A / A / A

Off the cuff
Medicine and Public Health

Providing care for individuals, responding to disasters

What are the challenges, limitations, constraints, paradoxes and potential breakthroughs of humanitarian medicine, which specialises in treating marginalised and deprived populations affected by crises? Deconstructing a number of “healthcare utopias,” the studies contained in this volume review the history of global health innovations to which MSF has contributed. They also explore the current state of knowledge, practices and concerns relating to certain focus areas, such as nutrition, AIDS, water supply, food aid, reconstructive surgery, epidemic response, surveillance and disaster epidemiology.

MSF medical mobile teams vaccinating Elderly people and frontline Healthcare workers in a nursing home in Tripoli.
Blog post

Covid-19 Reading List : the vaccines special edition

We can all agree that the emergence of Covid-19 vaccine is “an absolutely astonishing development”, but vaccines are unlikely to completely halt the spread of the virus, let alone eradicate it. Yet even without achieving herd immunity, the ability to vaccinate vulnerable people seems to be reducing hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19. 

José Rodrigues Emergency Unit (UPA) in Manaus, Brazil, where the Covid situation remains critical.
Blog post

What to think, do and say about the Covid-19 vaccination? 

Blog written by Jean-Hervé Bradol, director of studies at the Crash.

Today, in order to obtain supplies of vaccines against Covid-19, there is neither a major difficulty related to price, nor a major obstacle related to intellectual property rules, nor a deficit in bio-medical research. However, these three topics are generally at the heart of MSF's communication in the area of access to medical care for those in most need. Our discourse must therefore evolve.
With the emergence of worrying variants of the virus present in the early stages of the pandemic and, as a consequence, the need to vaccinate on a global scale as quickly as possible, the world is facing a double challenge: biological engineering and ultra-industrial production – “ultra” echoing the need to produce on a global scale in a short period of time.

MSF provides support to two centres set up in north Marseille to test and refer people testing positive for coronavirus.
Blog post

Communicating and convincing: a humanitarian perspective on the French response to the coronavirus epidemic

In this paper, the two authors examine certain aspects of the French response to the epidemic in the light of the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in that field, primarily with respect to the relationship between the actors of the response and the beneficiaries.

Treatment of COVID-19 patients in a sports centre in Mexico.
Blog post

Covid-19 Reading List - Part 4

After a few months of respite the coronavirus epidemic has resumed its spread. With the second wave becoming a reality in many European countries, the Crash team decided to share some recent reading on the biomedical, political and social aspects of the pandemic in an attempt to shed some light on this tragic Season 2. As in previous editions, some articles are in English and some in French, and they are taken from both mainstream and specialist sources.

COVID-19 Project in Mons, Belgium
Blog post

The triage procedure

In exceptional circumstances where the demand for care exceeds the supply, how do you decide who to start with? Triage is necessary where there is exceptional demand, leading to the use of a specific procedure to establish priorities. Interview of Jean-Hervé Bradol conducted by Elba Rahmouni based on the article “In a disaster situation: get your bearings, triage and act” published in the book La médecine du tri. Histoire, éthique, anthropologie edited by Céline Lefève, Guillaume Lachenal and Vinh-Kim Nguyen.  

Sanitation activities in urban slum, Haiti
Blog post

About "Choléra, Haïti, 2010-2018, Histoire d’un désastre" by Renaud Piarroux

The cholera outbreak in Haiti in October 2010 was among the deadliest in modern history, with 800,000 people infected and 10,000 fatalities. And these are just the official figures. The actual death toll was far higher, as evidenced by numerous retrospective mortality surveys, and can only be expressed as an order of magnitude: to wit, several tens of thousands.   
This book recounts eight years of struggle on two fronts that the author shows to be closely linked: the field, with the implementation of measures of prevention and case management; the scientific debate, in the form of a shattering of the dominant environmental theory concerning the origin of the epidemic.

Ebola outbreak - Bunia
Blog post

Ebola outbreak: a failure in social mobilisation

On August 1st 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s health authorities declared the country’s tenth outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD), this time in North Kivu province.  Just over a year later, this outbreak is still ongoing, with several dozen new cases reported each week. In the space of 12 months, 3000 people contracted the disease and 2000 of them have since died. This latest outbreak can be seen as a failure at two levels: first, it is already the second biggest EVE outbreak ever recorded, and second, two out of three patients have died. What are the reasons for this failure? What operational strategies should we develop in response? 
Interview with Jean-Hervé Bradol, Director of studies at CRASH, by Elba Rahmouni.

Ebola response in Mangina
Blog post

Ebola in the DRC: between operational trial and error and scientific uncertainty

Rebecca Grais, Research Director at Epicentre, MSF’s epidemiology arm, and Pierre Mendiharat, Deputy Director of Operations for MSF-France, offer their insights on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu Province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This joint interview in four parts (the outbreak, social context, treatments, and vaccination) aims to show how science and practice interact around each outbreak.