Ruby Siddiqui, Manson Unit epidemiologist, investigating a hepatitis E outbreak in Uganda

The Manson Unit is a team of experts that aims to improve the quality of MSF’s medical programmes worldwide.

Made up of medical doctors, a laboratory specialist, epidemiologists, a GIS (geographical information systems) officer and a medical editor, the Manson Unit identifies developments in the management of medical issues such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, malaria and outbreaks of infectious diseases and environmental contamination.

The unit then helps MSF field projects put these changes into practice, monitors the implementation of these changes and documents lessons learned from the experience.

Established in 2003, the team was named after the father of modern tropical medicine, Sir Patrick Manson.

Medical innovation

Recently the Manson Unit has focused on implementing and improving TB screening and treatment in MSF projects, integrating treatment for drug-resistant TB into all MSF medical operations, providing HIV and TB care in unstable settings and improving and advocating the treatment of TB in children.

Current projects

The unit’s current projects include:

  • Initiating and developing MSF medical programmes to treat drug-resistant TB. 

  • Managing a medical data surveillance system. 

  • Using GIS to strengthen response to outbreaks of disease and management of MSF medical programmes (see video below).

  • Providing epidemiological support and research into implementing treatment for an outbreak of lead poisoning in Nigeria.

  • Supporting improvements in the quality of MSF medical programmes through operational research, mathematical modelling and evidence-based decision-making.

  • Organising the annual MSF Scientific Day, a conference highlighting operational research carried out across MSF projects and important advances in the field of public health.

UK health expertise

The Manson Unit is based in the UK to take advantage of the diversity of expertise in international health, humanitarian organisations and academic research.

Academic collaborations with institutions such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Imperial College London help MSF find solutions to medical and research problems faced in our field programmes.

The UK is also home to many important medical, media and political players who are influential in shaping international health policy.

Our location allows MSF, through the Manson Unit, to advocate funding, research and political attention for neglected medical issues faced by the patients and populations we assist.

We also compile a weekly medical press review, which you are welcome to read.

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