Dr. Karunakara has been a humanitarian worker and a public health professional for two decades with extensive experience in the delivery of health care to neglected populations affected by conflict, disasters and epidemics in Africa, Asia, and America. He was Medical Director of the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders’ Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines (2005-2007) and later its International President (2010-2013). Unni serves on the Board of Directors of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) India and MSF Holland. In 2001, he helped found vivo, an organisation that works toward overcoming and preventing traumatic stress and its consequences. Unni is currently a Senior Fellow pf the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University and a visiting Professor at Kasturba Medical College at Manipal University.
The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 – represented by Dr Unni Karunakara who was International President of MSF from 2010 to 2013
Founded in Paris, France in 1971 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation delivering emergency aid to people who are affected by natural disasters ,armed conflict, epidemics and exclusion from healthcare. MSF’s work is based on humanitarian principles. MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agenda, observes neutrality, and provides impartial care delivered on the basis of need alone.
MSF medical teams often witness violence and neglect in the course of their work, largely in regions that receive scant international attention. At times, MSF may speak out publicly in an effort to bring a forgotten crisis to public attention, to alert the public to abuses occurring beyond the headlines, to criticise the inadequacies of the aid system, or to challenge the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interests.
MSF also leads research in the field of medicine, which has transformed clinical practise, and has improved the lives of patients worldwide. In 1999, MSF launched the Access Campaign which advocates for access to, and the development of life-saving and life prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for patients in MSF programmes and beyond.
Presently, MSF is a worldwide movement of 21 sections, 24 associations and various other offices which are bound together by MSF International, based in Geneva, Switzerland, which provides coordination, information and support to the entire MSF Movement. Many health professionals, logistical and administrative staff (most of whom are hired locally) work on programmes in over 65 countries worldwide.