New Delhi, October 27, 2013 – Cycle enthusiasts from Delhi are getting on bike saddles today to express solidarity with outgoing International President of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Dr Unni Karunakara, who is cycling over 5,000 km across the length of India in support of medical humanitarian aid programs in 70 countries around the world, from Syria to the eight projects in India.
Dr Karunakara began his journey in Srinagar on October 12 and will have cycled 850 kms once he reaches Delhi. He is taking a break from his 20-year career as a doctor and head of international organizations and embarking on an ambitious bicycle ride in his homeland of India. This tour fulfills a dream of cycling the length of the country, held since he was a medical intern in 1988, when he cycled from Delhi to Leh and Srinagar to Delhi. He calls his journey Unnicycles. A restless and curious mind, he will reflect on his life and work and seek out people’s perspectives on health, healthcare, and humanitarian action.
On Sunday, October 27th at 6:30 am in Delhi, he will meet over 200 cycling enthusiasts to ride a 25-km stretch starting from Rashtrapati Bhavan and ending at Bio Diversity Park in Gurgaon. At the end of the ride, he will share stories about his bicycle journey from push off to Delhi.
“So far the journey has been quite interesting. After working in international health for nearly 20 years, it has been a completely new learning experience for me to hear what people in India think about health,” says Dr Karunakara. “I am excited to share the stories I have gathered along the way with fellow riders in Delhi and hope to collect their thoughts on health too.”
Dr Karunakara ended his three-year term as International President of MSF on October 1. During his tenure, MSF confronted many challenges to delivering healthcare in conflict zones, natural disasters, and to populations with inadequate access to healthcare in over 70 countries around the world. In 2012 alone, MSF medical teams worldwide provided over eight million outpatient consultations, helped deliver around 1,85,000 babies, conducted nearly 80,000 surgical procedures, and vaccinated almost 7,00,000 people against measles.
Dr Karunakara will finish the Unnicycles tour in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in February 2014. Along the way, he will stop in 65 cities, towns and villages, speak at ten medical colleges, hold Q&As at nine film screenings hosted by Alliance Française, and meet other cycling enthusiasts and clubs.
For pictures, b-roll or scheduling an interview with Dr Karunakara, please contact ,
DVL Padma Priya
M: +91 9650061067
Notes to Editor:
About Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
MSF is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare in around 70 countries. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. MSF received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in 1996 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.
About MSF in India
MSF has been working in India since 1999, providing free-of-charge essential healthcare to the people most in need in the states of Bihar, Manipur, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Nagaland.
Follow Dr Unni on social media as he rides the length of India to cycle for MSF:
5000 km | 10 states | 100 days | | 65 stops | 10 medical colleges | 9 film screenings | meeting with cycle clubs