Last month Ginny and I had an interesting day out of the office at a conference run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It was the seventh time MSF have had a Scientific Day, and whilst the mainstay of MSF activities is of course response to medical emergencies worldwide, they also conduct research in vulnerable and often difficult-to-reach populations and the outputs from such research are valuable to all those working in such settings. Presentations were mainly by operational researchers based in MSF-UK or Epicentre.
Before the day there was, as for all conferences, a huge amount of preparation work, led by Tejshri Shah and Stephanie Bartlett. We were delighted to assist them in review of all submitted abstracts, and selection of abstracts to be peer reviewed before presentation on the day. This process enabled the organizers to select the best abstracts for presentation on the day and provided the conference presenters with feedback to fine-tune their talks and posters before further critique by the lively audience — the event was oversubscribed. The agenda for the day was shaped around four broad themes: ‘outbreaks and emergencies’, ‘there’s more to HIV than handing out the pills’, ‘beyond health facilities’ and ‘improving detection and treatment’. The day wasn’t restricted to MSF either, as presenters from DNDi and Action against Hunger were also invited to participate.
The presentation sessions covered a range of topics such as HIV, emergency medical responses, neglected diseases, and delivery of care in hard to reach settings and populations.
Some of the study abstracts (where authors have given permission) can be downloaded from the Field Research website (http://fieldresearch.msf.org).