From left to right: Benoît Miribel, Pr. Mamy Lalatiana Andriamanarivo, Alain Mérieux and Pr. Luc-Hervé Samison.
The RESAMAD project was presented at a press conference at the Ministry of Public Health on January 6 in Antananarivo. Through this project, 19 laboratories to date have been renovated and re-equipped across the island of Madagascar. The Mérieux Foundation equips the laboratories and helps them connect, so they can help each other and gain in autonomy. This also helps promote better detection and surveillance of infectious diseases. Within this RESAMAD network, seven laboratories will, more specifically, produce reliable and high-quality data on antimicrobial resistance.
The ultimate objective is for the Malagasy population to receive high-quality healthcare rapidly through improved diagnostics. And since better healthcare also requires better health education, the Mérieux Foundation is launching various activities in partnership with local Malagasy stakeholders.
“Halte aux microbes” (No more germs): an educational game to teach children about health and hygiene
Children enjoying the educational game “Halte aux microbes”.
The Mérieux Foundation has developed an educational WASH kit for Malagasy children aged 8 to 12. This kit aims to promote good hygiene practices and knowledge about safe water for children, so that they can become ambassadors of better health for their families.
Consisting of a game called “Halte aux microbes”, a training quiz for educators, and printed material for the children, their families and teachers, the kit was presented to the local partners on December 5, 2017 in Antananarivo. The kit was developed with the Ministry of Water, Energy and Hydrocarbons, the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of National Education who showed their strong interest and will work with the Foundation to finalize and distribute the kit throughout the country.
The kit will provide all children in Madagascar with a new, modern and playful tool to fight against illnesses linked to the lack of handwashing with soap, responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. More than 80 children from the partner organizations Graine de Bitume and Akamasoa have already tested and enjoyed the game.
Health education activities for 2018
Other projects are already ongoing or planned for 2018, such as the creation of a new module on nutrition, the creation of a film on preventing sexually transmitted infections, with the organization Graines de Bitume, and the construction of latrines in seven schools and a water supply network in the Ambatondrazaka region.
Two medical trainings for health care personnel working in organizations that treat the poorest of the poor are also planned this year. One training will concern the sexually transmitted infections, in partnership with the Directorate of STD/AIDS Control (DLIS), another one on pediatrics, in partnership with the Malagasy Pediatric Society (SOMAPED).
The Mérieux Foundation also continues to cover the costs of medical care and hospitalization for poor children, requested by NGOs, associations, religious congregations or through social services linked to hospitals.
The Mérieux Foundation in Madagascar
The Mérieux Foundation has been active in this island of the Indian Ocean since 2006. The Mérieux Foundation has built a Charles Mérieux Center for Infectious Disease, which is hosted by the University of Antananarivo and trains health professionals in the fields of research and clinical trials. The Mérieux Foundation also supports in Madagascar several local charities that tackle poverty, such as Akamasoa (which means “good friends”), founded by Father Pedro.