Support for Laboratories

Testimony: Business Volunteering: a wonderful experience at the Christophe Mérieux Centre of Infectiology in Laos, by Vibol Iem

April 17, 2012 - Vientiane (Laos)


Business Volunteering is an opportunity to experience something exceptional at the heart of a country with a totally different culture.

Laos, much like other developing countries, has its own socio-economic and political system which conditions the behavior and working habits of its inhabitants.

On a professional level, I was able to quickly become operational thanks to my dual competence in Science and Management. In collaboration with the team at the Centre d’Infectiologie Christophe Mérieux Cenre of Laos, we have achieved excellent results, although this requires a lot more time and patience than would be needed in a developed country.

I was able to bring both technical and scientific knowledge so that work carried out in the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory came as close as possible to international quality standards. However, beyond the technical aspect, it is above all education which is needed in order to allow the Centre to become autonomous in the mid to long term. Our main objective was, before all else, to offer training to technicians so that they could perform completely autonomously all laboratory experiments.

Thereafter, we tried to create the easiest and most efficient tools so that work would be completed following very precise quality procedures. Eventually, the aim is that the staff is capable of conducting laboratory experiments completely independently, without the presence of a Fondation Mérieux expert.

Thanks to everybody’s work, the Christophe Mérieux Centre of Infectiology continues its quest towards functional and financial autonomy, something that seems possible in the near future.

I have excellent memories of two years that have given me so much, professionally as much as personally. I will continue to follow with interest the Centre’s activities and its future. I am happy to have been able to participate in its development and I hope that it will continue to contribute to the health system in Laos.