Pune/Mumbai, 3 Feburary 2013 – The global humanitarian organisation Rotary International has presented its World Community Excellence award to the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders. The award was presented at the annual conference of Rotary International District 3140 in India on 2 February at Aamby Valley, Pune.
“MSF has done monumental work in areas torn by strife, war and community upheaval,” said Dr Inamdar, district governor of Rotary International District 3140. “It is a non-political and non-religious organisation par excellence, which undoubtedly deserves this award”.
Accepting the award, MSF’s international president, Dr Unni Karunakara, said, “Today, some 30,000 MSF doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychiatrists, logisticians, engineers, and support staff provide medical care to people caught up in conflict, affected by natural disasters or epidemics, or simply excluded from health services in more than 70 countries around the world. Our motivation remains as it was in 1971, the year MSF was formed: we are humanitarians.”
MSF has been working in India since 1999. In Mumbai, it runs a centre providing comprehensive HIV care for patients with specific medical needs, such as those also infected with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Elsewhere in India, MSF provides basic healthcare and secondary medical care, as well as specialist care for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, kala azar, mental health issues and malnutrition. It currently runs medical programmes in states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland.
MSF has also provided medical care during several emergencies in India, from treating victims of the earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 to those affected by violent clashes in Assam in 2012.
On 2 February 2013, MSF distributed relief items, including cooking utensils, hygiene essentials and shelter materials, to people affected by a fire in Mahim slums of Mumbai.
MSF offers healthcare to people based only on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. This award recognises the organisation’s work around the world and its commitment to improve people’s access to lifesaving healthcare.
In 1999, MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. MSF also received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in 1996, the Significant Achievement Award from the Indian Medical Association (Mumbai West) in 2010, and the J William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding in 2012.