Doctors Without Borders Competes in the Travel Advisor Challenge

  • Posted on: 21 October 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Scott Schachter sent in the following blog about Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - an independent, international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid in more than 60 countries including Haiti, where it has operated since 1991. Doctors Without Borders is actively involved in recovery operations in Gonaives.  The organization is competing for one million dollars in the Trip Advisor Challenge.  You can cast your vote by clicking here.  Read on or visit the Doctors Without Borders Website to learn more.


Doctors Without Borders was founded as Médecins Sans Frontières in 1971 by a small group of French doctors as the first non-governmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and to bear witness to gross violations of humanitarian law. The organization provides independent, impartial assistance to those most in need and operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas. Close to 27,000 doctors, nurses, logisticians, water/sanitation experts, administrators, and other qualified professionals are working worldwide to provide medical care in conjunction with local aid workers and colleagues around the world.


Since December 2006, Doctors Without Borders has operated an emergency health center in Martissant, a neighborhood characterized by daily violence and a lack of medical facilities. established a number of mobile clinics in the heart of the Martissant neighborhoods, with medical teams offering primary healthcare to some 400 patients a day.



At the end of 2007, they handed over the project in the slum of Cité Soleil, where the security situation has improved, to the Ministry of Health. The project started in July 2005 to guarantee access to care for victims of the violence. The ongoing presence of their medical teams, even during the most intense fighting, resulted in 72,000 consultations at the primary health center of Chapi and 32,000 at Choscal hospital, where more than 13,000 patients were hospitalized. The situation has since improved with few bullet wounds being seen at the hospital.


Doctors Without Borders continued to provide medical and surgical care at its Trinite trauma center in Port-au- Prince, admitting more than 14,000 patients compared with 11,000 in 2006. The number of admissions for gunshot wounds fell from 1,300 in 2006 to 500 in 2007, although the number of victims of stab wounds, rape and beatings continued to rise. In total, 2,847 patients were admitted for violence-related trauma.



Throughout the year, their medical teams focused on improving quality of care, working to perfect the recently introduced surgical technique of orthopedic internal fixation. A total of 205 patients benefited, which sharply reduced their length of stay in hospital.  Staff also operates a physical rehabilitation center where patients needing specialized post-operative treatment can receive physiotherapy and psychological care.


In June, it increased its capacity to treat victims of sexual violence in the capital, offering comprehensive psychological and medical treatment. The program treated 242 victims between July 2006 and June 2007. Awareness campaigns emphasizing confidentiality and the need to seek treatment within 72 hours resumed in July in the shantytowns and city center. 


Doctors Without Borders has been involved in the response to the latest Gonaives floods.  Click here to see video footage of the impact flooding has had on the village of Mamont.  They have been providing soap, jerry cans, and plastic sheeting to survivors in addition to almost one million liters of water a day.  In addition, the organization was able to open the Gonaives hospital.   



Doctors Without Borders has strongly been urging international organizations and the Haitian government to immediately re-examine their emergency aid response and to prioritize housing and nutritional support for the youngest of the flood victims.



If their work in Gonaives and elsewhere resonates with you, consider voting for them in the Travel Advisor Challenge.




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