Strengthening Haitian biologists’ expertise: the Catholic University of Lyon and the Mérieux Foundation welcome 12 Haitian students to Lyon

November 17, 2014 - Lyon, France


The Mérieux Foundation and the School of Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (ESTBB) of the Catholic University of Lyon (UCLy) hosted 12 Haitian students from the 3rd graduating class of BAMS Haiti.

They traveled to Lyon to receive their Bachelor of Science in Biological and Applied Medical Sciences (BAMS) degree from the Catholic University of Lyon’s faculty of sciences, Friday November 14th. The course, for practicing Haitian laboratory technicians, is held at Haiti’s National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP). Fondation Anber, Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux and the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population support the initiative.

Dr. Elsie Lafosse, in charge of courses at Haiti’s National Public Health Laboratory, Dr. Christine Chevalier, in charge of BAMS Haiti at ESTBB, and Dr. Josette Najjar, Head of Training at the Mérieux Foundation, accompanied the students for a week of learning in Lyon, November 9th-15th. The visits, focused on clinical diagnostics, included: the clinical laboratories of the Croix-Rousse Hospital and the Saint Joseph – Saint Luc Hospital Center, the Doctor Mérieux Biological Sciences Museum, bioMérieux, Biomnis, the Catholic University of Lyon, and the Mérieux Foundation.

BAMS was created by the School of Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology and the Mérieux Foundation, in 2007 in West Africa and in 2011 in Haiti, to reinforce the biomedical analysis skills and knowledge of laboratory technicians. The 8-month training program is taught by experts in medical biology (cellular and molecular biology, immunology, parasitology, bacteriology, epidemiology, virology and hematology). In addition to testing techniques, the course strengthens, in particular, good laboratory practices in the areas of quality assurance, biosafety and waste management. BAMS Haiti has already trained 44 laboratory technicians and 18 students started classes in September for its 4th session.

Training and knowledge-sharing are an important part of Mérieux Foundation’s intervention. Working closely with universities and training organizations, the foundation reinforces biological expertise in the field to give populations access to high-quality diagnosis and improve patient care.

The Mérieux Foundation in Haiti

Since 2002, the Mérieux Foundation has taken action in Haiti to fight infectious diseases, prevent epidemics and support particularly vulnerable populations. It works alongside its long-standing partner, GHESKIO. 70 people work at the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory, created by Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux as part of GHESKIO’s Institute of Infectious Diseases and Reproductive Health (IMIS, Institut des Maladies Infectieuses et de Santé Reproductive). These teams work to diagnose multi-resistant tuberculosis, cholera, and HIV.

The Mérieux Foundation helps women in Port-au-Prince who are HIV-positive or at risk of HIV infection by providing micro-credit loans. 6,700 loans have been given to 3,000 women since 2005 through a partnership with ACME and GHESKIO. The program has a high reimbursement rate and has enabled the economic reintegration of many women.

With the support of Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, the Mérieux Foundation also supports organizations working with children in Haiti.