Doctors Without Borders: 'Selflessness Beyond Limits'

Thu 03 Dec 2015 at 13:48 Know Lebanon

Written by Rima Youssef

Translated by Daisy Khalil

NNA - Unlimited self-donation is epitomized in the act of taking the initiative to make sacrifices while expecting nothing in return.

The Humanitarian Medical Association "Doctors Without Borders" (Médecins Sans Frontières - MSF) gives medical care - with high performance - to people victims of crisis caused by ethnic, religious and political conflicts. This nonprofit organization provides aid to people in need, and adopts neutrality as a key principle, along with the highest medical ethics and the ultimate respect for international human rights.

"Doctors Without Borders", whose members reach over 27.000 physicians from around the world, works unyieldingly to extend a helping hand for victims of violence, neglect and crises. Armed conflicts, epidemics, malnutrition and natural disasters collect many victims around the globe; victims that the MSF selflessly treat and assist.

This organization has been founded by Journalists and physicians on December 20, 1971, in Paris. Doctor Bernard Kouchner is one of its main co-founders. MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for its pioneering humanitarian role. Offices of the organization were established in the United States, Paris, Geneva, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Brussels.

First mission in Lebanon

This mission began in 1976 and lasted until 1984 during the civil war. MSF doctors contributed to surgeries in several hospitals. Bombings and destruction were the least among their concerns. Lebanese and foreign doctors were included to the treatment process.

In 1984, the security situation worsened and physicians were in real danger amid the ravaging civil war, which forced them to leave the country. In 2006, and after the July war, they returned and resumed their humanitarian work in Lebanon.

"Since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2012, the influx of Syrian refugees has been an enormous pressure on society and on Lebanon's health infrastructure. Most refugees were destitute and lived in dreadful circumstances," Head of the Organization's media office in Lebanon, Mirella Hdeib said in an interview with the NNA.

MSF's main challenge was the ability to ensure primary health care for refugees at the organization's own expense, including consultations and hospital admissions. The greatest challenge lied in normal births. Besides, chronic diseases were excessively recorded among refugees.

"Four offices exist in the Bekaa since March 2012, in Hermel, Arsal, Baalbek and Majdel Anjar. Primary health care is provided to people with chronic diseases, not to forget the regular awareness campaigns launched in those areas," Hdeib explained.

"We have been operating at Dar el-Zahraa hospital in Tripoli since February 2012 and at Al-abdeh clinic since April, to provide health care for the residents of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tebbaneh respectively, "she added.

"In the camp of Chatila, services are offered to Palestinian and Syrian refugees, as well as vulnerable people. A health center is established for women where 100 births are registered monthly. In Ain al-Helwe, our primary treatment program kicked off in June 2013. A psychological program was also put into action and delivered to UNRWA in June 2015," she finally said.

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