Medical Issues

We work to help the people in greatest need, wherever they are. Our medical teams carry out more than ten million patient consultations a year and our medical activities run from basic vaccination campaigns to complex surgery.

Our emergency medical work extends to neglected, forgotten diseases and long-term care for chronic conditions. We also advocate for affordable, high-quality medicines for the world's poorest people.

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Chagas is not as well known as diseases such as malaria or cholera yet it affects between six and seven million people and kills up to 12,500 each year.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Roughly 80 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 experience a mild respiratory illness but it has a higher rate of severe complications for vulnerable people – than other viruses such as flu.

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What good is a breakthrough treatment if the people who need it can’t afford it?

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An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, through which urine or stool leaks continuously. They are devastating injuries resulting from complicated childbirths, affecting more than two million women worldwide.

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Since its discovery in 1981, HIV/AIDS has killed more than 25 million people. HIV gradually weakens the body’s immune system, usually over a period of up to 10 years after infection.

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Kala azar is the second largest parasitic killer in the world - only Malaria is more deadly. Along with Chagas disease and sleeping sickness, kala azar is one of the most dangerous neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

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Every year, malaria kills around 660,000 people and infects more than 200 million. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Medical consultation in MSF’s therapeutic feeding program in Kandahar

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been treating acute malnutrition since our founders first responded in Biafra in southern Nigeria in 1971. 

Malnutrition disrupts a person’s optimal growth, development and wellbeing, and can have long-lasting if not fatal consequences. It affects people of all ages around the world.

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Many women across the world give birth without medical assistance, massively increasing the risk of complications or death. Ninety nine percent of these deaths are in developing countries. The majority are preventable with appropriate care.

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Measles is a highly contagious viral disease characterised by a rash, and mainly affects young children. It is one of the leading causes of death in children, even though it is easily prevented by vaccines.

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Meningococcal meningitis is a highly contagious bacterial form of meningitis – a serious inflammation of the meninges – the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

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MSF teams are now on the ground assessing the medical humanitarian needs.