Wednesday, June 8, 2016 — PRESS RELEASE
MSF showcases medical humanitarian field research at first-ever ‘Scientific Day’ in South Africa in partnership with Wits University
Operational research symposium seeks to improve quality of medical care, share knowledge and influence practice
Johannesburg – Presenting operational field-based research for the first time ever locally, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) launches Scientific Day Southern Africa on Thursday, 9 June 2016 at the University of Witwatersrand School of Public Health.
MSF Scientific Day Southern Africa offers local academics, medical professionals, health institutions, medical students and the media unique access to insights originating from the frontlines of MSF’s medical humanitarian action. The symposium, which this year attracts 200 participants, reflects the challenges, achievements and innovations emanating from our diverse field programmes around the world.
“MSF Scientific Day is an opportunity for our fieldworkers to present and discuss their research with academics and professionals. In the past we’ve seen how these gatherings contributed to refining our work and improve the quality of our medical operations. Having such opportunities allows us to challenge the impact our operational research is having in our daily work and on the lives of the patients and beneficiaries,” says Dr Helen Bygrave, MSF Scientific Day Southern Africa convenor and Medical Unit HIV-TB Advisor.
Internationally Scientific Days have been an established feature on MSF’s global calendar, evolving as a forum for dialogue and knowledge-sharing in a few selected countries, including India, the UK and Zimbabwe.
“The MSF Scientific Days aim to connect audiences – across countries, organisations, and disciplines – to enable critical analysis and debate on the state of medical and innovation evidence underpinning humanitarian operations. We’ve also seen how this platform contributes to influencing medical humanitarian and public health practice globally,” explains Bygrave.
At Scientific Day Southern Africa, MSF staff will present findings in four sessions chaired by renowned professionals drawn from prestigious institutions. They include: Prof. Lucille Blumberg, Deputy-Director for the National Institute for Communicable Diseases; Jacob van Garderen of Lawyers for Human Rights; Samantha Khan-Gillmore from the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) and Prof. Ashraf Coovadia from Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.
The diverse body of presentations range from contributions on the impact of engaging mothers in screening their own children for malnutrition; operational strategies from our HIV programmes to reach the global 90-90-90 targets; and innovative e-health apps to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing to paediatric patients. The symposium also features a debate around delivering healthcare to vulnerable displaced populations in Africa and Europe.
“Scientific Day Southern Africa is a window to the world, and a conference without borders. We hope this event deepens the awareness about medical humanitarian practice in Southern Africa while strengthening MSF’s relationship with medical and academic community in South Africa,” says Dan Sermand, General Director MSF Southern Africa.
Prof. Laetitia Rispel, Head of the Wits School of Public Health says the choice of venue is most appropriate as the School is a lived space for local and international gatherings that enhances Wits’ enabling environment for research and teaching excellence.
“In light of our national and global responsibility to serve and elevate public health academic endeavours, the Wits School of Public Health congratulate MSF with its inaugural operational research symposium. The symposium aims to improve the quality of medical care, share knowledge and influence practice, with a particular focus on the medical humanitarian field. The topics are aligned to both the research and teaching endeavours of the School,” says Rispel.
FOR MORE INFROMATION & INTERVIEWS:
Borrie la Grange - Head of Communication MSF Southern Africa
+27 79 872 2950 | firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Some highlights from presentations / discussions à READ the Full Programme and Abstract Booklet here
MATERNAL & CHILD HEALTH CHALLENGES
Background on MSF Scientific Days
Launched in 2004 in London, MSF Scientific Days aim to connect audiences – across countries, organisations, specialities and disciplines – to promote debate and exchange around the evidence underpinning our medical humanitarian operations. Valuable exchanges with partner organisations, medical and policy audiences help guide our operations, influence and ultimately improve the quality of care for our patients.
Starting in 2015 MSF Scientific Days, branched out to Zimbabwe and India where similar symposia were hosted. This year MSF Scientific Days event were held in London (20 & 21 May) and New Delhi (28 May)
Borrie la Grange
Head of Communications