8 rue Saint Sabin
FR-75011 Paris

Contact person:

Klaudia Porten

Tel. + 33 1 40 21 5467

Description of institute

Epicentre, a non-profit organisation, was created by the French section of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 1987, and has been a WHO Collaborating Centre for Epidemiological Research and Emerging Disease Response since 1996. The Epicentre headquarter (HQ) is in Paris, but there are also satellite offices within the respective MSF sections, Geneva (3 Epicentre epidemiologists) and Brussels (2 Epicentre epidemiologists). Two research centres in the field: Mbarara, Uganda with a staff of 50 and Maradi, Niger with a staff of 20, both including epidemiologists, clinical researchers, statisticians and data managers. At Epicentre, research projects, epidemiologicsurveys and outbreak investigations are conducted in developing countries. Epicentre consists of 4 departments (i.e. Intervention Epidemiology & Training, Operational Research, Clinical Research and Administration and Finances). Epicentre has also developed strong expertise in the development of software applications for health information management (e.g. EPITRYPS and FUCHIA for the monitoring of trypanosomiasis and HIV/AIDS programmes, respectively). Most research projects and interventions are in collaboration with MSF.

Training site

The EPIET fellow is hosted in the Epicentre HQ Paris office (which has a staff of 49, including 25 epidemiologists and 6 statisticians).

The Epicentre activity includes:

  • Field epidemiology interventions (often in a humanitarian context) in developing countries:
  • Outbreak investigations
  • Evaluation of health priorities in an emergency (rapid assessment)
  • Implementation and evaluation of epidemiological surveillance systems
  • Evaluation of health programmes and health needs
    Mortality and/or nutritional and/or vaccination surveys
    WHO Global outbreak alert and response network (GOARN) partner (Epicentre is member of the GOARN Steering Committee, providing support to countries during outbreaks)
  • Epidemiological and clinical research in the field (such as clinical trials, cohort and case-control studies, evaluations of diagnostic tests). Current research areas include:
    Tropical infectious diseases
  • Epidemiology of disasters and complex emergencies
  • Nutrition
  • Psychological trauma


Training activities for health professionals through regular sessions in field epidemiology and public health (including epidemic response and rapid assessment of vulnerable populations in complex emergencies): from training needs assessment to design and training delivery.

Training opportunities

The training site offers many opportunities in field epidemiology and control of epidemic-prone diseases in resource-poor countries.

The large number of interventions requested every year provides a good opportunity for gaining experience in outbreak investigation and rapid response to emergencies. rs of the epidemiology team at Epicentre: As follows, a few examples of interventions conducted in 2010.

Epicentre epidemiologists carried out nutritional, vaccine coverage, mortality and access to healthcare surveys in Chad, Ethiopia, Malawi, Burundi and Haiti; conducted rapid health assessment of displaced persons in Congo; investigated outbreaks of Polio in Congo, measles in Malawi, Pertussis in Chad, Cholera in Haiti, Pakistan, DRC and Zambia, and meningitis in Chad.

In addition, several large research studies on the treatment of HIV TB in Mozambique, Malaria and TB in Uganda among others.

Training supervision

The overall supervision will be provided by Klaudia Porten (EPIET alumnus), in collaboration with other senior Epicentre epidemiologists and EPIET alumni (5) working in Epicentre.

Language requirements

French and English.

Training history

Number of EPIET Fellows trained at institute: two (cohort 11 and 13)
Number of alumni working at institute: Two