Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

The Hospital-Boats of Bangladesh : Fondation Mérieux and Biology without Borders Work with the NGO Friendship

4 April 2015, Dhaka (Bangladesh)

Fondation Mérieux, in collaboration with Biology without Borders, organized its first technical support mission for the nonprofit Friendship in Bangladesh. A medical biology intern spent two weeks on two hospital-boats in the northern region of Bangladesh with the goal of reinforcing diagnostic capacity for vulnerable populations.

The Hospital-Boats of Bangladesh : Fondation Mérieux and Biology without Borders Work with the NGO Friendship

Friendship, a nonprofit established in 1998 by Runa Khan and Yves Marre, was created to help marginalized communities in the less accessible regions of Bangladesh. Many regions in Bangladesh do not have access to medical care because of their remote location and recurring floods. Their flood plains and the constantly changing structure of the ground do not allow for hospitals to be built there.

To help this situation, Friendship put into place a network of three mobile hospital-boats, each equipped with a medical analysis laboratory. These boats change zones every three months. Once they arrive, a team comprised of a doctor, three paramedics, a pharmacist and three laboratory technicians treat patients, providing ambulatory care, small surgeries, and medications. They also work to prevent infections connected with hygiene and sexually transmitted diseases.

Fondation Mérieux and Biology without Borders worked together to improve the diagnostic performance of the two laboratories. To that end, an audit of the laboratories were conducted to highlight their strengths and areas for improvement challenges of its practices and to improve the quality of them.

From patient sample to the interpretation of results, solutions for improvement were proposed to the teams covering aspects such as laboratory techniques, sterilization and waste elimination. The technicians received practical and theoretical training on performing and interpreting routine medical analyses, laboratory quality and good practices. Fondation Mérieux gave three new automated systems to equip the boats and the medical biology intern trained the technicians on their use.

The mission ended in Dhaka, where the actions to improve the security and quality of laboratory practices on the hospital-boats were presented to the doctors who are in charge.

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