We focus on people

We focus on people


Central to our values and our work, access to healthcare challenges our personal and our professional ability to listen and respect others. Far from being universal, access to care strongly depends on the standards, values, knowledge and cultural representations specific to each community and it is essential to keep in mind that ill health is viewed differently according to cultural and social codes.

Access to care strongly depends on the standards, values, knowledge and cultural representations. 

In the field of public health, scientific knowledge sometimes conflicts with traditional wisdom and practices, which can in turn run counter to humanitarian relief efforts. Attitudes of patients and families to sickness vary from one country to another according to their culture and their social background. Prevailing norms, values, representations and practices govern how people view and provide care.

Taking account of such issues is critical to the provision of humanitarian aid. Understanding cultural differences, adopting critical distance to the professional stance, being mindful of the social and cultural diversity of patients all facilitate and improve access to quality and effective care.

Medical consultation in Nepal ©Olivier Papegnies
Medical consultation in Nepal ©Olivier Papegnies

What we do

We encourage our teams to take full account of all these aspects in their work and so to be constantly aware of what is happening around them. Participative observation contributes to a better understanding of the reality on the ground, without the need for an intermediary. We must also strive to know and understand the key players we work with as they have such an important role in mediating with our patients. Individual interviews help us to create a relationship of trust, collect accurate information and address sometimes sensitive issues, thereby establishing a common language and real cooperation. 

In order to raise awareness among health professionals about these issues and their impact on the health pathways of different groups of people, Doctors of the World holds workshops, forums and debates. We have also set up an online knowledge-sharing platform. We support and guide our teams working in the field with training tools, operational guides and observation, interview and evaluation methods, etc.

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