MSF is known for its humanitarian medical work, but it has also produced important research based on its field experience. It has published articles in over 100 peer-reviewed journals and they have often changed clinical practice and been used for humanitarian advocacy. These articles are available for free, in full text - no login required. We sincerely thank the publishers for their permission to archive on this site.


Published Research and Commentary
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Research Resources


  • Delays in arrival and treatment in emergency departments: Women, children and non-trauma consultations the most at risk in humanitarian settings

    Guzman, IB; Cuesta, JG; Trelles, M; Jaweed, O; Cherestal, S; van Loenhout, JAF; Guha-Sapir, D (Public Library of Science, 2019-03-05)
    Introduction Delays in arrival and treatment at health facilities lead to negative health outcomes. Individual and external factors could be associated with these delays. This study aimed to assess common factors associated with arrival and treatment delays in the emergency departments (ED) of three hospitals in humanitarian settings. Methodology This was a cross-sectional study based on routine data collected from three MSF-supported hospitals in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sierra Leone. We calculated the proportion of consultations with delay in arrival (>24 hours) and in treatment (based on target time according to triage categories). We used a multinomial logistic regression model (MLR) to analyse the association between age, sex, hospital and diagnosis (trauma and non-trauma) with these delays. Results We included 95,025 consultations. Males represented 65.2%, Delay in arrival was present in 27.8% of cases and delay in treatment in 27.2%. The MLR showed higher risk of delay in arrival for females (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.2–1.3), children <5 (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.4–1.5), patients attending to Gondama (OR 30.0, 95% CI 25.6–35.3) and non-trauma cases (OR 4.7, 95% CI 4.4–4.8). A higher risk of delay in treatment was observed for females (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.1), children <5 (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.9–2.1), patients attending to Martissant (OR 14.6, 95% CI 13.9–15.4) and non-trauma cases (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.5–1.7). Conclusions Women, children <5 and non-trauma cases suffered most from delays. These delays could relate to educational and cultural barriers, and severity perception of the disease. Treatment delay could be due to insufficient resources with consequent overcrowding, and severity perception from medical staff for non-trauma patients. Extended community outreach, health promotion and support to community health workers could improve emergency care in humanitarian settings.
  • Long term outcomes and prognostics of visceral leishmaniasis in HIV infected patients with use of pentamidine as secondary prophylaxis based on CD4 level: a prospective cohort study in Ethiopia

    Diro, E; Edwards, T; Ritmeijer, K; Fikre, H; Abongomera, c; Kibret, A; Bardonneau, C; Soipei, P; Mutinda, B; Omollo, R; van Griensven, J; Zijlstra, EE; Wasunna, M; Alves, F; Alvar, J; Hailu, A; Alexander, N; Blesson, S (Public Library of Science, 2019-02-21)
    BACKGROUND: The long-term treatment outcome of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients with HIV co-infection is complicated by a high rate of relapse, especially when the CD4 count is low. Although use of secondary prophylaxis is recommended, it is not routinely practiced and data on its effectiveness and safety are limited. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was conducted in Northwest Ethiopia from August 2014 to August 2017 (NCT02011958). HIV-VL patients were followed for up to 12 months. Patients with CD4 cell counts below 200/μL at the end of VL treatment received pentamidine prophylaxis starting one month after parasitological cure, while those with CD4 count ≥200 cells/μL were followed without secondary prophylaxis. Compliance, safety and relapse-free survival, using Kaplan-Meier analysis methods to account for variable time at risk, were summarised. Risk factors for relapse or death were analysed. RESULTS: Fifty-four HIV patients were followed. The probability of relapse-free survival at one year was 50% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 35-63%): 53% (30-71%) in 22 patients with CD4 ≥200 cells/μL without pentamidine prophylaxis and 46% (26-63%) in 29 with CD4 <200 cells/μL who started pentamidine. Three patients with CD4 <200 cells/μL did not start pentamidine. Amongst those with CD4 ≥200 cells/μL, VL relapse was an independent risk factor for subsequent relapse or death (adjusted rate ratio: 5.42, 95% CI: 1.1-25.8). Except for one case of renal failure which was considered possibly related to pentamidine, there were no drug-related safety concerns. CONCLUSION: The relapse-free survival rate for VL patients with HIV was low. Relapse-free survival of patients with CD4 count <200cells/μL given pentamidine secondary prophylaxis appeared to be comparable to patients with a CD4 count ≥200 cells/μL not given prophylaxis. Patients with relapsed VL are at higher risk for subsequent relapse and should be considered a priority for secondary prophylaxis, irrespective of their CD4 count.
  • Severe post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis successfully treated with miltefosine in an Ethiopian HIV patient.

    Abongomera, C; Battaglioli, T; Adera, C; Ritmeijer, K (Elsevier, 2019-02-18)
    Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) is a neglected tropical disease characterized by a dermatosis which often appears after successful treatment of visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania donovani. PKDL treatment options are few and have severe limitations. In East- Africa, the standard treatment of PKDL is with daily painful potentially toxic sodium stibogluconate injections, administered for a prolonged duration of 30-60 days. In the Indian subcontinent, PKDL is mainly treated with miltefosine, a safer orally administered drug. However, in East-Africa, there is very limited experience in the use of miltefosine for treatment of severe PKDL, with only one published case report. Here we report a severe PKDL case in an Ethiopian HIV patient successfully treated with oral miltefosine (100 milligrams/day for 28 days). Miltefosine was efficacious, safe and well tolerated, suggesting that it can play an important role in the treatment of severe PKDL also in East-African patients. Further research is warranted.
  • "Even if she's really sick at home, she will pretend that everything is fine.": Delays in seeking care and treatment for advanced HIV disease in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Venables, E; Casteels, I; Manziasi Sumbi, E; Goemaere, E (Public Library of Science, 2019-02-13)
    HIV prevalence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is estimated to be 1.2%, and access to HIV testing and treatment remains low across the country. Despite advances in treatment, HIV continues to be one of the main reasons for hospitalisation and death in low- and middle-income countries, including DRC, but the reasons why people delay seeking health-care when they are extremely sick remain little understood. People in Kinshasa, DRC, continue to present to health-care facilities in an advanced stage of HIV when they are close to death and needing intensive treatment.
  • Mortality in the first six months among HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients empirically treated for tuberculosis.

    Huerga, H; Ferlazzo, G; Wanjala, S; Bastard, M; Bevilacqua, P; Ardizzoni, E; Sitienei, J; Bonnet, M (BioMed Central, 2019-02-11)
    Empirical treatment of tuberculosis (TB) may be necessary in patients with negative or no Xpert MTB/RIF results. In a context with access to Xpert, we assessed mortality in the 6 months after the initial TB consultation among HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients who received empirical TB treatment or TB treatment based on bacteriological confirmation and we compared it with the mortality among those who did not receive TB treatment.

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