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You may have heard Doctors Without Borders mentioned in passing or referenced in one of your favorite medical dramas. But, what exactly is Doctors Without Borders. Originally founded in France, Doctors Without Borders is often referred to by its French name, Médecins Sans Frontières. The organization is, according to its own website, “a Nobel Prize-winning emergency humanitarian medical organization that has helped tens of millions of people since its founding in 1971”.

See the video below: What is Doctors Without Borders, for a full explanation.

The Doctors Without Borders organization prides itself on being impartial, neutral, and independent. They provide care without regard to race, creed, political or religious beliefs. Their priority is always the welfare of the victims. In addition, they champion medical ethics, they seek to provide high-quality care and to act in the best interests of each patient. When medical assistance is not enough, they may also provide non-medical care such as food, shelter, water & sanitation, or other services.

Due to its stellar reputation, Doctors Without Borders has been granted General Consultive Status with the United Nations. This is the highest status granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). This status allows Doctors Without Borders to participate in the work of the United Nations.

Doctors Without Borders have medical teams in nearly 70 countries worldwide to provide care that can save lives, alleviate suffering, and restore dignity to people in need. From the original 13 founders, Doctors Without Borders has grown to have over 36,000 staff placed around the world. Many of these teams include doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. However, there are also many non-medical personnel working for Doctors Without Borders. Some other jobs on Doctors Without Borders teams are, water and sanitation specialists, pharmacists, a laboratory tech job, and technical logisticians. Most of these team members are volunteers.

The annual budget of Doctors Without Borders is approximately 1.36 billion U.S. dollars. Where does this budget come from and how is it used?

  • 90% of the annual funding amount is received from private donations.
  • 10% percent is gifted by corporate sponsors.
  • 81% percent of the money raised is used directly by Doctors Without Borders medical projects.
  • Only 2% is spent on administration and staff costs. The remainder is reinvested in fundraising.

Humanitarian Action is the foundation on which Doctors Without Borders was built. They offer health care to people who have been made vulnerable by conflict, crisis, disaster, or neglect around the world.