Kia Ora koutou! Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to our new New Zealand supporters. I’m delighted to welcome you all to Médecins Sans Frontières New Zealand. The New Zealand branch is the newest addition to our humanitarian organisation that has been providing medical aid around the world for more than 45 years. We provide care where it is needed most – in response to armed conflicts, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from health care.
We officially launched in New Zealand in May 2017, but New Zealanders have had a long and valued association with Médecins Sans Frontières globally for many years. Since 1994, around 400 field positions have been filled by New Zealanders, working as doctors, nurses, logisticians, administrators, project coordinators and many other roles. In fact 18 percent of all field placements recruited by the Australian office in 2016 were filled by New Zealanders.We also have a number of New Zealanders in key leadership positions – including the vice president of Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, the medical director of our operational centre in France and the medical coordinator of our international Access Campaign for essential medicines.
You can read about some of our current New Zealand field staff on this website. Midwife Jacqui Jones, from Hamilton, is in conflict-affected Borno State, Nigeria, where she is helping women safely deliver their babies in a very difficult context. Siry Ibrahim, from Wellington, is one of our experienced field workers, a finance and administration manager just returned from working as Head of Mission in Afghanistan. And nurse turned medical coordinator Vanessa Cramond, has recently returned from Syria, where she worked with patients with a rare blood disorder.
For those of you who are new to the world of Médecins Sans Frontières – a brief introduction from me. I have worked with Médecins Sans Frontières for more than 20 years, setting up medical relief programs in Central Asia, Latin America and Africa, including coordinating the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Most recently, I have been Executive Director of the Australian section since 2010. Our team has invested significant energy into launching the New Zealand branch, and I’m thrilled to be seeing the start of this new chapter. For the first time, New Zealanders can now make tax deductible donations to support our medical humanitarian work. Without you, our work would not be possible!