Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

Inauguration of a Mother and Child medical center in Erbil (Iraq) in partnership with Fondation Mérieux

25 January 2017, Erbil (Iraq)

Fondation Mérieux helped to build a medical center in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Pauline-Marie Jaricot Mother and Child center was commissioned and opened on December 7, 2016. It provides comprehensive, quality medical care for displaced people, of whom there are many in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. These people now have access to diagnosis and targeted medical treatment.

Inauguration of a Mother and Child medical center in Erbil (Iraq) in partnership with Fondation Mérieux

Inauguration of a Mother and Child medical center in Erbil by Mrs Mérieux

This center contains:

  • Reception and waiting rooms for patients;

  • A medical laboratory;

  • A fully equipped X-ray room;

  • An emergency unit;

  • A pediatric unit;

  • A gynecology unit;

  • A dental unit.

It will make access to care easier for displaced persons taking refuge in the Iraqi Kurdistan region to escape military clashes in the country. They live in camps in very insecure conditions. Many health problems have been identified in the camps, including diarrhea (especially in children), respiratory infections, the risk of pandemic outbreaks and complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

Fondation Mérieux has managed the entire project with displaced persons. The architects and staff in the center are themselves refugees. The Foundation has funded the infrastructure of the center, installed its equipment and helped to train staff in order to improve the way they work.

This staff is paid by the Iraqi government to ensure sustainability of the project. Both the Foundation’s partners in this project are other institutions from Lyon: Œuvres Pontificales Missionnaires de Lyon and Fondation Saint-Irénée.

Other Fondation Mérieux activities in Iraqi Kurdistan

While Fondation Mérieux’s main goal is the fight against infectious diseases in developing countries, it also seeks to improve people’s health by means of a comprehensive approach. And health depends on many factors: nutrition, the environment, access to clean water, education, etc. For this reason, Fondation Mérieux, with support from Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, has also conducted a series of actions in Iraqi Kurdistan to help displaced persons:

  • Food and medical aid and housing: Fondation Mérieux took action from the beginning of the Iraq humanitarian crisis in August 2014. At that time it provided thirteen tons of emergency food aid (in partnership with the Rhône-Alpes region) and one ton of drugs (provided by the Tulipe association). In 2014, the Foundation also built 250 homes in Erbil for 1,000 people, in partnership with Fondation Saint-Irénée, Fondation Raoul-Follereau, Région Rhône-Alpes, Grand Lyon and Ville de Lyon. Nutritional milk, high-protein biscuits, bottles and teats were also twice distributed by the Foundation in the Dibaga camp, in June and December 2016. In January 2017, approximately 2.6 tons of drugs (from the Tulipe association), mainly antibiotics, were distributed in health centers hosting displaced persons in Erbil.

  • School: a school for over 1,200 displaced Arab-speaking children was opened in Erbil on June 28, 2015, in partnership with Fondation Saint-Irénée, Fondation Raoul-Follereau, Fondation AnBer and the Région Rhône-Alpes. Fondation Mérieux has mobilized displaced persons to build the school, and also to teach, the teachers being displaced persons paid by the Iraqi government.

  • Clinical laboratory: in 2016, the Foundation, in partnership with the NGO Première Urgence Internationale, helped to build a clinical laboratory in the displaced person camp in Bardarash. Another health center is planned in the Darkar camp on the Turkish border, in partnership with the EliseCare association. It is planned to open in 2017.

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