MSF UK has launched an open source mission to build field-ready technology to improve the clinical effectiveness of large-scale nutrition programmes across Africa.
Get involved August – November 2015 and help save lives.
In September 2014, at the height of the Ebola crisis, a group of tech volunteers came together to see how they could use their skills to help Médecins Sans Frontières address this devastating epidemic.
A team of engineers from Google’s Crisis Response team and other volunteers responded, creating the first open-source electronic medical records system uniquely designed for these harsh conditions: no internet, unreliable power, sweltering temperatures, and the strictest of biohazard safety procedures.
When children suffer from acute malnutrition, their immune systems are so impaired that the risk of death is greatly increased. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malnutrition is the single greatest threat to the world’s public health, with 178 million malnourished children across the globe.
Malnutrition is an important childhood killer. Primarily affecting children under 5 years old in low-income settings, it sometimes results from food scarcity (famine) but more often as a result of poor access to hygiene and health care. A child who does not have access to clean water and adequate primary health care, and who may be already underweight, is vulnerable to infections which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. This turn leads to more weight loss, increasing vulnerability to further infection, and in some cases leading to a vicious cycle from which the child cannot recover without medical assistance. Below a certain level of weight and health, a child’s body is no longer capable of digesting ordinary food and will die without support.
Humanitarian interventions aim to interrupt this process, providing the child with specialized therapeutic foods that can be absorbed even by a very ill body as well as other support such as antibiotics to fight infections. This is done in Therapeutic Feeding Centres (TFCs). Outpatient (Ambulatory or ATFC) facilities treat the 90% or so of patients who can be treated during weekly visits, and Inpatient (ITFC) clinics provide 24-hour care and intensive medical management for the roughly 10% of children at risk of imminent death.
There are three main ways we can help save lives in nutritional projects:
Have you worked in nutrition? We're seeking doctors, nurses, nutritionists and others, especially those who’ve worked in paediatrics, nutrition programmes or medical humanitarian settings, to join our experts and users panel. You'll be among the first to try out what we're building and contribute to making sure it fits your needs in caring for patients.