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Our key task

© Griet Hendrickx

© Griet Hendrickx

"We form a team with our local colleagues because it is only through close co-operation that we are able to pass on our experience and knowledge to our African colleagues. Colleagues whom we admire greatly, because for lack of just about everything they continue to improvise in order to help as many people as possible. The experience of working in a different culture and training our African colleagues is so enriching we would not want to miss our “working holidays” for anything!" Dr. Guido Verstraete – Burkina Faso.

The first mission.

When Dr. Frans De Weer and Dr. Johan Mattelaer were on holiday in Cameroon in 1980 Dr. Kilema came up with a more useful way to spend their time: "Why don't you operate on polio children instead of coming here on holiday?" Touched by the reality of African hospitals, our surgeon and urologist thought: "Why not ? "

In 1981, Medics without Vacation went on its first mission. Since that time our team has grown into a team of 400 doctors and nurses who go to work in Africa during their holidays for free. Our team of volunteers usually comprises a surgeon-specialist, a anaesthetist and a nurse.

Working in and with Africa.

Not every sick person in Africa has access to a good hospital: often the staff has not had enough training and the necessary equipment for qualitative care is simply not available. Our volunteers bring experience, knowledge and medical equipment to their African partners. They operate and treat patients in close co-operation with their African colleagues and pass on their knowledge to the African doctors so they can continue to help people after the mission.

Medics without Vacation sends the equipment the hospital needs in order to provide good services to their patients. For these patients our specialists are often their only chance of recovery or survival in neglected and remote areas.

Healthcare for everyone.

Medics without Vacation defends the right to healthcare, the right to qualitative care for the poor and the right to health education to prevent illnesses. We opt for short missions of two weeks up to a month. These missions are repeated and need to be seen in the context of long-term support of African hospitals. During these missions we pass on our knowledge and experience to our African colleagues.

Who do we help?

MWV volunteers give up part of their spare time to share their knowledge and skills with:

  • doctors and paramedics who need it.
  • people for whom they are the only chance of recovery
  • people who because of where they were born have less possibilities
  • the people of Africa. People from whom we can a learn a lot as well .

Can you think of a nicer way to spend your holidays?

"MWV likes to improve on its missions!"

In order to always give our hospitals the support they need most, Medics without Vacation regularly sits around the table with its African colleagues. They invite us to evolve toward better care together with them. We organise the teams that leave for Africa, the transport and the equipment.

Our people help the hospitals to achieve:

  • a better organisation
  • more hygienic and efficient techniques
  • and a pleasant and motivating working environment.

The staff and the patients in Africa are in the best position to talk about this.