Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – Epicentre Niger Research Centre

MSF collage

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors without Borders is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

In 2016, we were proud to form a new 3-year partnership with MSF and their training and research arm Epicentre, a non-profit association embedded in the MSF movement to support the Niger Research Center. The partnership focuses on building the capacity of Epicentre Niger’s medical and scientific staff, reinforcing Epicentre’s ties to the provincial authorities to guarantee optimum rapid response to health crises.

Supporting research to combat malnutrition and infectious diseases in Niger

In Niger, infectious diseases and child malnutrition are the principle causes of mortality. In 2009, Epicentre, MSF’s research and training arm, established its third research center in Niger to develop a viable West African hub to develop implementable solutions to clinical and public health problems. Since then, the Niger Research Center has developed a strong research portfolio and built capacity to investigate epidemics, implement alerting and monitoring systems, conduct clinical trials and prevalence surveys while working with Niger’s Ministry of Health and evaluating impact.

However, Niger and the Sahel, remain one of the least developed regions in the world with poor academic, research and health infrastructure. Our partnership supports the training of Epicentre’s African staff with the goal of eventually running the Center autonomously. Key scientific staff such as field investigators, laboratory technicians, epidemiologists and clinical statisticians have received advanced individual and institutional training in technical areas and have been able to present at Epicentre’s Scientific and Medical Days in Paris and Niger, travel for courses and conferences, build their international networks and take up other training assignments in MSF programs and African research centers.However, Niger and the Sahel, remain one of the least developed regions in the world with poor academic, research and health infrastructure. Our partnership supports the training of Epicentre’s African staff with the goal of eventually running the Center autonomously. Key scientific staff such as field investigators, laboratory technicians, epidemiologists and clinical statisticians have received advanced individual and institutional training in technical areas and have been able to present at Epicentre’s Scientific and Medical Days in Paris and Niger, travel for courses and conferences, build their international networks and take up other training assignments in MSF programs and African research centers.

Beneficiary group
– Directly: Epicentre staff in Niger.
– Indirectly: participants and communities in Epicentre research studies, as well as policy makers in the region.
Budget: $100,000
Location: Niger (Niamey and Maradi)

  •  Provide opportunities outside of Niger for medical and scientific staff at the Center to receive additional training to further their careers. 
  • Encourage medical and scientific staff from Niger and surrounding countries to be mentored and mentor others to sustain a vibrant research culture. 
  • Provide opportunities for staff to promote Epicentre’s visibility and encourage discussion on pressing medical research issues in Africa. 
  • Improve the quality of clinical studies in the long term. 
  • The benefits of support for Epicentre Niger have been transformative. Key scientific staff has been able to travel for trainings, connect with international scientists and expand their skill sets.
  • The Epicentre Medical Day in Niamey, 21 January 2020: researchers, public health experts and government officials were brought together discuss best practices in dealing with meningitis, malaria and malnutrition for Niger and the Sahel region.
  • 7 medical and scientific staff members have participated in the response to the Ebola outbreak in DRC – participating in seminars, trainings and the development of a novel vaccine trial for Ebola in Zaire.
  • Participation in international seminars and trainings, as well as conferences in Niger.
  • Support the participation and development of seminars in Niger.
  • Host SONIMI, the Nigerien internal medicine seminar for staff to present their work and opportunities for knowledge sharing from Epicentre and Elsevier.
  • Participation of staff in the Women Leaders in Global Health conference in Kigali.
  • Development and convening of a scientific day in Conakry, Guinea.
Read more about the partnership

On SciDev.net: “Antibiotics resistance in Africa needs urgent attention, Ochieng’ Ogodo, 22 March 2018
On The Lancet: “Local research in Africa: a glimpse at possibilities in Niger, 1 March 2018
Elsevier and Doctors without Borders Partner to Help Tackle Africa’s Health Challenges, Press Office Amsterdam, 25 October 2016

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