Summary

Humanitarian medical programmes in the tropics have the opportunity to provide beacons of good practice. The use of modern drugs and diagnostics, a lack of bureaucracy, adequate budgets, motivated staff and well-functioning supply lines all contribute to the success of this approach. At a joint meeting of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Médecins Sans Frontières and Merlin, new data were presented on the outcomes of recent humanitarian programmes to control malaria (Ethiopia), human African trypanosomiasis (south Sudan), Lassa fever (Sierra Leone) and tuberculosis (Tomsk, former USSR).

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