Our Story

Children are not able to choose where they are born, and it is therefore impossible to ensure equal opportunities to things like health and education. Sadly, millions of young people today face threats to their well-being simply due to their place of birth – their futures effectively stolen from them because of a lack of access to health care. 

At United Surgeons for Children (USFC), we know that good health is essential to a prosperous future. And, when we saw the injustice of unequal access to care, we knew that something could and should be done – that’s why we gathered surgeons, doctors, volunteers and other partners to take action on behalf of children.

USFC is part of the international NGO La Chaîne de L’Espoir, a leading global health organization established in 1994 by founding members of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World. Together, we respond to a crisis of unmet health needs for children in many of the poorest regions of the world.

Our French name literally translates to “The Chain of Hope”, and that is what USFC represents. Hope for children who can access the medical care they need. Hope for families who know they have a place to turn to. Hope for communities and entire countries who will be equipped with capacity and capital to respond to future health needs.

Take a Journey Through Our History…

Former members of Doctors Without Borders, Professor Alain Deloche and Dr. Eric Cheysson, launched La Chaîne de l’Espoir as a program within Doctors of the World.
La Chaine de l’Espoir was established as a non-profit, and the first children were transferred abroad for surgery.
Our first health center, the Heart Institute of Maputo in Mozambique, was officially opened, followed by the Phnom Penh Heart Center in Cambodia later that year.
We laid the first stone of the French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children (FMIC) in Kabul, Afghanistan
We opened our first Children’s Pavilion, “The House of Hope” in Buriram, Thailand, to care for orphans and abandoned children
We opened another Children’s Pavilion in Kabul, Afghanistan, and launched an educational program in the Panjshir Valley
Dr. Eric Cheysson became Chairman of La Chaîne de l’Espoir. Dr. Cheysson is a vascular and thoracic surgeon, Knight of the Legion of Honour in France, Grand Commander of the Royal Order of Cambodia and decorated in Afghanistan
We launched our first mission in Jordan to treat Syrian children in refugee camps
We launched our health education program in Kathmandu, Nepal, providing a daycare center and psychosocial support for at-risk children in the area
The Cuomo Centre for Pediatric Cardiology (CCPC) in Dakar, Senegal, was opened in tandem with a Children’s Pavilion, allowing us to welcome young patients undergoing treatment.
We opened the André Festoc Center in Bamako, Mali, dedicated to pediatric cardiology. Here, we performed the first open heart surgery in the country.
Through ECHOES, our echocardiography program, we connect cardiologists in Afghanistan, France, Mali to improve the diagnosis of children needing cardiac care.
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“USFC is a venture of humanity, uniting the kind hearts of women and men who want to change our world for the better. Whether surgeons, doctors, nurses, donors or public authorities, what we share is a collective vision: Together, we can win the fight for life against child mortality.”

– Dr. Éric Cheysson, Vascular and Thoracic Surgeon, Co-Founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World, USFC Board Member

Our founding members come from a range of fields and backgrounds, but all are united in their commitment to children’s health. Their spirit and dedication continues to animate USFC today.

Dr. Savine Baudet, doctor

Dr. Alain Carpentier, heart surgeon

Dr. Éric Cheysson, vascular and thoracic surgeon, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World

Dr. Michel Cymès, ENT specialist and journalist

Dr. Michèle Delarrat, anaesthetist

Dr. Alain Deloche, heart surgeon, professor, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World, founder of La Chaîne de l’Espoir

Dr. Yves Desgrippes, orthopaedic surgeon

Dr. Jean-François Elberg, surgeon

Dr. Didier Frémont, cardiologist

Dr. Bernard Granjon, doctor

Roland Guénoun, communications consultant


Dr. Bernard Kouchner, founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World, former Minister for Foreign Affairs for France

Jean-Claude Labbé, senior reporter

Jean-Claude Lafeuillade, engineer

Dr. Philippe Luxereau, cardiologist

Françoise Monard, former Director of Communications at BNP Paribas

Dr. Pierre Pradier, doctor

Dr. Claude Prigent, cardiologist

Jacqueline Rougé, biologist

Dr. François-Xavier Roux, neurosurgeon

Françoise Sussman, company director

Marc Tessier, former chairman of France Télévision

Dr. Philippe Valenti, orthopaedic surgeon

Human life is priceless, but it has a cost”

– Pr. Alain Deloche, Heart Surgeon, Professor, Co-Founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World, Founder of La Chaîne de l’Espoir and USFC

© Pascal Deloche / GODONG
United Surgeons for Children is a 501(C)3 nonprofit registered in the US under EIN 82-2702661.
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