Médecins du Monde

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Médecins du monde
Founded 1980 (1980)
Founder Bernard Kouchner and others
Type Medical humanitarian organisation
Headquarters Paris, France
Area served
Budget (2014)
€135 million
Website www.medecinsdumonde.org

Médecins du monde (MdM; French pronunciation: ​[medsɛ̃ dy mɔ̃d]) or Doctors of the World, provides emergency and long-term medical care to the world's most vulnerable people. It also advocates to end health inequities.

It was founded in 1980 by a group of 15 French physicians, including Bernard Kouchner. It works in both the developed and developing world.


MdM was formally established on 1 February 1980. Its goals were "to go where others will not, to testify to the intolerable, and to volunteer".

Its origins lay in a 1979 intervention to assist a drifting boat of Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. Kouchner, with volunteer doctors, journalists, and others organized a hospital boat, L'Île de lumière, to provide medical care and to report the refugees' suffering.

MdM was founded as Bernard Kouchner and 14 others doctors split from the group he previously founded, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders). It has been reported Kouchner felt that MSF was giving up its founding principle of témoignage ("witnessing"), which refers to aid workers making the atrocities they observe known to the public.

Kouchner was president of MdM from 1980 to 1982. In 1989, the foundation of MdM Spain paved the way for the creation of the MdM international network. In 2015, the MdM global network consisted of fifteen associations; France (founded 1980), Spain (founded 1989), Greece (founded 1990), Italy and Switzerland (both founded 1993), Sweden (founded 1994), Cyprus (founded 1995 by Elena Theoharous[1]), Argentina (founded 1998), Belgium, Canada and Portugal (all founded 1999), as well as in Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands, and the USA.

Doctors of the World USA[edit]

Doctors of the World USA, also known as MdM USA, was founded in 1990 by famous doctor and activist Jonathan Mann. The group ultimately separated from the MdM network in 2006, and became HealthRight International.

Doctors of the World USA is the 15th chapter of the MDM network. It was re-founded by committed humanitarian activists in 2011, with Dr Abby Stoddard as its founding chair. Since 2016, Fraser Mooney is the Executive Director.

Doctors of the World UK[edit]

In 1998, Doctors of the World UK (DOTW UK) became a registered charity in England and Wales and initially only contributed to Médecins du Monde international work.

DOTW UK launched its UK Programme in 2006, when they opened a clinic in Bethnal Green, in east London. The clinic provides information and medical assistance to people who cannot access mainstream health services, such as undocumented migrants, asylum seekers and the homeless.

After the Ebola crisis West Africa in 2014, DOTW UK helped run a treatment centre in Moyamba, Sierra Leone. DOTW UK volunteer Professor Bulstrode was awarded a CBE for his involvement in the Ebola crisis.

DOTW UK are currently providing healthcare for refugees and migrants in several countries in Europe, including Greece and Croatia, and Ukraine.

Drs. Chris and Xand van Tulleken, who present the CBBC series Operation Ouch!, are Board Members of DOTW UK.


MdM programs focus on four priority areas: Conflict and Crisis, Harm Reduction, Maternal and Child Health, and Migrant Populations.

It works wherever there is war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty or exclusion. In 2015 Doctors of the World (MdM) provided care in 79 countries with over 300 programs in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

In 2015, MdM had more than 300 projects in more than 80 countries. In contrast to many other humanitarian NGOs, MdM worked in both developed and developing countries, and ran both emergency and long-term development projects.

Financial Model[edit]

In 2015, the Doctors of the World international network had a budget of some 135 million dollars, and provided services to more than 6.5 million people worldwide. It allocated 78.5% of its budget to programs.15.5% to fundraising, and 6% to operating expenses.

Surveillance by British and American intelligence agencies revealed[edit]

In December 2013, documents released by National Security Agency whistle blower Edward Snowden revealed that British and American intelligence agencies had been carrying on secret surveillance of several humanitarian organizations including Médecins du Monde. Leigh Daynes, Executive Director of Doctors of the World UK said that he was "bewildered by these extraordinary allegations of secret surveillance. Our doctors, nurses and midwives are not a threat to national security. There is absolutely no reason for our operations to be secretly monitored." Other humanitarian organizations targeted include the United Nations Development Programme, the children's charity UNICEF, and the head of the Economic Community of West African States.[2]

See also[edit]