Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

The Rhône-Alpes Region and Fondation Mérieux co-finance the strengthening of laboratory systems in Khammouane province (Laos)

12 June 2012, Khammouane Province (Laos)

In order to expand access to quality diagnosis to all of Khammouane province (Laos), Fondation Mérieux supports the Provincial Directorate of Health in strengthening laboratory systems, with co-financing from the Rhône-Alpes Region.

This project falls within the framework of the decentralized cooperation between the Rhône-Alpes Region and the Khammouane province developed since 2001 in health, rural development, professional training, culture and Francophonie.

This project will incorporate the Khammouane province into the national activities of laboratory strengthening already started in Laos, in close partnership with key players such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health.

Since 2007, Hospices Civils of Lyon, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Fondation Mérieux and Rhône-Alpes Region, have cooperated to strengthen the diagnostic skills of Khammouane province, in particular via support to the Thakhek hospital. In fact, Fondation Mérieux funded the building of a medical analysis laboratory in this hospital and strengthened laboratory professionals’ skills through the presence of French interns in medical biology, who have been supervised by three biologists from Hospices Civils of Lyon and the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1: Dr Meja Rabodonirina, Dr Monique Chomarat and Dr Elisabeth Borel.

Laos pays a very heavy price to infectious diseases: HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections. Prevention and treatment of the majority of important diseases can be improved by the access to quality diagnosis. The effectiveness of clinical care will be increased by the confirmation of the diagnosis, by laboratory follow-up and by surveillance in order to detect any tendency related to morbidity and mortality. Without quality laboratories that assist patients and without public health monitoring based on laboratory results, serious diseases cannot be treated optimally and the efficacy of the programmes regarding public health cannot be maximised.

The main challenges regarding the laboratory systems in Khammouane province are:

  • Lack of continuous training for laboratory professionals;

  • Lack of laboratory management and quality systems;

  • Heterogeneous equipment without a maintenance service;

  • Lack of regionam and national exchange and networking;

  • Lack of regulatory framework (work-in-progress at a national level).

An exploratory study of laboratories in some areas of the province has been carried out by Fondation Mérieux, the Provincial Health Directorate as well as the Thakhek Hospital in October 2011. The study analyzed the needs for laboratory strengthening in the province and its 10 districts in terms of facilities, equipment, material, reagents, human resources and training, overall functioning of the laboratory, infectious risk management and health monitoring systems.

The project aims to achieve the following goals :

  • Establish a provincial plan for continuous training of laboratory professionals;

  • Establish a provincial plan for quality health insurance in laboratories;

  • Install homogeneous equipment in the laboratories of the Province;

  • Establish a communication process and network for the laboratories;

  • Help to integrate national policies in provincial laboratories policies.

The project started on 1 June 2012 for a period of 12 months.

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