Statements and Opinions

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Geneva, 22 June, 2017 —The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today welcomed the addition of snakebite to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) list. Despite the fact that snakebite is estimated to kill over 100,000 people every year—more than any other disease on the list— there are hardly any resources to prevent and treat it, with very limited access to life-saving anti-venom therapy. “This is an opportunity to finally get serious about tackling snakebite,” said Julien Potet, Policy Advisor on Neglected Tropical Diseases for MSF’s Access Campaign. The supply of anti-venom treatments...Read More
Joanne Liu
Open letter from MSF International President Dr Joanne Liu to Health Ministers of G20 countries Every day in our medical operations, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) faces numerous barriers to providing medical care and dignity to people in need. We, therefore, welcome the decision of the G20 to place ‘Global Health’ on its agenda. We call on G20 states to put the welfare of sick and wounded people wherever they live at the core of their concerns, rather than focus on the perceived security threats presented by epidemics and other medical problems. We believe the G20 states should pay particular attention...Read More
New York, 28 January 2017 : President Donald J. Trump’s executive order suspending refugee resettlement to the United States is an inhumane act against people fleeing war zones, the international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today, calling for a resumption of refugee resettlement. “Every day our teams on the ground see people desperately seeking safety at closed borders and in war zones from which they cannot flee,” said Jason Cone, executive director of MSF-USA. “Slamming shut the doors to the United States of America, which has rigorously vetted refugees for years, is an attack on...Read More
The reinstatement of the U.S. government’s Mexico City Policy by President Donald J. Trump, which prohibits nongovernmental organisations that receive U.S. funding from either performing or providing counselling or information on abortion, will undermine access to safe abortion services and endanger the lives of women. Unsafe abortion is one of the five main causes of maternal mortality worldwide, together with haemorrhage, eclampsia, sepsis and obstructed labour. Unsafe abortion accounts for a shocking 13 per cent of maternal deaths around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The rates are even higher in certain regions, such as Latin America,...Read More
Barcelona, 13 December 2016 - As Aleppo battle is at its most critical point, MSF is outraged at the violence exerted against civilians and the passivity displayed by all those that can do something to stop it. MSF calls on all warring parties to abide by their obligation to protect civilians in both the besieged areas and in areas newly taken over by the Syrian government. All negotiations to secure access by the UN and other actors, including MSF, in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the besieged areas of east Aleppo have been unfruitful. In most cases, people seem...Read More
Barcelona, 9 December 2016 - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is extremely concerned about the recent declaration made by the official spokesperson of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) on Yemen, Mansour Ahmad Al-Mansour, on the bombing of Abs hospital, in Hajjah governorate, on 15 August 2016. This public declaration does not reflect the conversations MSF had in Saudi Arabia with the JIAT and military forces after the attack. MSF also conducted its own investigation into the incident, which has been shared with Saudi authorities. [The report is available at ]. Following JIAT declarations, MSF would like to...Read More
DECEMBER 18, 2013 Your Excellencies, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing assistance to victims of the Syrian conflict since April 2011, and we welcome the diplomatic negotiations addressing the urgent humanitarian needs in this extremely violent conflict. But we would like to draw your attention to the vital subject of cross-border aid for populations living in opposition-controlled areas in Syria. An urgent need exists to significantly increase cross-border assistance and to prioritize this issue in negotiations on humanitarian aid. If the government of Syria remains the sole distribution channel for international humanitarian relief efforts, then millions of...Read More
Dr. Joanne Liu
Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) wants to express its frustration that, in an already dramatic context of protracted violence and displacement, the warning we formulated a year ago to the humanitarian community and donors did not lead to any structural or decisive action to prevent a countrywide shortage of essential drugs. The conflict in South Sudan has now continued for over two years, heavily impacting its population and putting as always the most vulnerable at risk. On top of this already dire humanitarian situation, an additional and preventable medical emergency is unfolding. The discontinuation of the Emergency...Read More
On Saturday morning, MSF patients and staff killed in Kunduz joined the countless number of people who have been killed around the world in conflict zones and referred to as ‘collateral damage’ or as an ‘inevitable consequence of war’. International humanitarian law is not about ‘mistakes’. It is about intention, facts and why. The US attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz was the biggest loss of life for our organisation in an airstrike. Tens of thousands of people in Kunduz can no longer receive medical care now when they need it most. Today we say: enough. Even war has...Read More
1. What did you see in Lesbos and Idomeni regarding the refugees and their living conditions? I find it disgraceful that in the 21st century, in a European country, the basic human and decent reception conditions and not met. There is right now no more food distributions in Lesbos and insufficient shelter options for the people arriving. On an island like Kos, there is not a single place where the people can find shelter, food and access toilets and showers. The one place that used to exist and where Médecins Sans Frontières was working: the Captain Elias Camp was shut...Read More
Meinie Nicolai, President of MSF’s Brussels Operational Centre
If you ask the proverbial ‘man on the street’ where the greatest health needs in the world are, most will think of the poorest countries. Economists and politicians who allocate development funding for health do the same. But they are wrong. It may surprise you that over half of MSF's medical programmes are in countries currently labelled as ‘middle income’. The health needs we see there are real and desperate. But in a changing world, the international system used to categorise a population’s health needs according to their country income is no longer fit for purpose. It is certainly no...Read More
Dr Joanne Liu, MSF International President
Speech delivered by Dr Joanne Liu, MSF International President Palais des Nations, MSF side event 6pm, 20 May 2015 The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is one of MSF’s biggest emergency operations in our 44-year history. We launched an unprecedented response to an exceptional outbreak. MSF teams have treated more than 5,000 Ebola patients, one-third of all the confirmed Ebola cases reported by the WHO. Today the Ebola epidemic is not yet over. New cases continue to fluctuate week by week in the region. With just one case, the outbreak goes on. We must double our efforts to cross the...Read More
Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF International President
As Syria enters its fifth year of conflict , the war continues to be defined by brutal violence that does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and half the population has fled either within Syria or into neighbouring countries. Syrian Cities are besieged and cut off from any outside assistance. People are trapped between the ever shifting frontlines as government troops and myriad armed opposition forces wage battle. Thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and paramedics have either been killed, kidnapped, or displaced by violence, leaving a massive gap in medical expertise and...Read More
Dr Joanne Liu, MSF International President
Excellencies, distinguished guests, esteemed colleagues: We cannot overstate the human cost of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa: the death, the fear, and the impact on local communities and on national health systems. At a time when Ebola case numbers are notably lower, we—collectively—continue to fail patients and those who remain at risk of contracting the virus. The mortality rate in our treatment units is at a staggering 50 percent. This is unacceptable. A practical plan to sustain research for vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tools must be developed. The outcome of this research belongs first and foremost to the affected...Read More
Aitor Zabalgogeazkoa, Head of Mission of the MSF team in Aleppo in 2014
In 2013 the outlook in Syria was bleak. But the reality is that everything can get worse. In 2014, as the conflict entered its fourth year, the situation has deteriorated even further. There have been 200,000 fatalities, 1 million wounded, 3 million who have sought refuge across the borders, and over 7 million displaced: evidence of the brutality of the worst conflict in recent years. More than half of the country's population needs some form of humanitarian aid, including 5 million children. Not only has the dynamic of violence increased, but access to aid has also been restricted. Needs are...Read More
United Nations Member States Briefing on the Ebola outbreak and Response in West Africa Geneva, 16 September 2014 Remarks by Dr. Joanne Liu International President Médecins Sans Frontières Ms. Under Secretary General, Mr. Special Coordinator, Mr. Assistant Director General, Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen. Two weeks ago, I made an urgent appeal to member states of the United Nations in New York for your help in stemming the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Many other organisations, such as the CDC, the WHO, and the UN, have also described the unfolding catastrophe. Yet, since then, only a few countries have promised...Read More
United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola Statement of Dr. Joanne Liu International President MédecinsSansFrontières Mr. Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Under-Secretary General, Madame Director General, Mr. Special Coordinator, Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for this opportunity to brief member states on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. In West Africa, cases and deaths continue to surge. Riots are breaking out. Isolation centers are overwhelmed. Health workers on the front lines...Read More
12 December 2013 Ms Valerie Amos Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator United Nations Dear Ms Amos, With this Open Letter, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) wishes to express its deep concern about the unacceptable performance of the United Nations humanitarian system in the Central African Republic over the last year. In December 2012, when the first rebel offensive in CAR halted a few kilometres from the capital, most UN staff were already evacuated from Bangui and from field locations. Following the coup d’état, the UN finally redeployed beyond the capital six months later, its positioning justified...Read More
During my first week in Tari, in the beautiful central highlands of Papua New Guinea, I came face to face with the terrible consequences of what is labelled ''family violence''. I was at a clinic when the guard called over the radio for a stretcher. I grabbed one and went to the gate. There, a young woman lay in the back of a ute, blood pooling in the tray, her clothes slashed open, soaked with it. We shifted the lady to the stretcher and moved her to the emergency room where medical staff started treating her. They called the surgeon...Read More
Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis: No Promises . On October 1, 2013, the World Health Organization, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, the Stop TB Partnership and other partners launched the Childhood TB Roadmap, a guiding document that seeks to outline the activities that need to be implemented to accelerate progress toward the elimination of childhood TB. MSF released the below short statement in response: “MSF welcomes the efforts of the Childhood TB Roadmap to reverse years of neglect and to urgently challenge today’s untenable status quo, which sees hundreds of children dying unnecessarily each day from a preventable and curable...Read More
Following the agreement brokered between the governments of Russia and the United States of America, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls on these two States to place at the top of their diplomatic agendas the substantial scale up of humanitarian aid to millions of war-affected Syrians. Given the multiplicity of States and non-State actors involved in the Syrian conflict, it is imperative that the Russian and U.S. governments work with their respective political allies to develop a strategy for facilitating a massive infusion of humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed in Syria. To be clear, the...Read More
Participants: Dr. Unni Karunakara, international president, MSF Arjan Hehenkamp, general director, MSF Operational Center Amsterdam Transcript (check against audio) Michael Goldfarb (Media Relations Manager, MSF-USA): Thank you very much for joining us today. Welcome to this media briefing with Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). My name is Michael Goldfarb. I am the media relations manager for MSF in New York. MSF announced today that it is closing all its medical humanitarian activities in Somalia, due to unacceptable levels of extreme violence directed against its personnel. Armed groups and civilian authorities have tolerated, condoned, and in some cases supported...Read More
The letter is signed by Dr Unni Karunakara, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Dr Paul McMaster, a surgeon working with MSF in Syria. Other signatories include former world leaders, Nobel prize winners and the heads of many of the world’s most important medical bodies. With signatories from 20 countries – including Russia, China, Brazil, India, Egypt, Turkey, the UK, US and France – the letter is an extraordinary symbol of unity among medical professionals. The letter (see below) was published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet: An open letter: Let us treat patients in Syria The...Read More
Welcome dear guests, especially our special invitees, Mr Farooq Sheikh and Mr Anurag Kashyap and - of course, welcome to our colleagues from our projects and from Delhi. Warm welcome as well to the director of Alliance Francaise in Delhi: Mr. Jean Philippe Bottin. We – as MSF India – express our gratitude to him for his support in hosting the launch at this beautiful venue. This is also special since – as you may know – MSF started in 1971, in France. Today is a special day. Doctors without Borders also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF is...Read More
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