Field work FAQs

No, however you need to be in good health and fit to work.
Non-medical staff typically spend 6 - 9 months and medical 6 - 12 months. With the exception of Surgeons, Anesthetist and Obstetrician-Gynecologist, who usually stay for 2 - 3 months. 

MSF places field workers across the world based on the needs in the field and according to specialty and availability. Therefore it is difficult to predict when you would go.

Because that matching process is quite complex, we can’t let you choose where you want to go. But we certainly find out your comfort level about going to insecure places during our interviews. And we always give you a final say in accepting or rejecting a mission.

In most cases, living conditions in the field (security, housing, etc.) make it impossible for field workers to be accompanied by children or partners who are not participating in the mission. This is particularly true for most initial assignments.

All field workers must be aware of the risks and dangers of serving with MSF in the field. They must understand that they have no claim against MSF for any injury or illness they suffer while taking part in any activity or travel conducted by, in support of, or under the auspices of MSF. However, MSF maintains insurance coverage on behalf of its field workers that provides direct benefits to injured or sick staff (including appropriate care and, if necessary, repatriation) or their beneficiaries. The scope of this insurance is explained prior to departure. Supplementary insurance is the responsibility of the individual.
MSF has an insurance policy for all field staff to cover health insurance, accident insurance, professional liability, private liability, repatriation and flight insurance. In case of an illness or accident for which there is no need for repatriation to the home country, the insurance covers all expenses from the place of work to the most appropriate qualified reference hospital. All MSF field workers are also covered by MSH International, the private international insurance company that covers medical repatriation worldwide and is serviced by qualified medical staff.
Working with MSF is not a reckless thing to do because our security practices are rigorous and well tested. MSF follows extensive risk-management procedures and security guidelines are constantly updated for every project. Field staff members are briefed on the security situation in their project country before going to the field and are trained in specific security protocols upon arriving at the project site. Adherence to our field guidelines for personal and team conduct and safety is not negotiable.
The two years refer to the full-time clinical experience in your specialty. Usually we would recommend medical professionals to apply once they have been working for five years or when they have acquired some level of people management experience.
It is not an absolute requirement but we recommend medical applicants with no previous training or limited experience in this field to enroll in an appropriate course in tropical medicine. This does not apply to Surgeons, Anesthetist, Obstetrician-Gynacologists, OT Nurses, Midwives, Lab Technicians, Pharmacist, Mental Health Specialists / Psychologists and non-medical profiles.
We aim to have your application screened within 12 business weeks. The selection process for your mission could take 6 to 12 months to complete. 
You can read our Blogs and Stories to read exactly what our field workers have experienced.