Doro Refugee Camp Maban Country South Sudan

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered some common questions about working in the field with MSF below.

 Click on the questions that are relevant to you below. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please visit the main work in the field page for more information.

Work with us

While the majority of our professionals have a medical background, we also need skilled support staff such as: nutritionists, epidemiologists, lab technicians, mental health professionals, water and sanitation engineers, construction engineers, logisticians and HR and financial controllers.

Follow the link for more information on who we need.

MSF recruits medical and non-medical staff to work in its projects. All of these people bring professional abilities, practical experience, as well as a commitment to and concern for the people they help.

Our projects are manned by national staff with minimal international presence. On average, for every expatriate posted to a specific project there are seven local workers. They provide everything from technical and administrative assistance to nursing and medical skills.

Detailed information about the selection criteria and role descriptions can be found on our website here.

We can only accept applications from people who meet our strict requirements and applications must be made online.

You can apply as soon as you have definite dates of availability and normally around six months before you want to go.

The application process on average takes around four to six months.

  • We have a minimum requirement of two years of experience registration. As we receive many applications, we look for as wide a range of experience as possible.
  • This can be made up of different placements but obviously longer placements may better reflect in-depth experience in working in unstable/difficult situations.
  • Experience is necessary as we expect a high level of autonomy from our medics in the field.

MSF does not recruit dentists.

We can only take on people who meet our strict criteria and do not provide gap year placements.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer elective placements for medical students. Many of the places we work in are unstable and we try to maintain a minimum international presence.

Equally, a major part of any role with MSF involves working autonomously and training local staff, therefore it is important medics are at a stage of their career where they feel comfortable with this.

  • Please enquire at your university about Friends of MSF (FoMSF) Societies. FoMSF are student based societies in universities around South Africa and the UK. FoMSF is run on a voluntary basis.
  • Individual groups engage in various activities, like inviting returned field staff to speak, film screenings and other fundraising and careers-focused events.
  • All FoMSF groups share three main objectives:
  1. To raise awareness of MSF’s work and humanitarian issues
  2. To encourage students to consider working for organisations such as MSF
  3. To raise funds for MSF
  • Currently, FoMSF runs at 6 South African Universities, WITS, TUKS, UCT, Stellenbosch and UKZN.

Please note that MSF does not currently recruit paramedics. We do not require staff with this profile because we do not run ambulance services in our projects in the field. When patient transfers take place, these are often done in MSF vehicles, and patients are accompanied by MSF nurses and/or doctors.

MSF policy is that those who have been employed in the armed forces can only apply for MSF roles two years or more after leaving the military.

Yes, we accept a number of unpaid office volunteers in our Johannesburg please visit the 'Work with us' page for more details.

Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of your offences.

As an organisation, we will obtain a copy of your criminal record during the recruitment process

MSF SA can only accept applications for field positions from people who permanently reside in Sub-Saharan Africa, and have a valid permit to work in the country of their residence. If you do not have this we cannot accept your application. 

IF you do not reside in Sub-Saharan Africa, please contact your nearest MSF office or one of the MSF operational centers in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Geneva or Paris in order to apply for a position, details can be found on

For questions please email or 
Responses will be sent within two weeks.