Thursday, July 11, 2019

Médecins sans frontières/Doctors without Borders

Médecins sans frontières (doctors without borders) was founded in 1971 by a small group of French doctors and journalists who wanted to improve medical care access across national boundaries and territories despite problems and tensions arising from race/religion or political allegiances. MSF has always promoted independence and impartiality while avoiding, political, economic, or religious factors in its decision-making. By abiding by these principles MSF has been able to speak freely on matters of war, corruption and other matters that inhibit the provision of medical care or human well-being.  As a matter of principle, it limits funding received from governments or intergovernmental organisations

At present MSF is providing frontline surgery in Yemen where there have been mass casualties and lost limbs, as a result of indiscriminate bombing and shelling by both sides and of suicide bombers self-destructing in the middle of large gatherings of people. It is also distributing measles vaccinations in the Congo (DRC) by motorbikes and canoes because the roads and terrains are too difficult to negotiate. For each difficult situation they find themselves in, they find a way to circumvent the problem.

In 1999, MSF received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its members' tireless efforts to provide medical care in acute crises as well as raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters. Dr James Orbinski, former MSF international president, summed up the organisation's commitment to publicising issues they have encountered by saying: ‘Silence has long been confused with neutrality, and has been presented as a necessary condition for humanitarian action. From our inception we have opposed this assumption. 'We are not sure that words…always save lives, but we know that silence can kill.’

As a socialist I admire the endeavour of the doctors and others working for this organisation and especially their concept of ‘without borders.’ It’s an idea we as members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain share, especially as we are campaigning and working for a ‘world without borders.’ We also realise that capitalism and to some extent colonialism have disfigured the Earth and imposed arbitrary borders. Capitalism in its remorseless search for more and more profit uproots settled communities and lays waste to the intrinsic values and customs of the indigenous populations.

We say that the root cause of poverty and the uprooting of people from their habitat is the very nature of capitalism. A system that promotes competition rather than co-operation, sets person against person and country against country, and promotes warfare when nations compete for oil, mineral resources, gas and rare metals. MSF is an intrepid organisation that does great work in the field of providing medicine and access to medical healthcare for the needy in random countries. Meanwhile the Socialist Party continues to campaign for World Socialism in order to create a world run for the people by the people so that the Earth’s resources are shared by all.


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