Providing care to 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.
This article was published on December 22nd, 2021, in the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs (Issue 3, Volume 3).
Despite a concerted international effort in recent decades that has yielded significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the disease continues to kill large numbers of people, especially in certain regions like rural Ndhiwa district in Homa Bay County, Kenya. Although there is still no definitive cure or vaccine, UNAIDS has set an ambitious goal of ending the epidemic by 2030, specifically via its 90-90-90 (treatment cascade) strategy – namely that 90 per cent of those with HIV will know their status; 90 per cent of those who know their status will be on antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of those on antiretroviral therapy will have an undetectable viral load. These bold assumptions were put to the test in a five-year pilot project launched in June 2014 by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Kenya’s Ministry of Health in Ndhiwa district, where an initial NHIPS 1 study by Epicentre (MSF’s epidemiology centre) in 2012 revealed some of the world’s highest HIV incidence and prevalence, and a poor “treatment cascade”. Six years later a new Epicentre study, NHIPS 2, showed that the 90-90-90 target had been more than met. What explains this ‘success’? And given the still-high incidence, is it truly a success? What follows is an interview on the political, scientific, and operational challenges of the Ndhiwa project with MSF Deputy Director of Operations Pierre Mendiharat and physician Léon Salumu, Head of MSF France Kenya programs, conducted by Elba Rahmouni.
This article was published on December 22nd, 2021 in the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs (Issue 3, Volume 3).
In this article, Natalie Roberts analyses the actions and positioning of MSF during the Ebola outbreak in Nord Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018-2020).
In this article, Rony Brauman identifies the dynamics and events that made bending the HIV/AIDS epidemic curve possible. He explains the climate in which the tug-of-war with parts of the pharmaceutical industry played out from MSF’s perspective, and recalls that fears about international security and political stability also helped push governments to mobilise against the epidemic.
Reconstructing Lives was published in January 2022 by Manchester University Press. The book is the result of extensive fieldwork, in collaboration with the Crash. It is fully available on our website.
This article was first released in the 18th volume of the Humanitarian Alternatives magazine. Designed to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in a Kenyan district, a Médecins Sans Frontières project successfully exceeded the “90-90-90” target set by UNAIDS. A look back on the results that the authors of this article - Pierre Mendiharat, Deputy director of operations at MSF France and Léon Salumu Luzinga, Program manager at MSF France, interviewed by Elba Rahmouni - believe are encouraging but by no means a guarantee that the epidemic will be over by 2030.
This study, conducted among the men of Homa Bay in Nyanza Province, Kenya, assesses the representations of HIV and impact on care seeking. It reveals that simply setting up a testing or care campaign does not necessarily mean that the entire population will participate; the message has to be tailored to the target population and fine-tuned even within that population.
The study The Patient Perspective of Quality of Care: A Review of the Literature, which we present here was carried out by Hannah Barnett a public health student at George Washington University, intern with CRASH from June to August 2018. This work sums up seventy articles from a variety of disciplines including medicine and public health. It is part of a reflection initiated by MSF a few years ago on medical quality and the patient-centered approach.
Michaël Neuman's review of "Medical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of practice" edited by Sharon Abramowitz and Catherine Panter-Brick (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)
The question of quality in the work of Médecins Sans Frontières has been asked from the very beginning of MSF's existence. On the one hand, the issue of improving the quality of practice is a part of ordinary professional activity; on the other hand, Médecins Sans Frontières' work involved working in distant lands and very specific environments, which demanded adjustments to medical practice as a result.