Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’s (MSF) work inherently involves risk. This basic fact has been repeatedly and tragically punctuated by attacks on hospitals in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and elsewhere, not to mention numerous security incidents in other locations.

How, then, does MSF try to keep its staff, patients, and facilities as safe as possible—particularly in conflict areas—developing and implementing security plans that allow for the most effective and impactful delivery of medical care? Explaining MSF’s principles and practices to all parties is one step. But there’s much more to it, many more questions to answer and many more decisions to make. For instance: How do we identify the people we need to talk to? When do we erect security barriers? When do we adapt policies from one location to another? Why might we institute a curfew or restrictions on movements? How do we respond when security incidents do occur?

To hear about how these issues are addressed at the field level, join us for a webcast on Thursday, May 5. Our panel will include experienced MSF staff who’ve had to make these decisions in real time, as well as the co-editor of Saving Lives and Staying Alive: Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management, a publication by MSF’s Paris-based reflection center. They’ll speak candidly about what needs to happen before a project opens—and in order to keep it open—so that we can provide life-saving emergency medical assistance to those most in need.


Michaël Neumann is the director of studies for MSF CRASH, a center for reflection and analysis about MSF actions and the humanitarian environment. He has served on the board of MSF France and MSF-USA, and is the co-editor of Saving Lives and Staying Alive: Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management, andHumanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience.

Michelle Mays started working with MSF in 2008, first as a nurse and more recently as a project coordinator and deputy head of mission. She has worked in India, Haiti, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Ethiopia, and Central African Republic. Currently she is a field human resources officer for MSF-USA.

Mike White is the deputy operational manager for MSF programs in Chad, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Liberia. His MSF field work includes assignments in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, as a logistician, project coordinator, and head of mission. In 2015, he managed MSF’s emergency operations in Ebola projects and South Sudan.

Moderated by Michael Goldfarb, communications director for MSF-USA.

This webcast will be recorded for viewing at a later time. Please register for the webcast to receive a link to the recording. 

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