Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases


Strengthening infectious disease surveillance by automating epidemiological data collection



As early as 1995, the 194 Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern about monitoring infectious diseases and requested that all Member States reinforce infectious disease surveillance. The surveillance makes it possible to rapidly detect and identify epidemics, to limit their spread and decide upon the appropriate public health measures (prevention and vaccination campaigns, etc.).

Senegal’s Minister of Health identified 11 diseases for surveillance to improve public health programs and patient care. The 2014 Ebola virus disease crisis further underscored the need to strengthen the quality of systems for collecting and transmitting data.


The I-Lab project aims to support the establishment of an automated system for collecting and reporting epidemiological data. It supports the activities of Senegal’s Laboratory Directorate and the 120 laboratories in the national network will be trained and equipped with the tool. The system will make it possible to enhance surveillance of diseases with epidemic potential in real time and also accelerate response measures.


Three partners are implementing the project: the Senegal Laboratory Directorate, PATH and Fondation Mérieux. The project is entirely funded by the Skoll Foundation.

I-LAB partners


PATH is in charge of technical development of the system, which will be built on a free, open source platform, DHIS2. Laboratory technicians will be able to collect and transmit epidemiological data on a web platform using a web and smartphone application. The platform will process the data received and ra generate comprehensive result reports.

The application’s development is based on the needs expressed by the Senegal Laboratory Directorate, which will use the system. A team from the Directorate, in charge of data management will be dedicated to the project and be in charge of technical validation, training laboratory personnel and ensuring platform maintenance. Once the application is in place and the personnel trained, the system will be managed independently by the Directorate.

Fondation Mérieux initiated the project and is in charge of coordinating its activities at a national level. The Foundation is also working to deploy the project in other countries in the sous region.

Expected results

  • A software application developed for collecting epidemiological data

  • A computer platform for receiving and treating data

  • 120 laboratories equipped with the system

  • Monthly reports from the Laboratory Directorate on the data collected by the system

  • The epidemiological data reports used for publications

Duration: August 2015 - September 2017

Budget: $443,000

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