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The Politics of FearMédecins sans Frontières and the West African Ebola Epidemic$
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Michiel Hofman and Sokhieng Au

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624477.001.0001

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Doctors Against Borders

Doctors Against Borders

Médecins Sans Frontières and Global Health Security

(p.3) 1 Doctors Against Borders
The Politics of Fear

João Nunes

Oxford University Press

The contemporary security environment presents a challenge for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières (MSF). It exacerbates a tension that has shaped this organization since its inception, between its role as a humanitarian action and emergency response organization and its advocacy for global health justice. The 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa underscored this tension. This security landscape also offers an opportunity to move forward. The chapter argues that MSF should embrace its security actorness without reservations, embedding its emergency response role within a conception of health security that looks toward the alleviation of harm and vulnerability. MSF can also move forward by acknowledging the broad transformative potentialities of health interventions. MSF should revisit its approach to borderlessness in a global health arena that is still strongly determined by multiple borders, not just territorial divisions but also inequalities based on gender, race, class, and sexual orientation.

Keywords:   Doctors Without Borders, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Ebola, West Africa, health securityhealth justicevulnerabilityborders

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