Site and Background:
Cameroon represents a unique site in Central Africa with a different epidemiology then East/West/Southern Africa, and has a unique blend of viral, bacterial, and parasite lineages due to its location. Epicentre embeds its epidemiology-based projects either within existing MSF operations, or offers the potential for investigator-initiated separate projects. The University of Yaoundé is the Epicentre research partner for this training collaboration.
Epicentre conducts field epidemiology activities, research projects and training in support of MSF's goal of providing medical aid in areas where people are affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or otherwise have poor or non-existent access to health care. In this context, Epicentre’s activities aim to support MSF's interventions in humanitarian context to:
- evaluate the health of the population and contribute to defining the priorities for action;
- analyse the contexts of interventions through field epidemiological activities such as population surveys, surveillance, and investigation of epidemics;
- support innovation related to prevention, medical care in the field, strategies and medical policy through research projects and clinical trials; 4) do research and provide field based evidence to strengthen MSF’s advocacy position promoting access to effective and quality care; and to 5) train MSF staff, other professionals, actors and decision-makers in the health sector for an effective response in complex situations.
In the recent years, Epicentre conduct a nationwide study to support the MoH and assess the burden of Viral Hepatitis among healthcare workers (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jvh.12974). In the meantime, Epicentre is conducting a large study on Buruli Ulcer, a neglected tropical disease affecting patients in many African countries and Australia. This group is also preparing the launch of a study on safety and efficacy of antivenom to address the burden of snake bites (ESAA) in Cameroon. To achieve the collaborative research, Epicentre relies on the impressive logistics of MSF and the laboratory capacity of its partners. Professor Boum is Professor at the University of Yaoundé I, but also has worked with faculty at the University of Douala and the Centre Pasteur du Cameroun. Since 2014 when Epicentre started activities in Cameroon, more than 15 national and international students went through Epicentre with 5 Master students and 1 ongoing PhD student.