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Médecins du Monde (MdM; French pronunciation: [medsɛ̃ dy mɔ̃d]) or Doctors of the World, provides emergency and long-term medical care to the world's most vulnerable people. It also advocates to end health inequities.
It was founded in 1980 by a group of 15 French physicians, including Bernard Kouchner. It works in both the developed and developing world.
MdM was formed with a mission to provide timely emergency medical care, free of legal and administrative restrictions; to work with local populations to ensure long-term sustainability of healthcare systems; and to advocate on behalf of client populations.
After more than 35 years of work, MdM is a famously active advocate for its beneficiaries, and works to change the underlying inequalities that affect people's ability to access medical care.
MdM was formally established on 1 February 1980. Its goals were "to go where others will not, to testify to the intolerable, and to volunteer".
Its origins lay in a 1979 intervention to assist a drifting boat of Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. Kouchner, with volunteer doctors, journalists, and others organized a hospital boat, L'Île de lumière, to provide medical care and to report the refugees' suffering.
MdM was founded as Bernard Kouchner and 14 others doctors split from the group he previously founded, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF, or Doctors WIthout Borders). It has been reported Kouchner felt that MSF was giving up its founding principle of témoignage ("witnessing"), which refers to aid workers making the atrocities they observe known to the public.
Kouchner was president of MdM from 1980 to 1982. In 1989, the foundation of MdM Spain paved the way for the creation of the MdM international network. In 2015, the MdM global network consisted of fifteen associations; France (founded 1980), Spain (founded 1989), Greece (founded 1990), Italy and Switzerland (both founded 1993), Sweden (founded 1994), Cyprus (founded 1995 by Elena Theoharous), Argentina (founded 1998), Belgium, Canada and Portugal (all founded 1999), as well as in Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands, and the USA.