About us

Doctors of the World UK is the UK chapter of the global Médecins du Monde network, an international human rights organisation made up of 17 chapters around the world working on both domestic and international health projects.

Providing care, bearing witness, and supporting social change, Doctors of the World continues its mission to fight for the universal right to health. Through more than 400 innovative medical programs and evidence-based advocacy initiatives in over 70 countries, we enable vulnerable people and their communities to access quality medical services and fight for universal access to healthcare. 

Doctors of the World UK provide medical care and advocates for the rights of thousands of people in vulnerable conditions each year, through our clinics, outreach work and helpline.

Our service is provided by an incredible team of volunteers, supervised by our expert staff. We also campaign tirelessly to challenge the harmful systems and hostile environment that are currently excluding people living in the UK from getting the help we all come to need sometimes.

Our History

The work begins

In 1979, after a disagreement over how best to help the Vietnamese boat refugees stranded in the South China Sea, a group of 15 doctors led by Bernard Kouchner split from Médecins Sans Frontières.

On 1 February 1980, Doctors of the World (Médecins du Monde) was formally established with the aims “to go where others will not, to testify to the intolerable, and to volunteer”.

The first doctors were sent to conflict regions in Afghanistan, El Salvador and Armenia to run vaccination programmes, train local nurses and doctors and provide medical care in refugee camps.

In 1986, the first clinic in France opened its doors to migrants excluded from mainstream health services. The following year Doctors of the World set up the first free and anonymous HIV testing centre in Paris.

An international network

The Médecins du Monde international network was born in 1989 when an office was opened in Spain. The network underwent a major expansion in the 1990s, launching programmes in more than 50 countries and opening 15 chapters across four continents.

In 1998, Doctors of the World UK became a registered charity in England and Wales and began contributing to the organisation’s international work. We supported projects in the Middle East and Mali and set up a clinic in Bethnal Green, London, in 2006 to provide information and medical assistance to people excluded from NHS healthcare. In 2015, a second clinic was opened in Brighton following the arrival of many Syrian refugees in the city.


Doctors of the World UK continues to support over 350 projects operating in more than 80 countries.

We’ve provided essential healthcare to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Syria. After the Ebola crisis gripped west Africa in 2014, we helped run a treatment centre in Moyamba, Sierra Leone and we’re developing long-term ways to rebuild the country’s shattered health system.

Since 2015, we’ve worked extensively with refugees in France and Greece, running both static and mobile clinics in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesbos, Chios, Athens and many other places to meet the healthcare needs of the thousands travelling through Europe.

We also have two mobile health teams in Ukraine’s government-controlled areas, as well as a team that carries out capacity-building for national staff so they have the skills they need in the long term. In non-government controlled areas, we facilitate the provision of drugs, consumables and equipment to hospitals and health centres.

In Kenya, our emergency drought-response programme conducts four outreach sessions every week in two northern counties, Isiolo and Marsabit.

Racial Justice at Doctors of the World UK

Our vision

Everyone should have an equitable journey to their success. By ensuring that anyone subject to oppressive racial systems has the opportunity to thrive, we believe everyone can thrive.


We acknowledge there is a systematic set of oppression that privilege some people over others.

We have chosen to focus on racial justice as it intersects and deepens all aspects of our Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion work.

We know that the racial structures and inequities are embedded into society, health care delivery and the charity sector, and our role is part of all three.

Race intersects all dimensions of diversity, and that intersection often leads to deeper levels of oppression – the data exists and is clear in health care.

Racial justice takes time and work, and we’re firmly committed to the process of change. We will not stop doing our work whilst we are continuing to gain knowledge on the root causes, learning and acting.

What are we committing to?

Continuing introspection and action towards continuing to dismantle race as an issue both as organisations and individuals.

Examining and challenging our policies, practices. systems and assumptions.

Strengthening an environment of belonging and safety for our staff, volunteers and service users.


With your support, Doctors of the World will make sure nobody suffers or dies due to lack of access to healthcare.