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About Us

MSF Analysis is a platform for the dissemination of material on the politics of health and humanitarianism provided by the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Analysis Department based in the Operational Centre Brussels as well as from guest contributors. This website is intended to stimulate reflection and debate on humanitarian topics organised around the themes of migration, refugees, aid access, health policy and the environment in which aid operates.

While the views expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the official position of MSF, they are based on analysis derived from the organisation’s experience working in over 70 countries worldwide.

Contributions to this website are primarily made by a core group that works in reflection, analysis and advocacy with the MSF Operational Centre Brussels. This group – profiled below – also makes up the informal editorial committee that receives guest contributions.

If you would like to submit an article or have any questions regarding the content found on this website, please contact [email protected].

Core Contributors

Jonathan Whittall

Jonathan Whittall is currently Director of the Analysis department for the MSF Operational Centre in Brussels. The Analysis Department conducts research, develops advocacy strategies and provides strategic operational support on the thematics of migration and refugees; the politics of health; humanitarianism and conflict; and negotiated access.

In this role, and in his prior role as Head of Humanitarian Analysis, Jonathan has worked extensively on providing strategic support to MSF operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan, among other conflict contexts.

He previously established and headed the organisation’s Programmes Unit in his home town of Johannesburg, South Africa. Following this he was involved as an Emergency Coordinator in MSF’s medical humanitarian responses in Libya, Bahrain and Syria.

He has contributed to academic journals and newspapers on the politics of humanitarian aid. He holds a Masters degree in Humanitarian Studies and a PhD from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Jonathan can be found on Twitter @offyourrecord.



Michiel Hofman 

Michiel Hofman is Senior Humanitarian Specialist for MSF. In this role, he concentrates on research, training and operational support as well as publications in the humanitarian field.

He worked for MSF in field missions between 1993 and 1998 as Emergency Coordinator and Head of Mission for MSF in Liberia, the DRC, Bosnia, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Brazil, South Sudan and Kosovo.  Between his missions he returned to his former career as freelance journalist.

Between 1999 and 2001, Michiel co-founded The Antares Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organisation which supports local NGOs in providing psycho-social support for staff working in high-stress environments.

Michiel returned to MSF in 2001, working as Country Director in Russia and Operations Director in Amsterdam and Country Director for Afghanistan.


Heather Pagano 

Heather Pagano is a humanitarian advisor for MSF in Brussels and focuses on the politics of epidemic response and global health security.  She joined MSF in 2008, serving as the Ebola advocacy and communication coordinator during the 2014-2015 West African epidemic, after extensive field and operations level communications experience.  She has written widely on public health emergencies such as the Ebola epidemic and the South Sudan conflict.  She has most recently served as a communications expert for the 2015 bombing of the MSF Kunduz Trauma Centre in Afghanistan.

Heather can be found on Twitter @H_Pagano.


Jens Pedersen 

Jens Pedersen is Humanitarian Advisor for MSF in South Africa and is the MSF representative to the African Union. He holds an MSc in Humanitarian Studies from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Jens is a trained nurse and has worked for MSF in the field of clinical nursing and project coordination in Liberia as hospital manager during the Ebola outbreak as well as in Darfur, Sudan, South Sudan, India, South Africa and Sierra Leone. In his current role, Jens supports MSF’s analysis, advocacy and negotiations, with a particular focus on African operations as well as medical advocacy in relation to public health in Africa.


Mit Philips

Dr. Mit Philips is a medical doctor with a Master degree in Public Health in developing countries from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1993 and a diploma in Tropical Medicine in 1985 in Antwerp. Before being based in Europe, Mit Philips worked and lived abroad during 15 years in Africa (Chad, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, DRC) and South East Asia (Cambodia) for Médecins Sans Frontières.

She works for MSF in Brussels since 1999, first as Director of Operations, and since 2003 as health policy and medical advocacy advisor in the General Directorate. Her main focus of work at MSF concerns HIV/AIDS, health financing and financial barriers to health care, global health and health systems policies.

From 2010 to 2012 she was also part of the team of Health Policy and Planning at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium (2010-2012), with a focus on global health policies and health in fragile states.


Aurélie Ponthieu

Aurélie Ponthieu has been working for MSF since 2006. She has been working as Humanitarian Specialist on displacement for MSF in Brussels since 2011. Her area of expertise includes forced migration and the humanitarian impact of asylum and migration policies. She provides support to MSF operations in terms of context analysis, positioning and advocacy strategies.

Before working at MSF in Brussels, she worked in the field with MSF for 5 years in Niger (2006), Sudan (2007-2008), Chad (2008), Colombia (2009) and Haiti (2010). She also worked in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.  She has a Masters degree in Humanitarian Action/International Field Legal Assistance and an LLM in International and European Law.

Prior to her work with MSF, she volunteered for other organisations in Honduras and Chile.

Aurelie can be found on Twitter @PonthieuAurelie.


Asil Sidahmed

Asil Sidahmed is Humanitarian Advisor for MSF in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Prior to joining MSF, Asil worked at a development consulting firm where she managed a team in Yemen. Since then, her consulting career has involved designing empirically driven programmes that address conflict and justice-related issues. As her consulting assignments shifted from a development to a humanitarian focus – most notably in early 2016 where she assisted a needs assessment of refugees and migrants along the migrant trail in the Balkans and Greece – she joined MSF as a humanitarian advisor.

Asil is a Sudanese North-Londoner, born in Prague and based in Beirut. She’s bilingual in Arabic and English. She holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, Wolfson College and a BA in Anthropology of Religion from Lancaster University, Furness College. Her publications have appeared in Muftah, Yemen Today, the Sana’a Center, Audio Kultur and the Arab Centre for Social Sciences.