2018 and November 2020, DRC experienced a succession of Ebola outbreaks. An eleventh outbreak in DRC’s northwestern Équateur province, lasted nearly six months, until November 2020, with 130 cases recorded.
Ebola and Marburg
Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fevers are rare but deadly. Outbreaks can kill 25 to 90 per cent of those infected, spreading fear and panic among affected communities.
Epidemics and pandemics
Millions of people still die each year from infectious diseases that are preventable or can be treated.
Great March of Return
Nearly every Friday between 30 March 2018 and December 2019, protestors in the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations in Gaza, Palestine were met with hails of bullets from the Israeli army.
Worldwide, an estimated 71 million people are infected with the hepatitis C virus, double the number living with HIV. While hepatitis C can be cured, few people have access to treatment.
Hepatitis E is transmitted by ingesting water contaminated by an infected person’s faeces. Outbreaks are often documented in places with poor sanitation, like camps for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Hepatitis E commonly causes only a mild short-term illness.
Nearly 700,000 people died from AIDS, while 1.7 million people became newly infected with the HIV virus in 2019.
Two hundred million people are at risk of infection with kala azar - one of the world's most dangerous topical diseases. Only malaria is more deadly.
Kunduz hospital attack
On 3 October 2015, US airstrikes destroyed our trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people. Our request for an independent investigation has so far gone unanswered.
Lake Chad Crisis
Armed conflict has forced over 2.5 million people to flee their homes across the Lake Chad Basin. Violence and multiple forced displacement have destroyed what ability people had to support themselves, with many dependent on humanitarian assistance.
Each year, malaria kills nearly half a million people. 70 per cent of all deaths are children under five years of age.
More than 224 million children around the world last year suffered from malnutrition. It is the underlying contributing factor in nearly half of the deaths of children under five years of age.
In 2019, our teams vaccinated over 1.3 million people against measles in response to outbreaks, and conducted over 2.2 million routine vaccinations. But the highly contagious viral disease remains one of the leading killers of young children.
Every year, thousands of people fleeing war, persecution and poverty at home attempt the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean. Countless lives are lost on the way.
Meningococcal meningitis is a highly contagious bacterial form of meningitis – a serious inflammation of the meninges – the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
Independent medical humanitarian assistance
We provide medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Our teams are made up of tens of thousands of health professionals, logistic and administrative staff - most of them hired locally. Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of independence and impartiality. We are a non-profit, self-governed, member-based organisation.Learn more