Who we are
Doctors of the World / Médecins du Monde – Greece (MdM-Greece), founded in 1990, is a medical humanitarian non-governmental organization and is a member of Médecins Du Monde International which consists of 16 delegations (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Turkey, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America).
The guiding principle underlying MdM’s activities is that every human being has a right to humanitarian assistance, irrespective of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, ideology or political persuasion. MdM is, therefore, guided by the principles of neutrality and impartiality. Being neutral, however, does not preclude MDM from speaking out about human rights abuses witnessed in the field. Where possible, MDM draws attention to such abuses either by means of diplomacy or through the media. MDM is an independent NGO, whose modus operandi is characterized by its swift, small scale and targeted delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in danger.
Médecins du Monde – Greece, since the beginning of its operations, has been implementing several projects within Greece and abroad, in order to provide medical as well as other services to marginalized populations that cannot access healthcare services and medical care.
Laying the foundation
In 1978, in the South China Sea, a boat was drifting off course with 2,564 Vietnamese refugees on board with no clear destination. A team of doctors, intellectuals, and journalists set off on a hospital ship, the Île de lumière, to provide medical assistance and to bear witness to the boat people’s plight. On February 1st, 1980, Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) was born, aiming “to go where others will not, to testify to the intolerable, and volunteer.”
To quote one of MdM’s founding doctors, the organisation was to, above all else, “create a structure able to address emergencies in the shortest possible time frame, something which is not always feasible for international institutions.” After MdM France, the following chapter that was created was MdM USA, in 1987, with Jonathan Mann (former head of the World Health Organization’s global AIDS programme). Over the following decade, many delegations were created, such as MdM ES, MdM GR, MdM SE, and MdM CH.
At the turn of the century, MdM created the following representation offices with the purpose to raise funds, recruit staff and relay communications: MdM CA, MdM AR, MdM BE, MdM PT (1996- 2005), MdM NL, MdM UK, MdM DE, and MdM JP (2006-2015).
During an MdM International Network meeting, members decided to create a distinction between Delegations (who have the right to vote) and Representation Offices (who do not have the right to vote). Acting upon the strong desire of several representation offices to become independent, the International Network decided to encourage these offices to implement domestic programmes and become financially independent. Institutions previously labelled as Representation Offices became Delegations as early as 1999.
The first and foremost mission of Doctors of the World is to provide medical care. Actions though are not limited to medical treatment: Always based on the medical experience, the organization is vocal against the obstruction of access to healthcare, against to violation of human right and dignity.
MDM is aiming to ensure access to healthcare and promote it as a universal human right.