Scientific Day 2021 | June 10

Corps éditorial

Epidemiology, medical research, innovation: a day to take stock of the advances underway thanks to Epicentre

Epicentre's Scientific Day invites you to discover the range of activities and its epidemiology and research projects in humanitarian situations. This year, this plunge into the heart of Epicentre will take place on 10 June in a virtual setting due to the health situation. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic will be the subject of a session as Epicentre has been working since the beginning to assess the situation in MSF intervention sites and has also launched sero-prevalence studies among people in great precarious situations in France and some areas of the African continent to evaluate the real impact. 

Despite the COVID pandemic, other studies, notably on tuberculosis, malaria, ebola, antibiotic resistance, post-abortion complications and snake bites, have continued, and the results will be presented to you during the day. 

Working alongside MSF for more than 30 years, Epicentre's teams have been conducting studies whose results should lead to medical practices changes. One session will be devoted to vaccination and the possibilities offered by fractional dose to improve access to vaccines against yellow fever and pneumococcal infections, for example. 

Given the changing international healthcare landscape and the higher prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer, one session will be devoted to Epicentre's studies in the field of oncology, an area of MSF's developing operational policy. 

And to conclude, we invite you to a session on innovations in digital health and their impact on epidemiologists' daily work. To make medical practices evolve, it is also necessary to integrate the latest tools available: mobile phones, dashboards, GPS, etc. 

Epicentre makes every effort to provide information and practical solutions to improve access to quality healthcare for populations living in unstable conditions or insufficient access to care. This objective is based on our intangible link with MSF, our experience, and our team's expertise.


9:00 - Welcome and introductory remarks - Yap Boum II

9:10 – Session 1 | COVID-19

Moderator : Mathieu Bichet, MSF, France

  • Epidemiological and medical characteristics of patients in MSF programs. Anaïs Broban
  • Focus on  Yemen and Afghanistan. Amna Haider, Flavio Finger 
  • Clinical description and outcome of patients admitted in the MSF COVID-19 treatment center, Herat, Afghanistan. Elisabeth Poulet
  • Preliminary results of SARS-COV-2 seroprevalence and retrospective mortality surveys in low-income countries (DRC, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Yemen). Etienne Gignoux


10:25 - Break


10:45 – Session 2 | Cancer

Moderator: Christopher Mambula, Médecins Sans Frontières, France 

  • Cancer, a new challenge for MSF: example of an oncology in project in Mali. Claire Rieux, Marie-Hortense Koudika
  • Improved outcomes for Kaposi sarcoma using pegylated liposomal doxorubicin. Matthew Coldiron
  • Cervical cancer prevention in Malawi: HPV vaccination and cervical pre-cancer screening coverage.Sibylle Gerstl,  Robin Nesbitt


12:00 - Session 3 | Update on projects

Moderator: Anne-Laure Page, WHO, Switzerland 

  • Diagnostic performance and feasibility of FujiLAM to detect tuberculosis. Helena Huerga, Chenai Mathabire Rücker, Pascale Lissouba 
  • Practices and challenges related to antibiotic use in paediatrics in Niger and Uganda. Céline Langendorf


12:45 - Break


14:15 – Digital Health Innovations

  • Contribution of (new) technologies in epidemiology. Anton Camacho
  • 14:40 – Open house
    • Smartphone-based strategies to improve diagnostic and case management of cervical cancer screening. Jihane Ben-Farhat, Ramin Asgary 
    • Use of a digital alert-based platform in the Integrated Hospital Events Based Surveillance in Niger. Robert Nsaibirni, Bachir Assao
    • Use of satellites to estimate mortality. Lorenz Wendt
    • Data visualization using dashboards. Paul Campbell, Yves Amevoin, Mathilde Mousset
    • Estimation of population size by combining satellite picture and field survey: Insight from recent experiences. Etienne Gignoux, Serge Balandine et Francesco Grandesso
    • Delivery of remote mental health and psychosocial support in MSF programs during the lockdown. Khasan Ibragimov


15:40 - Break


16:00 – Session 4 | Neglected patients 

Moderator: Anne Bissek, Ministry of Health, Cameroon 

  • Evaluation of the Inoserp antivenom for snakebites in Cameroon. Fai Karl
  • Validation of a clinical score for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium ulcerans (Buruli Ulcer) infection in Cameroon. Rodrigue Ntone
  • Abortion-related complications and their clinical management in a referral hospital of a conflict-affected setting in Central African Republic. Estelle Pasquier


17:00 – Session 5 | Vaccination 

Moderator: Mamady Traoré, Médecins sans Frontières, France 

  • Fractional dosing of vaccines: when less could mean more. Aitana Juan
  • Ebola vaccination: what's the problem? Natalie Roberts
  • Effectiveness of conjugated typhoid fever vaccine, Harare, Zimbabwe. Maria Lightowler


18:05 – Closing remarks - Emmanuel Baron

Open house

Smartphone-based strategies to improve diagnostic and case management of cervical cancer screening

Using Visual Inspection of the Cervix under Acetic Acid  (VIA), Blantyre, Malawi.The Visual Inspection of the Cervix under Acetic Acid (VIA)-based cervical cancer screening is the WHO-recommended screening method for resource-poor seetings. Smartphone-based VIA strategies provide low-tech option and has the potential to deliver prolonged and continuous mentorship and support to practitioners in order to improve their training and the quality of VIA over time.

Use of a digital alert-based platform in the Integrated Hospital Events Based Surveillance in Niger

A digital alert-based platform to facilitate reporting and monitoring of health event signals at peripheral health facilities and reduce the delays in identification and notification of diseases of epidemic potential, so reducing the time to launch the appropriate response.

Use of satellites to estimate mortality

In this work-in-progress we analyse and test the cultural and technical preconditions to successfully detect changes in mortality rate by regularly mapping graveyards.

Data visualization using dashboards

Join us to learn more about our dashboards, how we build them and how we use them for real-time disease surveillance and clinical trial monitoring.

Estimation of population size by combining satellite picture and field survey: Insight from recent experiences

Accurate and recent satellite images of our intervention areas are increasingly available. Recent advances in artificial intelligence and the development of collaborative networking allow us to obtain estimates of the number of dwellings in our areas of interest. Combining this with field surveys allows us to obtain estimates of population size and density.

Delivery of remote mental health and psychosocial support in MSF programs during the lockdown

MSF has had to rapidly adapt its clinical activities to respond to COVID-19 pandemic, including adapting to public health measures such as confinement and quarantine.  Through this evaluation, we aimed to identify challenges and lessons learned in the transition to remote provision of mental health and psychosocial support, so that MSF can better support staff and beneficiaries, and assist the transition in all its fields. For this study we adapted a mixed method design with quantitative data collection followed by qualitative in-depth interviews.

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