MSF Scientific Days – Asia 2021: Editorial Committee

Dr Aula Abbara

Dr Aula Abbara, MBBS DTMH MD(Res) is a consultant in Infectious Diseases/ General Internal Medicine at Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust, London and an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College. She has volunteered in different humanitarian and refugee settings including Greece, Sierra Leone, Turkey and Jordan, undertaking direct clinical work, teaching healthcare workers and building capacity.  Since 2012, she has volunteered predominantly with Syrian non-governmental organisations. Her research interests include attacks on healthcare, antimicrobial resistance in conflict, refugee healthcare workers and, more broadly relating to global and humanitarian health. She co-chairs the Syria Public Health Network and is the research lead for the Syrian American Medical Society. 

Dr Bhishmaraj Srivastva

Dr Bhishmaraj Srivastva is a physician by qualification. He started off his public health career at MSF in 2014. Subsequently, he pursued his Masters in Public Health and Business Administration in a dual degree program (MPH/MBA),  at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. Through Hopkins, he had the opportunity to work in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Philippines among other countries while collaborating with organisations like MoH&FW- India, NIH, CDC among others. His areas of interest include program management and exploring the role of innovation for healthcare systems in resource-limited settings. He is currently the Strategic Medical Lead at MSF India and the Editorial Lead for the Asia Scientific Days event.

Dr Emilie Venables

Dr Emilie Venables is an anthropologist and qualitative researcher, with over 15 years of research experience. She has worked in various contexts including Liberia, South Africa, Lebanon, DRC, Italy, Greece, Mozambique, Cambodia and Kenya on issues including Ebola, HIV/AIDS, TB, migration, torture and malaria. She holds a PhD and MSc in African Studies from the University of Edinburgh, an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London and a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Venables worked for MSF for seven years as an anthropologist, researcher and qualitative research advisor and joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as an operational researcher in the Centre for Operational Research and Experience in Geneva in 2019.  She is a founding member of the ICRC’s Ethics Review Board. She also established and facilitated the first qualitative research SORT-IT course in 2016, and has also taught on SORT-IT courses in India, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa.  She holds an honorary appointment at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and teaches regularly at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Dr Farhat Mantoo

Dr Farhat Mantoo, Chair Scientific Days Asia, joined Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2003 as a field staff and since then has been working in different capacities nationally as well as internationally with various establishments. During these last 17 years her work has been in Asia (India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh) Europe and East Africa( South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya) with MSF and other organisations in management and leadership roles. She has a specialisation in medical anthropology, communication, hospital management and human resources apart from being trained in humanitarian assistance linked to international humanitarian affairs. She serves on various international committees both MSF and external and has co-authored publications under her title.

She is currently the General Director of MSF India since March 2019. Her primary research interests are in the application and relevance of low-cost quality medical innovations and implementation of them in humanitarian medicine. This includes technologies for measuring and motivating health-related behaviours to have a larger impact.

Dr Mrinalini Das

Dr Mrinalini Das is an epidemiologist and operational researcher. She has a PhD in Public Health. Her area of interest is paediatric and adolescent drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). She has been involved in operational research activities for nine years in the HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, including new TB drugs. She has presented her work at various national and international conferences. She has also contributed to multiple research publications for international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Das is currently working with MSF as a Deputy Medical Coordinator (Epidemiologist).

Dr Petros Isaakidis

Dr Petros Isaakidis is a medical doctor with a doctoral degree in epidemiology. He was a biological disasters planner during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and in charge of infectious diseases surveillance and outbreak investigations.

He has been volunteering and working for humanitarian organisations, mainly MSF since 1997, in Zimbabwe, Gaza Strip & West Bank, Kenya, Cambodia, Thailand India and South Africa. During this period, he coordinated medical programmes, especially large scale HIV and TB projects, and supported evidence generation through field-based operational research projects. In 2012, he was appointed Senior Operational Research Fellow at the MSF Luxembourg Operational Research Unit (LUXOR) and mentored participants at Structured Operational Research Training Initiative (SORT-IT) courses in Europe, Africa and South Asia.

Since 2017, Isaakidis has been working with the MSF Southern Africa Medical Unit (SAMU) in Cape Town, South Africa as OR Coordinator, supporting a large HIV and TB OR portfolio. He has contributed to more than 130 peer-review publications which have received more than 3200 citations.

Willemieke van den Broek

Willemieke van den Broek is a general and paediatric nurse. She joined MSF in 1997 and has worked as a field nurse, trainer, project coordinator, Medco and Head of Mission. Since 2005, she has been a Medical coordinator for OCA in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Turkey and Malaysia.

She first came to Malaysia as Medco for OCA in 2015 where she was involved in an assessment to see the feasibility of opening a program to provide healthcare for new Rohingya boat arrivals in Malaysia. Through innovative approaches, a programme was started to increase access to healthcare for this vulnerable population.

Van den Broek returned to Holland in 2016 to pursue a Masters in Communication, Health and Lifesciences at the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands. After completing the theoretical part of her Masters study, she returned, as Medco, to Malaysia in 2018. She returned to the Netherlands in December 2020 and now works with the staff health unit of MSF in Amsterdam.

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