• Are Rapid Population Estimates Accurate? A Field Trial of Two Different Assessment Methods.

      Grais, R; Coulombier, D; Ampuero, J; Lucas, M; Barretto, A; Jacquier, G; Diaz, F; Balandine, S; Mahoudeau, C; Brown, V; et al. (Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-09)
      Emergencies resulting in large-scale displacement often lead to populations resettling in areas where basic health services and sanitation are unavailable. To plan relief-related activities quickly, rapid population size estimates are needed. The currently recommended Quadrat method estimates total population by extrapolating the average population size living in square blocks of known area to the total site surface. An alternative approach, the T-Square, provides a population estimate based on analysis of the spatial distribution of housing units taken throughout a site. We field tested both methods and validated the results against a census in Esturro Bairro, Beira, Mozambique. Compared to the census (population: 9,479), the T-Square yielded a better population estimate (9,523) than the Quadrat method (7,681; 95% confidence interval: 6,160-9,201), but was more difficult for field survey teams to implement. Although applicable only to similar sites, several general conclusions can be drawn for emergency planning.
    • Challenge and co-operation: civil society activism for access to HIV treatment in Thailand.

      Ford, N; Wilson, D; Cawthorne, P; Kumphitak, A; Kasi-Sedapan, S; Kaetkaew, S; Teemanka, S; Donmon, B; Preuanbuapan, C; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. david.wilson.thai@gmail.com (Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009-03)
      Civil society has been a driving force behind efforts to increase access to treatment in Thailand. A focus on HIV medicines brought civil society and non-governmental and government actors together to fight for a single cause, creating a platform for joint action on practical issues to improve care for people with HIV/AIDS (PHA) within the public health system. The Thai Network of People with HIV/AIDS, in partnership with other actors, has provided concrete support for patients and for the health system as a whole; its efforts have contributed significantly to the availability of affordable generic medicines, early treatment for opportunistic infections, and an informed and responsible approach towards antiretroviral treatment that is critical to good adherence and treatment success. This change in perception of PHA from 'passive receiver' to 'co-provider' of health care has led to improved acceptance and support within the healthcare system. Today, most PHA in Thailand can access treatment, and efforts have shifted to supporting care for excluded populations.
    • Humanitarian Action and Military Intervention: Temptations and Possibilities.

      Weissman, F; Médecins Sans Frontières France, 8 Rue Saint Sabin, Paris 75011, France. Fabrice.weissman@paris.msf.org (Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-06)
      Although the war in Liberia in July 2003 claimed hundreds of lives, the international community was reluctant to intervene. In this article, the author debates the question: does international military intervention equal protection of populations? The role of humanitarian organisations in military intervention is considered. Aid organisations cannot call for deployment of a protection force without renouncing their autonomy or appealing to references outside their own practices. Such organisations provide victims with vital assistance and contribute to ensuring that their fate becomes a stake in political debate by exposing the violence that engulfs them, without substituting their own voices for those of the victims. The political content of humanitarian action is also outlined and military intervention in the context of genocide is discussed. The author concludes that the latter is one of the rare situations in which humanitarian actors can consider calling for an armed intervention without renouncing their own logic.
    • Questionable Accountability: MSF and Sphere in 2003.

      Tong, J; Programmes Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières UK, 3rd Floor, 67-74 Saffron Hill, London EC1N 8QX, UK. jacqui.TONG@london.msf.org (Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-06)
      This article examines the relationship between Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Sphere Project. Prior to revisiting the concerns MSF had with the project, it looks at factors that give rise to differences between NGOs and cites some reasons for why an organisation such as MSF would not embrace such a project and clarifies some key elements of MSF-style humanitarianism. The author revisits the original concerns and arguments presented by MSF when it decided not to participate beyond assisting with the establishment of technical standards and key indicators for the handbook. This is followed by a critical discussion examining these concerns and counter-criticism with reference to experiences a few years after the inception of Sphere. It concludes with MSF's perceptions and stance regarding Sphere and accountability in 2003.