Research and reflection centres

DNDiDrugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Epicentre

As well as delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care, MSF is also involved in medical research and reflection. This helps us improve the effectiveness and quality of the medical care we deliver, and provides us with the tools to convince others to take action or change their treatment protocols. MSF research addresses urgent medical and humanitarian issues and topics include treatment of tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases.


Epicentre was created in 1986 by MSF, and is a MSF-dedicated non-profit organisation that specialises in epidemiology, training and research in developing countries. MSF holds the majority of votes on its Board of Administration.

Headquartered in Paris, with research centres in Niger and Uganda, the 190-person team conducts research and assessments, and provides training to MSF staff and university students. The centre has also developed expertise in the development and field installation of software applications for the management of health information.

The expertise at Epicentre is put into action through various programmes such as the investigation of epidemics, monitoring, mortality estimates and vaccination campaigns.

To learn more, please visit

Manson Unit

Established in 2003, the Manson Unit is based in the UK and is a team of medical doctors, a laboratory specialist, epidemiologists, a GIS (geographical information systems) officer and a medical editor. The unit identifies developments in the management of medical issues such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, malaria and outbreaks of infectious diseases and environmental contamination, and helps put changes into practice, monitors the implementation of these changes and documents lessons learned from the experience.

To learn more, please visit www.

SAMU (Southern Africa Medical Unit)

SAMU is part of the Belgium Operational Centre’s medical department and the medical division of MSF South Africa. Its mission is to provide medical technical and implementation support to various MSF projects running medical activities related to HIV and TB.

To learn more, please visit

BRAMU (Brazilian Medical Unit)

The Brazilian Medical Unit was established in 2007 to work with renowned Brazilian academic and scientific institutions, laboratories and qualified researchers. It specialises in neglected tropical diseases such as dengue and Chagas, and also works on other infectious diseases and is involved in medical anthropology. BRAMU provides technical support to a number of MSF projects, and contributes to scientific studies, research and training. The Unit works closely with the Operational centres in Switzerland and Spain.

To learn more, please visit

LuxOr (Luxembourg Operational Research)

LuxOR is an MSF team linked with the Belgium Operational Centre and is dedicated to operational research and skills development. Its main objectives are to conduct and support operational research studies, coordinate operational research training and support the development and implementation of medical data collection tools.

To learn more, please visit


The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an independent, non-profit partnership working to research and develop new and improved treatments for neglected diseases such as visceral leishmaniasis also known as kala azar (cutaneous and muco-cutaneous forms), sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease and malaria.

The initiative was founded in 2003 by the Brazilian Oswaldo Cruz Foundation/Farmanguinhos, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, the Pasteur Institute in France, and MSF. The World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases is a permanent observer.

MSF is part of the scientific advisory group and has seats on the board.

To learn more, please visit


The Centre de Réflexion sur l'Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires (CRASH) was created by MSF in 1999. It inspires debate and reflection on MSF’s field practices and public positioning, and the CRASH team conducts and direct studies and analysis of MSF actions and participates in internal training sessions and assessment missions in the field. Its objective is to contribute to debate on the challenges, constraints and limits –as well as the subsequent dilemmas – of humanitarian action.

To learn more, please visit

UREPH (L’Unité de Recherche sur les Enjeux et Pratiques Humanitaires)

The Research Unit on Humanitarian Issues and Practices was established in 2006 and is currently made up of eight people. It works closely with the Swiss Operational Centre, other MSF research centres, and universities and NGOs. UREPH’s objectives are to improve the way MSF projects are implemented on the ground and to engage in critical reflection on humanitarian and medical action (on problems encountered at project level and also on broader issues concerning current humanitarian action), notably by producing publications and organising conferences and debates.

To learn more, please visit