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Operational Research for Humanitarian Action

A doctor prepares vaccines before an unprecedented vaccination campaign, supported by MSF, to protect as many children as possible in Central African Republic against common childhood diseases. © MSF

    The Science of Doing Better

    Where are the critical gaps in access to quality medical care? Do health programmes meet the needs of patients? Is MSF’s assistance reaching those in remote and resource limited settings? And what are the root causes of today’s manifold humanitarian crises?

    Operational Research helps MSF take an in-depth look at its programmes and operations, evaluates what is working well, and shows what needs to be improved. Based in Luxembourg, the Operational Research Unit LuxOR undertakes research projects supporting humanitarian action all over the world.

    LuxOR shares findings with the international MSF-movement and partner organizations, and advocates for evidence-based policy and practices changes with local and international stakeholders. Supported studies are published in renowned scientific journals, and openly available to researchers and the global humanitarian community.

    The Team

    LuxOR is a decentralized unit based in Luxembourg and Brussels, with further colleagues working from Canada, South Africa, and the field.

    Operational Research Coordinator: Jo Robays

    Lead MSF OCB operational research strategy, supervise OR teams, promote scientific publications, and coordinate OR training initiatives.

    Program Officer: Veerle Hermans

    Coordination and liaison with operations and medical departments in Brussels, and MSF Luxembourg, technical support to the epidemiologist pool.

    Senior OR Advisor: Rafael Van den Bergh

    Operational research support, focal point WASH, vector control; migration, victims of torture (VoT) and mental health.

    Policy, Practice & Communication Advisor: Samuel Sieber

    Coordination of evidence-informed policy and practice implementation, lead LuxOR communications and outreach.

    Medical Data Editor: Marcel Manzi

    Support for quality data collection and analysis in MSF programs, training and supervision for data managers and orientation for new medical employees. 

    Medical Editor: Tony Reid

    Support to field teams and researchers for OR protocols and publications in scientific journals, lead MSF website "Field Research" with open access to MSF-authored articles. 

    OR Advisor: Wilma van den Boogaard

    Operational research support, focal point sexual and reproductive health (SRH), sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and maternal health, migration, victims of torture (VoT) and mental health, neonatal and adolescent health, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer care.

    Qualitative Research Mobile Implementation Officer: Katie Whitehouse

    Qualitative operational research support in the field.


    OR Advisor Engy Ali

    Operational research support, focal point surgical care, intensive care, emergency care; neonatal and pediatrics health, and nutrition.

    OR Advisor: Anita Williams

    Operational research support, focal point antimicrobial resistance, pharmacy, infection prevention and control (IPC); non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

    OR Advisor: Julita Gil

    Operational research support, focal point outbreaks/epidemics, vaccination and vaccine preventable Diseases (VPD), infectious diseases, malaria and vector-borne diseases (VBD), sexual and reproductive health (SRH), sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and maternal health.