Médecins Sans Frontières has offices in 19 countries. There are five 'operational centres' which directly control field projects, decide when, where, and what aid is necessary and when to end a programme. These centres are based in Belgium, France, Holland, Spain and Switzerland.
The remaining 13 offices are 'non-operational sections', whose primary functions are to recruit volunteers, raise funds and advocate on behalf of populations in danger.
These offices are located in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the U.S.
MSF has four other main offices: the international office in Geneva, UN Liason Offices in Geneva and New York City and an office in the United Arab Emirates. MSF is also establishing itself in Ireland, South Africa and Brazil.
Three specialized public-health centres called Epicentre, Aedes and HealthNet work with MSF to help expand expertise in specialist medical issues.
MSF campaign for access to medicines
In the field, MSF doctors are constantly frustrated by the lack of adequate medical tools. In response, Médecins Sans Frontières set up the MSF Access Campaign in 1999 to improve access to existing medical tools and to stimulate the development of urgently needed better tools.
MSF field research
MSF is well known for its humanitarian medical work, but it has also produced important research based on its field experience with vulnerable populations. This website archives MSF's scientific articles and makes them available free, with full text, and in an easily searchable format.
For 30 years, MSF has directly witnessed the human cost of the lack of drugs for neglected diseases and has raised its voice against this inequity. In 2003, seven organisations from around the world joined forces to establish the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).
The International office in Geneva is the focal point for the 19 MSF offices and is where important joint decisions are made.
The office is headed by Dr Unni Karunakara, a doctor who has been involved with MSF since 1995, when he was tasked with setting up a tuberculosis control programme in Ethiopia.
He has worked on MSF projects in Nagorno-Karabakh, Brazil, the Democractic Republic of Congo and Bangladesh and in the Public Health Department of MSF in Amsterdam, advising country programmes in the Middle East, southern Africa and South and Central America.
He has held various academic and research fellowships at universities around the world, focusing on the demography of forced migration and the delivery of health care to neglected populations affected by conflict, disasters and epidemics. .
Operating as an association
MSF is an associative organisation. It is owned and governed by members -experienced people who have worked for and feel passionately about MSF’s work.
This commitment of each volunteer to the MSF movement goes beyond completing an assignment. Returned volunteers who come back to busy jobs and lives give up their time to continue to participate and contribute to MSF as members of the MSF associations.
The effective contribution of volunteers is based on an equal voice for each member. Through active participation in the associative life of the organisation and an adherence to the Charter and Principles of MSF, the members of the associations of MSF ensure that the organisation continues to operate in line with its stated principals and objectives.
Associative organisation and decision-making
MSF is made up of 19 principal offices, with overall coherence ensured by an International Council.
Each Association is made up of members who work or have worked for MSF. They elect a Board of Directors in each of the 19 countries, whose members are mainly medical professionals.
These 19 Boards of Directors have several principle responsibilites such as appointing an executive director for that country, taking responsiblity for the actions of their countries' offices and guaranteeing that the MSF principles are respected.
Because the people making these decisions have worked with MSF overseas, the organisation's work remains focused on the core principles of providing medical humanitarian care.
We are always looking for enthusiatic people who are willing to live and work in an international team, share their skills and dedicate their time to support our mission.