Once a year, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) holds MSF Scientific Day – a conference to present scientific research carried out in our programmes around the world.

This year's keynote speech was given by Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet, Co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation, 'edutainer' and TED talks alumnus. He has been an adviser to WHO and UNICEF and co-founded MSF in Sweden.

In this talk, Hans challenged MSF to base decisions on sound evidence (“use Excel not Word”) and climbed on a table. With the showmanship came serious messages. Lindsay Kobayashi in her PLOS Public Health perspectives blog and Sarah Kessler (Lifebox) give more detail – here are just a couple of Hans’ points:

1. If you respond to a humanitarian crisis and want to do research, you need extra resources.
2. If, as a humanitarian response, you do something perfectly, you have taken a resource away from somewhere else. Listen to the people who are affected and give them what they need, rather than aiming to be the “perfect” aid worker. You will never do it, and you don’t want to leave a place in a situation where your intervention is not sustainable.

Take a look at our 2013 poster gallery and sign up for updates about future Scientific Days: msf.org.uk/msf-scientific-day

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