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MSF’s Scientific Day

Last week I went to the Médecins Sans Frontières Scientific Day in London. Though MSF is of course primarily a humanitarian organisation, it conducts a large amount of research, with the ultimate aim of improving the services they offer to the populations they work with. PLoS Medicine recently published a paper looking back at 20 years of research from MSF and Epicentre.
The scientific day featured research from across the organisation and some from outside. Specific things I’d highlight were the first talk of the day from Samuel Hauenstein Swan from Action Against Hunger UK
who spoke on cycles of starvation among the world’s rural poor and who emphasized the need to work for systematic solutions integrated with whole programmes of social protection measures. Another talk also addressed an issue of longer term planning. Daniel Orozco from MSF spoke on the need for, and practicalities of, setting up robust laboratory quality control strategies for the resource-constrained settings that MSF works in. Also presented was MSF’s new website of its published research. And alongside these talks were very sobering presentations that reflected the reality of the MSF’s work globally in very vulnerable populations such as one on the mental health assessment of adults and children in Mogadishu, Somalia and another of a report of a sexual violence programme in Monrovia, Liberia.

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