Were you in Haiti during the earthquake? How did you respond?

● Yes, MSF had been working in Haiti since 1991. At the start of 2010, MSF was operating four health structures in PortauPrince, providing, among other things, primary and secondary care, trauma and emergency treatment, and surgical and obstetric services. After the earthquake, as MSF rushed to respond to overwhelming medical needs, the number of projects rose to 26 and included hospitals, postoperative care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and general medical centers.
 
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What is your relationship to the UN and the US government?

MSF is an independent, nongovernment organization. We will frequently prepare reports, medical surveys, and personal testimonies to present to the UN and the US government as part of our advocacy strategy to “bear witness” and “speak out.” And we do coordinate our activities with the UN to make sure other government and nongovernment services are also being provided and in order to avoid duplication of services. But we do not take funding from either the US or the UN, we do not partner with them in our field operations,and MSF is not part of the UN “cluster system.”

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Do you partner with other organizations in the field?

● MSF occasionally partners with other organizations when there is a component or activity that another organization can fulfill that will benefit the program and its recipients.
 
● Even when MSF works independently, we still coordinate our activities and information with other agencies in a region to avoid duplication, and we share security information as well.
 

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What measures does MSF take to ensure the safety of its aid workers?

● All workers receive general security training.
 
● Projects follow an areaspecific security plan.
 
● Security often hinges on transparency—telling all sides of conflict what we are doing and where, and impartiality—serving everyone in need, regardless of what ‘side’ they are on.
 
● All aid workers get appropriate vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis if needed, and we have contracts to evacuate members if needed.

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What is your general reception in the countries where you work?

MSF is often the only medical service provider; therefore, the reception is usually very positive. Staff also stay in continuous contact with local leaders and people of influence in a given area to make clear what MSF intends to do and why, and to address any issues that may arise that could affect the ability of a program to operate effectively.

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Where are the current “hotspots?”

● Where there are ongoing violent conflicts and forced displacement: South Sudan, DRC, CAR, Somalia (thought MSF was forced to withdraw from the country in 2013), Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria – for example.
 
● Where nutritional crises occur during the months between harvests (generally between June and October) in areas of West Africa (the Sahel) as well as the eastern Horn of Africa, i.e. Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
 

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