MSF Reiterates Commitment to Neutrality, Impartiality

A doctor with Médecins Sans Frontières treats a child with cholera. Photo by: MSF

Medecins Sans Frontieres is a neutral and impartial international medical organization that always acts “in the best interest” of its patients, the president of the organization’s U.S. section says.

Matthew Spitzer was responding to accusations that MSF members who responded to an emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo in July refused to cooperate with a team of Israeli doctors who were also at the scene.

Alan Dershowitz’s allegations in a recent blog post in the Huffington Post are unfounded and guided by erroneous reporting of an Israeli, Spitzer writes, on the same online media platform.

“Taking the initial allegations seriously, MSF carried out a thorough review of the collaboration with the Israeli team,” Spitzer shares. “Both Dr. Eyal Winkler, who led the Israeli team from the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, and Gila Garaway, an Israeli citizen with extensive experience working in DRC and who escorted the Israeli team, have assured MSF that the five-day collaboration was indeed a positive one. Dr. Winkler wrote in a Hebrew-language blog post on Ynet that there was ‘perfect teamwork with the people from MSF.’”

He adds:

“Fundamental to MSF’s work are the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and of always acting in the best interests of our patients. All MSF staff members are obliged to respect medical ethics and international humanitarian law, as well as to display a general attitude and conduct characterized by non-discrimination. Suggestions that MSF would put the welfare of its patients at risk due to political or other biases are simply unfounded.”

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.