MSF is an independent, international medical relief organization aiding victims of armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and social marginalization. Each year, MSF doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts, administrators, and other medical and non-medical professionals depart on more than 3,800 aid missions. They work alongside more than 22,500 locally hired staff to provide medical care in more than 60 countries. In emergencies and their aftermath, MSF provides health care, rehabilitates and runs hospitals and clinics, performs surgery, battles epidemics, carries out vaccination campaigns, operates feeding centers for malnourished children, and offers mental health care. When needed, MSF also constructs wells and dispenses clean drinking water, and provides shelter materials like blankets and plastic sheeting. MSF was founded in 1971 by a small group of French doctors and journalists as the first non-governmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and to publicly bear witness to the plight of the people it assists.