Lives on the Edge: Time to Align Medical Research and Development with People's Health Needs

Emily Gerardo

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Every day, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff confront significant gaps in the availability of medical tools to address the health needs of the people we aim to care for in crisis-affected communities in more than 60 countries. These gaps—which have persisted for as long as MSF has been in operation—contribute to preventable deaths and exacerbate ongoing humanitarian and medical crises.

Filling these gaps with effective, affordable vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments that can be used in a range of contexts, including underresourced and unstable places, could save innumerable lives.

In this report, MSF illustrates how our staff and patients around the world are impacted by the way biomedical research and development is predominantly conducted today.

The report also looks at a broad range of policies aimed at changing this dynamic by incentivizing the development of medical tools that truly respond to patient and public health needs, and ensuring they are made broadly accessible.

Read the Press Release

In July 2014, MSF held the first of three rounds of a mass vaccination campaign in Adjumani district of northern Uganda to protect children from deadly respiratory infections. Such infections are among the leading causes of child mortality in settings such as this, where refugee settlements host thousands of families forced to flee conflict in neighbouring South Sudan. Children living in the host communities are also eligible for to be immunized. Children between the ages of six weeks and two years old were given the first of three doses of PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine), a vaccine that protects against pneumonia and other diseases caused by pneumococcus. In addition to protection against pneumonia, children up to five years old also received the pentavalent vaccine which protects against five other diseases.
Emily Gerardo