Humanitarian issues are neglected by research
More than 50% of mother and child deaths in the world happen during humanitarian crises (source: State of the World’s Mothers 2014 – Save the Children).
Medicine practiced in humanitarian crises is usually the result of research carried out in northern countries; a world away from emergency situations in the field. This leads to many treatments used in humanitarian care being unsuited to the health needs of local communities.
Although three in five deaths in Africa are caused by infectious diseases, only 2.4% of clinical trials concerning infectious diseases conducted worldwide in March 2016 took place in Africa (source: National Institute of Health).
Innovation at the centre of the operations
“We want better tools and operational strategies so we can help more patients at a lower cost. The information gathered through our studies is therefore of great interest not only to our patients, but to healthcare systems as a whole.”
Solenne Barbe, Head of the Operational Research Centre for ALIMA
ALIMA believes that medical research and humanitarian action are compatible, and over the past seven years we have carried out 10 scientific studies in five countries. By supporting collaboration between researchers, doctors and NGOs, we create innovative solutions that improve the effectiveness of humanitarian medicine.
Technical innovations are made in the service of humanitarian medicine. New tools improving quality of care are introduced in the field. Diagnoses become more accurate, treatment more targeted, and patient care improves.
Scientific research projects are established based on issues encountered in the field. New treatments, new practices, and new therapeutic models mean that more patients can receive far better care.
ALIMA research projects
The Post-Ebogui project (Post-Ebola Guinea) monitors patients cured of Ebola. ALIMA offers medical care and psycho-social support to nearly 120 patients who also receive comprehensive biological monitoring through a partnership with the IRD (institut de recherche pour le developpement) and INSERM (institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale).
Clinical trials of Favipiravir (an antiviral drug) were conducted under the direction of INSERM in December 2014 at the Ebola Treatment Center managed by ALIMA in N’Zérékoré, Guinea. The study focused on a multicentric non-randomized trial in which all patients not presenting contraindications received Favipiravir and medical care. Approximately 125 patients affected by the Ebola virus volunteered to participate in the study.
In 2016, ALIMA will participate in the second phase trial of PREVAC, a vaccine against the Ebola virus, which will be tested on 2,500 people in Guinea.
Improving tools for diagnosing diarrhea in children
The DIDIMAS project studies the infectious causes of diarrhea in severely malnourished children with complications. It uses BioFire – a molecular technology – to identify the prevalence of pathogens associated with diarrhea in children hospitalized at the Therapeutic Nutrition unit in the China-Chad Friendship Hospital.
Training mothers to diagnose malnutrition in their children
The ‘PB mothers/MUAC I and MUAC II’ study conducted in Niger aims to determine the effectiveness of a strategy whereby mothers screen their children for severe acute malnutrition using the MUAC test. This test, which involves measuring the circumference of a child’s mid upper arm, requires very little equipment or expertise.
Treating moderate malnutrition with new therapeutic foods
The groundbreaking TreatFOOD research project, begun in September 2013 in Burkina Faso, is designed to offer the first improvements in 30 years in the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition.
Offering an effective pediatric care package to reduce infant mortality
The ‘1000 days’ project launched in Niger in 2014 rethinks pediatric care by offering a comprehensive care package. This includes preventive care, free treatment and nutritional supplementation for all children between the ages of six months to two years.
Distributing therapeutic foods to prevent malnutrition
An investigation into the use and acceptability of the Plumpy’Doz food supplement was conducted between 2012 and 2013 in DRC as part of the APROMAC project.
Treating physical traumas during natural disasters
The ‘Monitoring and Treatment of Traumas in Members’ (SuTRA2) research project took place in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. The study focused on the importance of medical choices in an emergency. It specifically analyzed the medical and psycho-social consequences of amputation, which is often performed in natural disaster situations.
Since 2009, ALIMA and its partners have conducted 10 research projects in five countries.
ALIMA’s research partners include INSERM and the CNRS in France, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp in Belgium, the University of Queensland in Australia, the University of Kinshasa in DRC, and government ministries in the many countries where we work.
Our studies are funded by the CNRS in France, INSERM, ECHO, UNICEF, PAM, the Foundation of France, the European Commission, private foundations and individual donations.